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© 2004 The Beast

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A full house ushered in the Mike Mularkey era in Buffalo on Sunday, when the Bills hosted the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game was uneventful for the most part, but remained undecided until the final play, and when Byron Leftwich’s prayer was answered, the Jaguars left town with a 13-10 victory. 

That final play was a microcosm of the four quarters; ugly, somewhat effective and competitive. It also appears to be a good indicator of what to expect 15 more times this year—close, competitive, sometimes effective, ugly football. The Bills will win a few and lose more than a few, but the team and the upper management are just giving the Bills fans what they want, right?

This game was a sellout, almost every other game is going to be a sellout—heck, preseason games have sold out. It would seem as long as there are 53 people dressed up in Bills uniforms the seats will be full. The state of affairs at One Bills Drive has never been better. Bills GM Tom Donahoe is second only to God in Ralph Wilson’s book, and he is gaining ground every day. Not even during the Kelly years did fans show up like they do now. Donahoe has the Sabres brass shaking their heads in amazement. How does he do it? The Sabres have been putting, an ugly, sometimes competitive, sometimes effective product on the ice for years now, they don’t get that kind of fan reaction. In fact, they get ripped apart in the media and throughout the community for it.

It was about nine months ago when Donahoe fired (technically the Bills chose not to re-sign) former coach Gregg Williams, much to the pleasure of the fans of the team. Many would say it came too late; the media and most fans had been calling for Williams’ head for the better part of two years, but Donahoe stuck with him until the very end. When he let Williams go, he admitted that he had made a mistake in hiring Williams three years earlier, and claimed his next hire would be better. I need to remember that—just admit you were wrong, and then it’s okay to screw up your job.

But that was only half the story that day. He also made comments regarding the fans, the media, and all others in the area who seemed to take pleasure in questioning the strategy of the former coach and taking shots at the team. He actually said he was embarrassed to be a part of a community that acted that way, and that we should be ashamed. Maybe Donahoe doesn’t understand that fan is short for fanatic. Once a few people in the PR department explained to Tommy boy that probably wasn’t a good thing to say, he came out later in the day and held his own press conference to try to re-spin his comments. Crazy thing is, all was forgotten. Five months later tickets went on sale, and the show went on like nothing happened. The man is the Teflon Tom.

Well after the Bills’ performance on Sunday, it is time to remember those comments. Mr. Donahoe, do you want to know what an embarrassment is? It’s that product on the field Sunday afternoon, not the community that stands behind it. When a GM is hired, there usually is a three or maybe even a five-year plan for success. This is the fourth year of the Donahoe regime—what kind of plan are the Bills on here, anyway?

I understand this is only the first game, and Buffalo could win the next 15 in a row, but time for a reality check: that is not going to happen. That wasn’t Joe Montana, Tom Brady, or Peyton Manning going down the field the last two minutes that was the Jacksonville Jaguars, led by Byron Leftwich. Yeah, I know Leftwich was a first round pick, and I know some prognosticators are picking the Jags to challenge for a wild card this year, and maybe they will; who cares? That isn’t the point. The Bills should be in the same boat, but unfortunately they are more likely to end up with last year’s abysmal 6-10 record than a chance at the playoffs. It should be viewed as unacceptable, but apparently, judging by tickets sales, it’s okay with most Bills fans. After all, somebody’s got to suck, right?

The team does have some decent young talent—JP Lohsman, Lee Evans and Willis McGahee, to name a few, but that is two or three years away. I guess that puts the Bills and Donahoe on a seven-year plan. I’m not sure what I like less, the thought of four more years with G.W. Bush or Tom Donahoe.



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MAYORAL SURVIVOR: A BEAST CONTEST

ATTENTION BEAST READERS! The BEAST needs you to be the next Mayor of our dear city. That's right! We want you, a lowly loyal BEAST reader, to be the next Mayor of the city of Buffalo. WE ARE TOTALLY SERIOUS! We are launching a search for 16 contestants willing to run for the position of Mayor in 2005...more


Dropping Dead Al Uthman

A new and damning World Health Organization report has set off yet another round of condemnation and hand-wringing over the living nightmare that is the Sudanese crisis. But don't worry everyone-we're on the case. Never mind that we've been "on the case" for years, and even Roscoe P. Coltrane from "The Dukes of Hazzard" would have had it figured out by lunchtime..more


Republican Tricks I.M. Simpering

Early reports are inconclusive on whether or not the Republican National Convention was a boon to New York City's economy. None, however, have yet attempted to account for the bonanza in unreported and untaxable income flowing into the city during the week of the GOP soiree. In a quest for hard figures, investigate reporter I.M. Simpering called on his contacts in Manhattan's escort industry. Instead he heard tales of hard living and debauchery, which he has agreed to publish in The Beast... more


Pipeline Paradise Michael Goss

The third anniversary of 9/11 last week brought on a predictable onslaught of recaps and memorials, reminding us all of the tragedy of that day. We've been doing a lot of bombing and invading since then, ostensibly to defend against further attacks. Most of us felt pretty good about invading Afghanistan and removing the Taliban regime, but a lot of people are having second thoughts about Iraq. Our reasoning for the Iraqi invasion has changed as quickly as evidence of WMDs and a Saddam-Osama link has been discredited. What's the connection? But there is a connection between Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as every conflict our nation is involved in today: oil. At every turn, pipelines and proven reserves seem more of a motivation to our foreign policy than Homeland Security...more


Body Count 1001 Stan Goff

These milestones come along, reminding us and the wrath struggles to break free again. The anger is never really absent, just dormant like a sleeping volcano.

Back when the pack of professional liars in Washington DC and their slavish corporate press still had Americans brainwashed that Iraq was a threat to the United States, General Tommy Franks--then the chief military planner of the catastrophe in Iraq--said, "We don't do body counts." more


Play Time is Over Matt Taibbi

...the protests of the last week in New York were more than a silly, off-key exercise in irrelevant chest-puffing. It was a colossal waste of political energy by a group of people with no sense of history, mission or tactics, a group of people so atomized and inured to its own powerlessness that it no longer even considers seeking anything beyond a fleeting helping of that worthless and disgusting media currency known as play...more



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