by Mike Waggoner, Buffalo Sports Page

Okay, maybe I’m not completely out of “Wags Chronicles”, but the ones I have left are either not fit for print or somewhere in my brain still hiding.

Not to worry. This site has graciously given me an opportunity to write. There’s a chance it’s because of my background, but it’s more because I know Paul and Kevin and have for a very long time.

So unlike some of my previous contributions to BSP, this is a straight up reaction to the Bills game.

Too Negative

Despite being human, we’re all different. No one person’s reaction is the “correct” reaction to anything. That being said I’ve gone through a period in life recently where I have tried a make a habit of stepping back, and appreciating the bigger picture. Trying to understand a different viewpoint. The uncommon one. It can be more attractive. Too often these days — and I don’t want to write what I’m about to write because I’ve read it a thousand times and it’s true — but everyone is so negative in 2018.

As humans, we possess an incredible, yet complex set of brain patterns, that allow us to live our day to day lives. So we should be able to rationally analyze the viewing of a sporting event, right? I’m hoping we should be able to offer more to our co-workers Monday than “How bad is Peterman?”…. but I have a feeling we won’t.

So since moving back to Buffalo, I’ve found it a lot of fun to watch Bills games “amongst” the masses, with the fans all around me. I met people at Thirsty Buffalo on Elmwood today. They show the other NFL games which is a bonus, and good insurance policy if the game turns out like the season opener did. Plus they do a 5 beer bucket thing… (BSP Sidenote #1: As much as I adored the Bills Backers of Santa Monica while living in Los Angeles, I do not miss 10am kickoffs and starting NFL Sunday Funday at that time.)

None of us know what to expect this season with the Bills. I disagree with BSP co-founder Paul Peck who keeps telling everyone that this is a season not about winning, but more on watching development of young players. My feeling is that winning at any level anytime is fun, no matter what, and should never be sacrificed for losing. The Bills have been ridiculous underdogs every week. Embarrassing point spreads. If they would have beaten the Texans, Thirsty Buffalo would have been screaming.

They didn’t. Instead… “How bad is Peterman?”

“How Bad Is Peterman?”

Don’t get me wrong, Peterman sucks. You can’t defend the results he’s had.

I just wish we could step back and view a bigger picture. This team may win 9 games again. Probably not, but the hardest part of schedule was supposed to be the beginning. I don’t see how that can be viewed as a bad thing. It’s a fun day when the Bills win, and an even more fun week leading up to the following Sunday.

I can’t stand when people get all excited about draft position. The fascination with the draft remains the most mysterious aspect of sports hype I’ve ever come across. I get it. I’m in the COMPLETE minority by finding draft coverage so silly. I just think that we are giving these front offices wayyyyyyyyyyy more credit than they already deserve if we think that any more than a handful of them have any clue what they are doing. (Remember I said a handful have their shit together) When they are charting, making lists, etc., it could be the biggest overly hyped random guessing game in sports. Hype it up though. 2018. TV Ratings.

That being said… when you have a front office with zero experience, they realize that in the “Not For Long” NFL, there is pressure to make a big splash. Land the next Brady. Yawn. (BSP Sidenote #2: Ex-head coach Jerry Glanville should get paid by people who use that Not For Long reference. So I owe you a quarter, Jerry.)

Anyhow… the new Bills regime “saw something special” in 5th round pick Nate Peterman. This is what happens when you have a GM and coach without much experience as judges of talent. Nate’s many failures when thrust into the spotlight just magnify the front office’s lack of experience from the top down. The question shouldn’t be “how bad is Peterson”. It should be “how inexperienced are the front offices in the two major Buffalo sports teams?”

This is what we have though. I’m not going to get into the Sabres side, there is only one direction they can go this season. As far as the Bills, I will embrace the screw-ups, and I encourage you all to do the same. I texted my buddy in the 4th quarter today:

“coaches are learning. that shit trying to draw them off-sides on 4th and 2 was amateur hour. You think Belichick, Tomlin, Pete Carroll or Andy Reid would have wasted a timeout in tight game like that?”

We just have to understand the reality of it. When you’re in the bottom 80% of the NFL, let it be fun. Today’s game was fun. This SEASON I think has been a lot more fun than I ever expected. Embrace the screw-ups. Enjoy the improbable close games. Do NOT worry about draft position. Let the unpredictability entertain you.

Mike Waggoner

Mike moved back to Buffalo a year ago after nearly 20 years working as a sports producer. The majority of his career was spent with ESPN, but also NFL Network. He also worked with ESPN's Longhorn Network in Austin from 2011-13. Mike grew up in Snyder, attended Cansius High School, then received his degree at SUNY Fredonia. One of his fulfillment in college was an internship at WIVB-TV at Channel 4 during summers with Paul Peck and Van Miller. He landed a production assistant job with ESPN after graduation from Fredonia. Following several years of roles on ESPN's platform of shows in Bristol, he headed west to work on startup show ESPN Hollywood, but also with Monday Night Football as a field producer. He accepted a similar role at NFL Network following his years with ESPN. He is back in Buffalo, not only contributing to Buffalo Sports Page as a consultant, but also working in Amherst at Northtown.

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