A View from Calico Jack’s – 9/4/09

“World War Two was a must win” – Marv Levy

Welcome back my friends, to the show that (we hope) never ends; the Bills’ 50th season, and believe it or not the eighth season (!) that 42nd and 2nd has served as New York’s official Little Buffalo – the place to be in New York if you can’t be at the game.

Despite the Emerson Lake & Palmer lyric quote, the Bills’ yearly show does end, with maddening consistency, before the playoffs begin.

With all due respect to Marv, it seems clear that reaching the playoffs is indeed a “must” this season in order for Coach Dick Jauron to keep his job. At least the schedule makers were kind enough to serve up a “gimme” game to kick off the season – the Patriots, on the road, on Monday night. Let’s just pray they don’t add a Tedy Bruschi retirement ceremony to the mix.

Will this finally be the year Buffalo makes the playoffs? Don’t ask me. I predicted playoffs last year, and felt pretty pleased with myself through the first month of the season. And then…well, you were there.

I’ve managed to go this far without mentioning T.O., which is probably a new record for anyone writing about the 2009 Buffalo Bills. T.O. heads most people’s list of questions about this year’s edition:

  • Will T.O., possessor of Western New York’s most famous toe, be healthy, be a difference maker – and will he behave?
  • Will it make any difference, with a reconstituted and inexperienced O-line?
  • Will Trent Edwards finally be “the one,” or just “the latest one?” Will he take advantage of some truly impressive offensive weapons, or continually check off two-yard-passes?
  • Will the no-huddle experiment work, or will our defense find itself playing 45 minutes every game?
  • Will our running game suffer unimaginably until Marshawn returns?
  • Will Dick Jauron and team create innovative ways to make use of Roscoe Parrish’s unique talents?
  • Will the team figure out how to stuff the run?
  • Will the defensive scheme allow our corners to play closer coverage – as in, somewhere in the same half of the field as the guys they’re defending?
  • Will the Toronto experiment take a step in the right direction, or will the crowd once again act as if it’s watching a women’s semi-professional croquette match?
  • Will Moorman hit the big screen in Dallas?

I can’t answer any of those questions, except the last one. Moorman’s great, but even he can’t hit the big screen without actually playing in Dallas this season.

Here’s one reason for hope – history.

I’m no Bills historian, but I believe there have been three head coaches in Bills’ history who’ve coached a fourth season:
Lou Saban: In his fourth season, his 1965 Bills went 10-3-1 and won the AFL Championship
Lou Saban II: His 1975 Bills went 8-6. No playoffs, but not bad.
Chuck Knox: His 1981 Bills went 10-6, made it to round 2 of the playoffs
Marv Levy: His 1989 Bills went 9-7, made playoffs

Incredibly, Coach Jauron joins that illustrious group this season. Will he keep pace, or will his “show” end?

Can’t wait to find out, along with everyone else, at McFadden’s and Calico Jack’s this year. Bring your popcorn.