Wednesday, September 16, 2009
A look at Buffalo's culture of losing
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Did the great New England Patriots win Monday night, or did the hapless Buffalo Bills lose?
ESPN senior writer Howard Bryant leans hard toward the latter after Tom Brady milked Leodis McKelvin's goat in a stunning 25-24 Patriots victory in Gillette Stadium.
Bryant examines Monday night's finish as a microcosm of the Bills' culture of losing in a column posted Wednesday afternoon.
If Brady and the Patriots have crafted for themselves an aura of confidence, transforming gnawing, admirable persistence into a culture, the Bills have managed something quite the opposite: a suffocating pathology from an organization-wide dynamic of playing losing football by making losing decisions.Bryant holds up the game-changing play -- McKelvin's decision to run a kickoff out of the end zone with the hands team in front of him and 2:06 on the clock -- as symbolic of the Bills' organizational inadequacies and the shortcomings of head coach Dick Jauron.
McKelvin fumbled, setting up Brady for the winning touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson.
Determining what risks are acceptable is part of the essence of coaching, and if Jauron believes what he said after the game -- that he had "no problem" with the play -- he is directly contributing to the culture that is currently claiming his football team.