After nearly two decades of mediocrity, the Buffalo Bills finally are making the right moves to sustain long term success in the NFL.
Prior to Sean McDermott joining the Buffalo Bills as head coach, the franchise struggled to have any kind of sustained success. It seemed like almost on an annual basis, the Bills would have a new coach, or general manage or starting quarterback.
However, that all started to change once McDermott was named the head coach in 2017, and then shortly after that addition the Bills added Brandon Beane as general manager. The past three years Bills fans have gotten to see their team reach the playoff twice, something they failed to achieve in the prior 17 years.
Entering this season, the Buffalo Bills appear set up to realistically compete for a division title, something they haven’t won since 1995. It was the moves this offseason though that should keep this franchise in contention for years to come.
The big news this week was the Buffalo Bills signing Sean McDermott to a four-year contract extension, keeping him in Buffalo through the 2025 season. He is the first head coach to receive an extension since Dick Jauron in 2008.
While McDermott has obviously had success on the field, it is the culture that he has been able to change within the franchise that has helped with the product on the field. He talked about this with the media this week:
“I think really to sustain winning, you’ve got to build a culture and a good foundation,” McDermott said. “Then the culture really breeds the chemistry that our players have been able to build together. Some of that’s been driven by me, but a lot of it also comes, and the credit goes to our staff and our players for the bond they’ve been able to build with one another.”
When the Buffalo Bills were regularly changing out the head coach, there wasn’t that chance to build a culture within the franchise like fans see in the other successful franchises like the New England Patriots or the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While keeping Sean McDermott in place for the foreseeable future is important, it isn’t the only move this week that the Buffalo Bills showed they are turning that corner. Another important part is obviously the players, and specifically bringing in good players (either through the NFL Draft or free agency) but also being able to keep them.
This is usually a costly proposition because if players are good enough to warrant a contract extension, it means they are one of the best at their position. However, players also have to have a desire to remain with the franchise.
The Buffalo Bills made one of those key moves earlier this offseason with an extension for Jordan Poyer and more recently signing Dion Dawkins to a four-year extension worth $60 million.
Even players who don’t have extensions yet, like Matt Milano, have made it clear that they want to remain in Buffalo. This type of sentiment is not something the Buffalo Bills have had in some time.
In the end, it remains to be seen what the end result is, although hopefully it means Super Bowl titles. The one thing that is clear is the moves the Buffalo Bills are making show how the culture has changed, how players and coaches want to remain with this franchise and believe what is being done in Western New York.