My Letter to Santa Who Else Can I Ask for Help? by Tony Bogyo
December 17, 2012
I know youíre a busy guy this time of year and you have a ton of mail to get through Ė almost all of it from children under 10. Iím hoping that because I am from a far less common demographic, men in their 40s, you might consider my letter in the interest of diversity.
Like the letters you received from my kids, Iím going to list several things I hope you can deliver Ė please bring as many as you can. It seems a bit selfish, I know, but Iím hoping this is just because as an adult Iím conditioned to give rather than request this holiday season. So I donít seem quite to selfish, Iíll at least try and explain my list.
I think Iíve been pretty good this year and I should by on the ďniceĒ list if so please bring me:
A young defensive back who can be in the same ZIP code as the receiver he is attempting to cover. If possible, Iíd also like this guy to be able to turn his head towards the quarterback Ė if you play a receiver too close and make contact without turning your head or knowing where the ball is you tend to get flagged for pass interference.
Some defensive players who donít bite on every single fake the offense throws their way. If you look in the dictionary under ďgullibleĒ you find a picture of the Bills defense Ė those guys bite on every fake- hook, line and sinker.
A pair of hands for T.J. Graham Ė I know heís a rookie, but I canít even figure if this kid has promise or is yet another poor draft pick Ė he drops too many passes for me to figure it out.
A third down stop. Buffalo is capable of coming through with some nice defensive plays on first and second down (sometimes both), but it seems that even when itís third and 38 the defense gives it up. I donít think weíve made a third down stop since 2000.
Defensive linemen who can win one-on-one battles, at least some of the time. With the money we pay some of these guys youíd think they might be able to beat single coverage once in a while Ė in fact, our entire defensive philosophy counts on it, but it almost never happens.
Healthy offensive linemen. After years of having horrific offensive lines, the Bills miraculously managed to put together a hallway decent line, but it has almost no depth and a constant stream of injuries prevent us from seeing what this unit is capable of.
Some dignity. Quite frankly, it sucks being a Bills fan Ė itís embarrassing. Whether youíre losing to a team you really should beat or getting bitch-slapped by just about any team with a winning record, itís hard to be ďtalkiní proudĒ about being a Bills fan to friends and co-workers on Mondays. At first it was fun showing how tough you were by standing and proudly claiming Bills fandom, but seriously Ė that got old almost a decade ago Ė now it just sucks.
Stop the Toronto games Ė nobody cares. Bills fans donít like them and donít go, leaving the team with 7 home games and 9 away games. Fans in Toronto are apathetic and rightly so Ė the games have been dismal. You have a real problem when you canít sell tickets in a country where their national pastime is in a lockout and you need Psy at halftime to put butts in seats. Iím betting that todayís marquee listed Psy first, then the Bills Ė just like Spinal Tap opening for a puppet show.
A quarterback who can complete a pass longer than 12 yards. I understand downfield throws are difficult, but Ryan Fitzpatrick NEVER makes them, even if the receiver is wide open. Oh, the things you could do if opposing defenses had to respect the deep ball.
A defensive adjustment. Once, just once, Iíd like the Bills to learn from a first half ass-kicking and figure out how to stop getting their asses kicked the same way in the second half. While other teams make in-game adjustments, the Bills take weeks to figure it out. If players and coaches are too stupid to figure it out they should be replaced with people of higher intelligence.
A linebacker Ė seriously, almost anything would be an upgrade over what we have today.
A leader in the locker room. I donít see anyone on the team getting angry and compelling those around him to step up their game Ė its play, lose, collect your check, repeat Ė where is the passion? The pride?
Some organizational leadership thatís less than 60 years old. Thereís something to be said for wisdom and experience, but football is a young manís game. Ralph Wilson has nearly hit triple digits, Buddy Nix is 73 and Chan Gailey is 60. This may get you a group discount for prostate cancer screenings, but it doesnít do much to ensure youíre in step with todayís NFL. When your idea of a football great is Bart Starr or Elroy ďCrazylegsĒ Hirsch you might be a bit out of touch with how the game works today.
A coach with some balls. I know Ė thatís crude, but do you have any other explanation of the ultra-conservative styles of Chan Gailey and his predecessor, Dick Jauron? Just about the only way the Bills HAVENíT lost a game in the past decade has been by playing it too risky. At this point, do you have much to lose? If nothing else taking more risks might allow the Bills to lose in new and exotic ways.
Some sort of plan for the Bills going forward. Thereís a huge cloud of uncertainty hanging over the Bills Ė nobody knows what will happen when Ralph passes so we all sit and wait. Itís really hard to build something with that type of uncertainty.
Anyway, thatís my list. You may be surprised that for this demographic I didnít ask for a sports car, boat or younger woman - Iím guessing you get a lot of that. I know Iíve asked for a lot Ė probably too much Ė my understanding is that you have excellent toy manufacturing facilities at your disposal as that is your core business, but Iím hoping you may have some ability to get things done in the NFL. Iím sorry you were booed by Philadelphia fans Ė let me be the first to say that they do NOT represent all of us fans. Thanks for doing what you do Ė Merry Christmas.