Are the Buffalo Bills a classic example of a franchise that never seems to find a solution to its problem? Many coaches, players, analysts, and certainly fans are willing to make that assertion. Seventeen years without a playoff appearance is inarguably a long time for an NFL franchise to miss the playoffs. Yet, every time the front office and coaching staff seem to make the proper moves, the team inevitably falls short. One of the most common responses that I get about being a Bills fan is that BILLS stands for “Blew It Like Last Season”. This one used to cause anger, since no fan wants to see his or her team go 17 years without making a playoff appearance. However, at this point many Bills fans are used to seeing this recurrence. Therefore, it doesn’t phase them much, anymore. Many of my previous articles tie economics to football in general. This time, I was looking for a way to relate economics to the Bills more specifically. I initially thought that I was at a dead end, but then I seemed to discover something that epitomizes the cycle of being a Bills fan: collapse.
Economic collapse refers to a complete breakdown of an economy where there are several months or years of distress. This collapse is often due to an economic depression, such as the Great Depression during the Roosevelt presidency. Such collapses often come with civil uncertainty, massive inflation, and high poverty levels. The results are intrusive and unwanted, leaving those affected in moods and states that are often hard to overcome. The obvious answer to being led out of a depression is recovery, but how does economic recovery occur? Well, economic recovery is part of the business cycle in which, following a recession or depression, an economic market regains hold of itself, leading to increases in employment and political stability. This is all part of a main cycle that happens continuously. Bills fans like myself have been in the recession or depression stage for 17 years and counting. Each flicker of optimism that we manage to find is ultimately extinguished by a period of instability. So, if we are in a stage of recession and economics is much like football, in a sense, then are the Buffalo Bills bound for a recovery? Well, this question is tricky for many reasons.
This is primarily because the 2017 season has not happened yet, so predictions are merely guesses. Yet, predictions are often accurate indicators. Other times, though, they are not. There is no true way to tell what is going to happen. However, recovery in any way is often spurred by continuous optimism. In the stages of the Great Depression, confidence levels were at a low, yet the optimism of those in the market still remained, ultimately leading to a gradual recovery, during which there was increased competition and allowance for people to get back on their feet. For Bills fans out there who are continuing to cast doubt on this upcoming season, I understand your grief. However, there is a beacon of light in me that remains positive. The four straight Super Bowl losses followed by mediocre coaching (Mularkey, Gailey, Marrone, Ryan) certainly do not help our case, but the hiring of Sean McDermott has seemed to pay dividends in the sense that there has been a culture change in the locker room. Players are garnering more respect for one another and the new coaching staff. The signings of players such as Micah Hyde, Patrick DiMarco, and Andres Holmes has given some positive signals. If the culture and economic change of a recession have any effect, then maybe the recession of the Buffalo Bills will evaporate, thus moving into the next stage of the business cycle. There’s no telling what will happen, but with optimism and general knowledge of business and economics there is a way out of this collapse.