Culture. The term referred to incessantly by sports owners, players, and fans might just carry more gravity than we thought. When Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane took the helm as Buffalo’s head coach and GM, that word — culture, served as the very basis of what they wanted to build.
“We’re trying to develop a culture here. Culture, to me, trumps strategy. That’s what I believe in wholeheartedly, and it doesn’t mean we have choir boys, it means we’ve got guys that love football and do the things the right way for the most part,” — Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills Head Coach
Coach meant what he said. Since taking over in 2017, him and Beane have had their fingerprints all over the Buffalo roster. As it stands today, defensive end Shaq Lawson is the lone player left on the squad that was added before “McBeane”. As a fan, it’s tough to see favorite players released and new, unfamiliar faces take their place. There is something, however, that McDermott and Beane understood before we, the fans, did —
Culture can only be changed by creating more of it.
Guys that love football. Guys that do things the right way. Preseason just ended and, while it’s only preseason, we’re finally getting a look at this culture we’ve been hearing about. With close to 90 men on the roster, to see third and fourth stringers going crazy on the sideline when a man they’re battling for a roster spot with makes a play, it’s special. This is an echo from the leadership of our beloved Kyle Williams who, in his very last pre-game speech, told his teammates —
“My biggest fear is letting a teammate down. I’m here because I want to give it all for this locker room.”
There’s no jealousy, no sideline fights, no drama. Just men who love football, do things the right way, and most importantly, love the men next to them.
So, where does 4–0 in the preseason leave us? The only answer that comes to mind: Excited. It’s time to break the stigma. This season, more than any other season, the Bills are overlooked. Josh Allen is underrated. The media has forgotten that the#2 defense from a year ago has 10 out of 11 starters returning with the exception of #95 who, by the way, has been replaced with a bowling ball of a man in Ed Oliver Jr.
There’s something brewing in Buffalo. It’s something to be excited about, something to take pride in, something to be passionate about.
Just two days. In two days, the hardworking fanbase of Buffalo, Western New York, and all over the country will take off their hardhats, scrub the dirt from under their fingernails, and tune into a new season of Buffalo Bills football. This has the potential to be a big year, but first — week one.