I’m not sure if any of you readers are Sopranos fans. Not talking about the singers, but the TV Show. The Show was on for six seasons, and arguably their best season was the first one. One of the big story lines that season was Tony Soprano and his Uncle, Junior Soprano, bumping heads constantly about the vision of the “family.” Tony and Junior were both captains (2nd in command) in the Soprano Crew.
Long story short, Tony and Junior were up for the boss of the family, and Tony decided to nominate Junior (who was in his 70’s) as the new boss. Little did Junior know that the younger Tony was secretly running the family behind his back and manipulating Junior in making decisions to favor Tony, without Junior realizing it.
Where am I getting at with all of this? Maybe Russ Brandon is playing Ralph Wilson just like Tony did with Uncle Junior?
When I first wrote about the Buddy Nix promotion, I thought that the signing had Ralph Wilson’s finger prints all over it. I wrote that it seemed like more then ever that Russ Brandon was nothing more than a figurehead or a puppet to Mr. Wilson.
After posting the article, I thought more about why on earth would you want to look in-house and interview three candidates, two of them who should be scouting players in Italy. So why wouldn’t Brandon tell Wilson that we need to blow this thing up, which everyone in Buffalo, NY knows should happen.
Then it hit me, maybe Russ Brandon is scared to lose power. Maybe Brandon is playing Wilson in thinking that it’s not broke with the front office.
Think about it, during the press conference Wilson sounded as if he had an epiphany that the team needed a GM with football knowledge. Um Ralph, we could have all told you about this back in 2008 when Brandon was promoted. Maybe Ralph should have looked at the Bills’ media guide from 1992, just to see how his power structure was orchestrated. Did Wilson just figure this out? Or did Brandon tell him that the fans have been up in arms with not having a football guy running the team?
Lets be honest, when you heard Wilson speak about the promotion of Russ Brandon at the news conference, didn’t you think that Wilson didn’t know what was going on. Wilson joked: “I guess we are going to be giving Russ a promotion.” Did you really think that Wilson came up with the idea of promoting Brandon?
During the Brandon era we have seen a lot of smoke and mirrors or gimmicks with the team. First we get Marv Levy coming to Buffalo to run the front office. If you listen to some of the reporters who cover the team, they’ll all tell you that Levy was nothing more than a figurehead. The hiring was just to make people forget about Tom Donahoe and to capitalize on a fan base that thinks that any of the 90’s Bills’ coaches or players can turn water into wine.
Then you get the T.O. signing, a move clearly made to take the pressure off the Bills for not firing Dick Jauron and to sell tickets.
Now we are getting the possibility of the Bills hiring Kelly and Thomas as scouts or consultants. Why now? Ever since the duo retired from football they always wanted to be a part of the Bills organization. Wilson always refused it because it would mean he would have to hire all of his former players. The only logic I can come up with is that Brandon is trying to slide the duo in for the PR presence and to take pressure off firing John Guy and Tom Modrak.
Do you honestly think Wilson reads the paper or message boards in order to gather a pulse on what fans think about his team? He lives in Detroit! He’s 91! I don’t even think he knows that Modrak and Guy were hired by his arch-nemeses, Tom Donahoe. Someone has to be telling him how the fans feel.
What do all of these hirings and non-firings have in common? Brandon was there through all of it. I don’t remember Ralph Wilson bringing back OJ Simpson in the 80’s to be a consultant. All of these signings were made to take pressure off of a dysfunctional front office in order to save their jobs.
You really think that Brandon wants to lose power? Brandon would be back at marketing the team in Montreal if Cowher or Shanahan came here. By promoting Nix, it’s not like he’s going to tell Brandon to take a back seat. Brandon is the one that hired Nix back in February as a scout.
You’d be kidding yourself to think that Brandon is going to just stay in his corner office with his new promotion, and figure out ways to get the Toronto experiment on track and manufacturing a 5th Bills Jersey. Brandon is going to have a say in player personnel. I think it’s going to be the same brain-trust with just a new coach and former players throwing their two cents in.
If history shows anything under Brandon, it’s that the Bills are all about gimmicks. I know most fans may want to believe it’s all on Wilson, but maybe Brandon is steering Wilson into making moves for his benefit. I guess Russ would rather rule in hell than serve in heaven.
What do you think? Is Brandon playing Wilson? or is it the other way around?