BUFFALO — The Buffalo Bills occupy a unique position in the National Football League. Though never actually the worst team in the league, for nearly two decades they’ve appeared to be the most hopeless.
A league is allowed to have multiple laughingstocks, and the NFL has plenty. The Cleveland Browns clinched the No. 1 pick in the draft by losing to Pittsburgh in overtime on Sunday, successfully avoiding a two-game winning streak that might have given the San Francisco 49ers the top pick. That same 49ers team fired head coach Chip Kelly after one season. They also fired general manager Trent Baalke because, as 49ers owner Jed York said, you can’t fire an owner.
Look around at some championship-less franchises and you’ll notice the Jaguars also need a new coach, and the Detroit Lions hilariously backed into the playoffs with three straight losses. But let’s take another look at the Lions, forever an NFL laughingstock.
Right. There it is.
The Buffalo Bills are uniquely terrible because they’ve somehow never been decent enough to stumble into the postseason or bad enough to draft well and bounce back in a big way. They haven’t made the playoffs in 17 seasons now, the NFL’s longest active streak. The Bills’ complete organizational failure is so commonplace that local Buffalo sports radio hosts can predict how the season will go before the schedule is even released.
But the 2016 season was full of weirdness that can’t be matched since the Music City Miracle, which happens to be Buffalo’s last playoff appearance. I’ll try to be brief. Buffalo fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman two weeks into the season after a Thursday Night Football game in which the offense scored 31 points and the defense was hideously exposed by Ryan Fitzpatrick. Running backs coach Anthony Lynn took over the playcalling duties. He’s currently the team’s interim head coach. But more on that later.
The Bills hilariously had Reggie Bush on the roster, who became the first player since the merger to have 10+ carries and finish with negative yardage. The Bills briefly lured Percy Harvin out of retirement. He had two catches in two games. Hell, even that guy from Real Housewives of Atlanta was briefly on the team.