Everyone Calm Down…….. Tanking Is Nothing New To Buffalo!

The prize in 1969 was you guessed it OJ Simpson - Photo via http://www.grayflannelsuit.net/blog/classic-nfl-game-action-slides-1960s-1970s-1980s

The prize in 1969 was you guessed it OJ Simpson – Photo via http://www.grayflannelsuit.net/blog/classic-nfl-game-action-slides-1960s-1970s-1980s

The year was 1968; the Bills were the worst team in football after winning back to back AFL championships in 1964 and 1965 and losing to the Chiefs in the 1966 championship game. The league was going through a transition as the AFL and NFL agreed to merge in 1966. The merger wouldn’t be officially culminated until the 1970 season though. The Bills went 4-10 in 1967 and followed that up by going 1-12-1 in 1968. They fired their head coach and got rid of all but two of their original players from 1960. They were retooling because the best running back – possibly ever – was going to be available in the 1969 draft. We know him as “the juice”. In 1968 O.J. Simspon won the Heisman trophy while playing at USC. Though the Bills didn’t use him often enough in his first few seasons, Lou Saban came in 1973 and decided to feed the rock to O.J. as much as possible. O.J. became the focal point of his offense and that ended up with his face forever etched in bronze in the hall of fame.

In 1985 the prize was??? Yup you guessed it Brucee!!!!!! - Photo via www.buffalobills.com

In 1985 the prize was??? Yup you guessed it Brucee!!!!!! – Photo via http://www.buffalobills.com

Fast forward to 1984, the Bills had drafted a QB by the name of Jim Kelly the year prior but he chose to play in the USFL; he didn’t want to play in cold Buffalo. The 1984 Bills lost 11 straight games ending up with the league’s worst record that year and the first over-all pick in the 1985 draft. Conveniently there was another generational talent coming out of Virginia Tech University; Bruce Smith. In his first year he had 15 sacks and ended with his face forever etched in bronze in the hall of fame. Fortunately for the Bills the USFL folded and Kelly also came to play for the Bills in 1986 hence creating the best 11 years in Bills sports history. Outside of Buffalo we watched the Indianapolis Colts basically tank for Andrew Luck. Peyton Manning had a serious neck condition and was getting up there in age – by NFL standards – so the Colts decided they needed a replacement. The Colts didn’t do anything at the QB position – as well as most others – and they knew how bad Curtis Painter was. The Colts went from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck and will continue to be good for another 10-15 years.

The prize this time..... McDavid or Jack Eichel

The prize this time….. McDavid or Jack Eichel

In 2015 the Buffalo Sabres decided to do whatever it takes to finish in last place in order to get a generational talent and rebuild. The last time the sabres drafted 1st overall was 1970 and we landed a guy named Gilbert Perrault. Maybe you’ve seen his jersey hanging in the rafters? There seems to be a lot of public and media bashlash after the way fans cheered the Coyotes winning on Thursday night; Seriously? The Sabres haven’t mattered since they lost Drury and Briere. Even when they led the league in points and went to the playoffs as the number one seed, the fans never felt they actually had what it took to win it all. Football is a little different than Hockey, in that draft picks are almost meaningless. They are used to build depth and trading assets unless there’s a Sidney Crosby waiting at number one. If a player is drafted first overall in the NFL they are expected to be a game changer; though most don’t turn out to be.

Bottom line here is that the NHL, like most professional sports organization, are set up to reward the loser with the best player. The incentive is already there to lose if you’re not good enough to make the post season. The NHL is making strides and is farther ahead of the NFL in trying to level the playing field. I mean, the NHL at least has a draft lottery process. Let’s not lose our heads over whose  on team Tank and who’s not. Let’s just all agree we want the future Sabres to put a much better product on the Ice for a decade or more to come. Pegula is not trying to build a team, he’s trying to build a legacy. He might be the first owner ever to bring a championship to Buffalo. How cool would it be to bring one right after another and build a #OneBuffalo dynasty? The greatest moments in history generally come after the darkest times. We’re in some pretty dark times now but the dawn is coming and the future has yet to be written.

By: Jason Sins

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3 Comments on “Everyone Calm Down…….. Tanking Is Nothing New To Buffalo!”

  1. Jim March 28, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    Wasn’t Pierre Turgeon a #1 pick ? If I recall, it was a choice between him and Shanahan, and we obviously took the wrong one ( although he was used to get Lafontaine)

  2. Anonymous April 11, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    bruce did not have 15 sacks his first year

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