Bills Preseason Schedule Announced

The Buffalo Bills now know which teams they will be playing this coming preseason. They also know, they get to open the preseason this year with a matchup against the Tennessee Titans in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, OH on Sunday, August 9th at 8:00pm. Quite appropriate that the Bills would be featured, as Bruce Smith – one of the all time greatest Buffalo Bills – will be enshrined that weekend.

The rest of the schedule looks like this:

8/9 8:00pm – Tennessee (in Canton, OH)
Wk 1 (TBA) – Chicago
Wk 2 (TBA) – @ Green Bay
Wk 3 (TBA) – @ Pittsburgh
Wk 4 (TBA) – Detroit Lions

I guess the NFL thought the NFC North needed to practice against the Bills this preseason? 🙂

Exact dates and times will be announced later, but it’s fun to see the 2009 season begin to take shape. Football is (just?) around the corner!

[LINK –]


It Comes Down To This

Two Big Games

The Sabres are basically already eliminated from the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs. They have only 9 games left, and they are a full 8 points out of the top eight spots – the playoff teams. They fell to the 10th spot and have been hovering there for quite a while, thanks largely to long absences by their top two stars, Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek.

But perhaps, really, it’s just because they’re not that good.

Still, after watching them fight back two days ago – impressively, I might add – from a 3-1 deficit against the team directly above them in the standings… there’s still a very small glimmer of hope.

In fact, it’s really only as big as the next two games.

Toronto has had a rough season. The Sabres should beat them. It’s a home game, and they should win. (After their most recent slump, though, the Leafs are only 3 points behind the Sabres in the conference standings!)

The big game is tomorrow night, in Montreal. Hockey Night in Canada. Montreal is currently holding the 8th playoff spot. The Sabres will effectively be eliminated if they give that team two points. If they win both the next two, they will climb to within 4 points though, with seven games remaining. That’s still doable.

So, it should be interesting… looking forward to watching the next two games to see if this team has any fight left in them. They get their star goalie back tonight… perhaps that (plus the big come-from-behind win on Wednesday) will be just the boost they need.

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Buffalo Bills 50th Anniversary Team : Defense

It’s time to pick your all-time defense for the Buffalo Bills. Voting is now open for defensive players (and head coach, too) at the Bills website. Above are my selections for the team. I tried hard to not just pick guys from the 90s Super Bowl teams. I think I did a pretty good job…

Have fun picking yours!

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Get Your Popcorn Ready

popcornAs anticipated, the signing of Terrell Owens this off-season has increased the national appeal of our small-town gridiron heroes. The formerly uninteresting, middle-of-the-pack nobodies are now one of the teams slated to be showcased on the NFL’s opening weekend. Partly because they are one of the original AFL teams, and the NFL is celebrating the AFL’s 50th anniversary this season, but mostly because of T.O.

Get your popcorn ready, North America.

Think what you will about T.O. – selfishness, “Me Only” attitude, bashing teammates (especially QBs) – he definitely commands attention. Dick Jauron can’t stop parroting his stats in press conferences. His new coach is obviously impressed. And so are season ticket holders. Increased sales and renewals are a direct result of signing just this one player. The Bills Store has also seen an amazing demand for Owens jerseys. The guy commands attention.

The Bills have at least one more showcase game already. They will be on the national stage once again when they play their second game across the border in Toronto, Ontario. (Also known by the locals as, “T.O.” That won’t be exploited at all…) The early talk is that the Bills could play Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in that game. Other possibilities include Tampa Bay and New Orleans.

But I really don’t think that will be the end of it. Thanks to the T.O. factor, NFL fans across the country (and beyond) should be seeing our Buffalo Bills many times this season.

I really like the first game for Buffalo, too. Think about it. The return of Tom Brady. T.O.’s first game. The losing streak is beginning to rival that dreaded Oh-for-the-70s streak against the hated Miami Dolphins. What better litmus test for this T.O.-powered offense (and the whole team in general) than the one team they just can’t beat? (The one possible flaw being the likely absence of star RB Marshawn Lynch, who should be serving the first game of a suspension whose length – and actuality – is yet to be determined.)

The NFL powers that be have decided the Bills are worth watching. Most Bills fans are equally intrigued. If nothing else, you have to admit, Bills’ GM (and former marketing guy) Russ Brandon really knows how to market his team.

So we now have a date. September 14th at 7:00pm EDT.

Get your popcorn ready.


What To Do While You Wait For Football Season

By BBR_OtherGuy

Football season is almost here… is what I’ll say in August. The signing of Terrell Owens has transformed Bills Nation from mind-numbing disenchantment to pre-pubescent girls at a Jonas Brothers concert excitement. Now we have to wait a real long time before we Bills fans get to see our shiny new receiver in action.

This begs the question, “What do I do to pass the time?” Well the Sabres are as frustrating as a chastity belt, and if you’re like me then going to work and spending time with your family just isn’t cutting it. So allow me to give you five tips on how to pass the time until football season.

1) Come up with funny names for businesses, then go through your address book and call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while to tell him/her (bonus points if it’s an ex). This is an actual conversation I had with my friend today:
FRIEND: What’s up?
ME: I want to start a sporting goods franchise and call it Dong’s.
FRIEND: Please tell me that’s not why you called me.
ME: …um… *click*

2) Make a list of cool nicknames for yourself and then refer to yourself in the third person to make them catch on. The trick is to switch it up all the time so you don’t get stuck with one name:
FRIEND: Let’s check out that new Tai restaurant.
ME: Ace likes the sound of that!
FRIEND: Who’s Ace?
ME: Big J thinks you already know the answer to that.

3) Write the word “RUN” on a piece of notebook paper. Fold the paper up and urgently hand it to a stranger on the street. Make sure it’s folded though because the time it takes for him to unfold it should give you a healthy head start.

4) Write fake news releases and send them to real newspapers to see if you can get them printed. This is a game I played in college with a few other PR majors. I’ve posted one I submitted in 2005 to give you something to work off of (HINT: The smaller the paper, the better chance they will be too busy to actually read it and just print it):




BUFFALO, N.Y. (SEPT. 13, 2005)— This month The John Foundation announces its intentions to build a new family fun center in the heart of downtown. The center will be located where the old city post office now sits abandoned, and hopes to transform it from a place people go to do drugs, to a place people can go after they do drugs.

The John Foundation admits it has no funding what-so-ever to build the center and is soliciting donations from the community stating that if the community plans to use it, the community should help pay for it. The foundation also stated that if not enough funds are collected to build the center, it reserves the right to use the money for video games and Doritos.

“I don’t really see it as deceptive,” said Jay Livingston, founder of The John Foundation, “I mean, yeah it looks like we’re doing this for video game money, but we did say a fun center would be sweet and that’s totally true.”
For more information please contact Juan “Speedy” Gonzales, public relations director at (716) 989-4180.

The John Foundation has been serving the community for a while. Just because you haven’t heard of it doesn’t make it not true. Don’t be a hater.

5) Finally, you can start exercising, oh and try a salad every once in a while fatty. Seriously, you paid for one seat on a plane, if you have to take half my seat you can pay for half my ticket.

Hope that helps, if I think of some more I’ll post them… maybe… I’m pretty lazy…

-The John

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The T.O. Buzz Continues…

A few days after the Bills dropped the T.O. bomb on the NFL, it’s all anyone can talk about. We figured that at least the Bills would get that out of the deal, right? I’m still wondering if eventually the small market-ness of Buffalo will help the buzz to subside, but at the moment, ALL of the top stories on the front page of are about T.O. and/or the Bills. Fascinating.

Here are a few links to videos and articles worth checking out:

  • VIDEO Dolphins play-by-play guy talks about Evans/Owns and Moss/Welker in the same division. (
  • VIDEO NFL Network guys discuss the Bills signing of Terrell Owens. (
  • VIDEO interviews Trent Edwards re: the Bills signing of T.O. (
  • ARTICLE Jerry Sullivan’s take on the whole T.O. thing. (Buffalo News)

T.O. – 10 Things I Think

“Huh? What? What did you say?”

The sound of Bills fans cheering – or screaming – awakened me from my late-winter hibernation.

I’m still rubbing my eyes and scratching my head, but here are 10 things:

1. Let’s start with on the field, which is all that matters. Assuming he plays all year (I certainly expect he will, but this is T.O., so nothing is for certain), the Bills receiving corps will be what we’ve hoped for for years. Great talent and competitiveness wide (Lee and T.O.) and Josh Reed returning to the slot – his natural position.

There simply is no question that T.O. is a great, great talent. Size, speed, hands. At his best, he leaves the rest of the league watching in awe.

For the last couple of years I’ve thought he’s been inconsistent, dropping too many easy balls. But even with that, he demands defensive attention every play that he’s on the field.

I can see this offense erupting, game after game, with Lee and T.O. and Josh beating the secondary downfield and Marshawn and Fred pounding the front seven on the ground.

2. Assuming he’s emotionally engaged (I certainly hope he will be, but this is T.O., so nothing is certain), T.O. could be a great leader on the sideline. There is no question that the guy is passionate – not always in a way that helps his team, but he is passionate. He could be a real spark for the offense. He could pull Trent along with him. He could have a big impact on Marshawn – positive or negative.

3. Does T.O. answer all the questions on offense? Not at all. He DOES answer the receiving question. No longer can Bills fans say the problem with the offense is that they don’t have quality receivers. Every defensive coordinator will be forced to pay attention the Bills’ receiving duo.

There are three important questions that remain:

a. Will the offensive line come together to provide quality protection for the passing game and support a consistent running game? The run game came around nicely in the second half of the season, and the pass protection wasn’t bad. But the Bills clearly decided that Dockery wasn’t good enough. They haven’t moved to sign Fowler or Preston, and they’ve signed only one free agent offensive lineman – a part-time starter with some upside, but still a question mark. Is there another free agent to be signed? A first round pick who can play as a rookie? For what seems like the umpteenth year in a row, we just know about the offensive line.

If the line doesn’t do the job, this great array of skill players will struggle.

b. Will Trent Edwards take advantage of this abundance of riches? Evans, Owens, Reed and others running patterns, Lynch and Jackson coming out of the backfield – a quarterback’s dream. Can Trent read defenses and deliver the ball to some of the best targets in the game?

c. Can Dick Jauron and Turk Schonert pull all this together? Can the Bills offense be what it’s failed to be for the past three years – effective, diverse and productive in the red zone? This team has largely failed on offense since Jauron arrived; can we expect the coaches to turn it around in one year?

4. Perhaps now, finally, the cries for a great tight end will subside. With potent wideouts, any solid blocking tight end – average hands and average speed – is going to be able to get open and catch some balls.

5. The receiving corps is now crowded, but this move makes some sense for the future. T.O. takes the pressure off Hardy and Johnson for 2009. Hardy’s free to recover from his knee injury and get back to developing the way we hope. Johnson will have the opportunity to work his way onto the field as well as he can.

The interesting questions are Jenkins and Parrish. We know April likes Jenkins’ contribution to special teams – he’s been a topnotch player there. But Jenkins isn’t likely to be a contributor on this offense. Are his days numbered?

Parrish is an even tougher question. As good as Roscoe is returning punts, there may not be room on the team for him unless he finally begins to catch the ball in space. Punt returns without an offense aren’t worth much. Will Roscoe be dealt for a draft choice or as part of a trade for a quality offensive lineman? A defensive end or linebacker? Or is Roscoe just too explosive too let go? T.O. and Lee wide, with Roscoe in the slot sometimes, Josh in the slot others. All four wide? On paper, it seems too good to pass up.

6. What about T.O.’s baggage? Scares me to death. Will T.O. play for Jauron? Will he behave on the sideline? Will he demand the ball and disrupt the offense?

The genius of the one-year contract, of course, is that T.O. knows he has to behave to have one more big payday, with Buffalo or with another team. This could be his last best chance, and it could be a powerful incentive for him.

The other thing that will help keep T.O. in line is for the team to have success. The more he wins, the happier he is.

7. For the cynics who say that the T.O. signing is a public relations play to boost sagging season ticket sales, I say yes and no. There is no question the Bills had decided to go after a veteran wideout. It certainly seems they pursued Coles hard, and then T.O. fell into their laps. They get a quality receiver, a chance for their young receivers to mature and a chance to reevaluate the whole situation in a year.

But there is no question that fan excitement exploded as the T.O. rumors grew and then became true. Will the excitement translate into season tickets sales? Probably. But the real excitement can only come with winning.

8. Jauron is now fully and squarely on the hot seat. He has the offensive weapons, he’s left with his own offensive line mess, and he has his defense. He also has one potentially huge headache. There are no excuses in 2009, including T.O. Jauron wanted him, now he has him. It’s Jauron’s job to make it work.

9. Taking T.O. strikes me as a desperate move. Take a bold step to juice the offense and sell tickets. Take the big gamble to make a winner and save the franchise. High risk, high reward. A year from now we could be celebrating a great revival or watching an even bigger mess in the organization.

10. For me, I’ve been in a total wait-and-see mode since the end of January, and no free agent signing is going to change my skepticism. I’ll be cheering for T.O., and I’ll be thrilled by the plays we know he will make. But it’s all about Ws. For me, the question is whether these coaches can lead a team and make it a winner. It’s time for winning on the field, not on paper.

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Terrell Owens: First Reactions to Buffalo’s Big News

Terrell Owens is a Buffalo Bill
The Buffalo Sabres – Buffalo’s other pro sports franchise – are very happy with their trade deadline acquisitions. This past week they added a goalie and a promising young forward. They also signed one of their star players to a well-earned contract extension. They kept the buzz going with two straight 5-1 victories since the roster moves.

But all that pales in comparison to what the Bills announced today.

We here at the Buffalo Bills Review were hopeful that the Bills might fill some needs with some recognizable name players like C Jeff Saturday or Matt Birk, or backup QB Jeff Garcia, even RB Fred Taylor. Based on their history, that was wishful thinking of course, but people – and organizations – can change, so there was always a chance.

The Bills lost out on most of those guys, and strangely went with a very Losman-like QB in Ryan Fitzpatrick from Cincinnati. They have had a parade of free agent visitors through the doors at One Bills Drive, but have only managed to sign those you might expect them to. G/C Geoff Hangartner and CB Drayton Florence have both signed with the Bills. They seem to be hole-filler, role players, replacing the released G Derrick Dockery (now back with the Redskins) and recently departed CB Jabari Greer, who will don the New Orleans Saints uniform in 2009.

And the parade has continued. Names like Lavarenues Coles, Joey Galloway, Cato June, DeShaun Foster, Freddie Keiaho… all players with some name recognition. To this point, I have been giving the Bills an “A” for effort. They’re definitely not satisfied with their roster as-is.

But honestly, I never saw this coming. Even when I saw the idea posted to the Buffalo Bills Message Boards. Even when a Cowboys-fan friend of the show suggested the possibility.

Not even in my Madden franchise.

But we have said repeatedly on the Buffalo Bills Review that Russ Brandon has done an excellent job marketing this team. He may not be a football guy, so to speak. He may not have years of NFL experience. He may not be the best candidate for General Manager of the Buffalo Bills. But he sure knows how to market his team.

You can’t argue with TO’s numbers. While his off (and on) field antics may draw the attention of the press, his production on the field has been stellar. Nine straight 1,000 yard seasons. Double-digit TD receptions three of his last four seasons. He’s a deep threat, he’s a possession receiver, and he’s just a play maker. Owens presence in Orchard Park should even land the Bills at least two more nationally televised games in 2009.

Still, you have to wonder what Marv Levy thinks of this deal.

What I really do like about the signing is that it is just a one year deal. Owens often has a good first season for his new team. Perhaps that will hold true in Buffalo.

Still, questions abound – especially from the nation media who has something of a TO soap opera fetish. How will TO mesh with young QB Trent Edwards. (When will he first complain about not getting the ball enough?) Can a team already dealing with the distraction of RB Marshawn Lynch’s second brush with the law in the past year handle the walking time bomb that is TO?

For the moment, the Bills are happy to have the chance to roll the dice.

If they do indeed get on a roll, and TO produces on the field as he has been, the Bills will not be the 25th ranked offense in the league next year. With Evans, Owens, Lynch, Jackson, Edwards and even Parrish and Reed… opposing teams will have their work cut out for them. has some great coverage of the signing. Check out Chris Brown’s article, and coming up tonight, one-to-one interviews with Russ Brandon and Terrell Owens at the multimedia page.