I See Rex In The Mirror

Ever since I can remember I’ve been a Bills fan.  Looking through my dad’s football card collection I came across a Bruce Smith rookie card.  I can still remember exactly what it looked like.  Bruce in one of those long Bills coats.

I’ve been there through the good times, the four Super Bowls in a row times, the once in a lifetime comeback times and all those guys that would become my football heroes for years to come.

I’ve also been there through the lean times.  The losing wildly in the Super Bowl times, the Drew Bledsoe years, the JP Losman years, the years the Bills couldn’t find a win and the Toronto years.

But then the Bills hire some guy out of Syracuse and I start to wonder where it’s all headed. But it feels like things make some sense for a while and they come so close to making the playoffs in so long that hope is finally a real word in Buffalo.  That coach makes for the hills and leaves a great situation for the next coach.  

I ask the Bills upper management in the most polite way, “please don’t hire Rex.”

So here’s the thing.  Rex made his way to the Jets and began announcing as loud and obnoxiously how good he was and how soon he’d win a Super Bowl.  As we all know, that never happened.  In fact on multiple occasions Rex made himself look foolish by saying things or doing things on the sidelines that were moronic. 

He never endured himself to me for sure and by the end of his run in NY, Buffalo had his number and was pushing his team around.  When the rumors circulated that Buffalo was interested I said “no way.”

Then Buffalo gave me the worst birthday present ever and signed him.  It took me months to get over it.im not sure I’m really over it all the way.  When it first happened I thought I’d go burn all my Bills stuff in the yard.  No you don’t understand, it could have been any coach anywhere but him.

In July, on a trip to Toronto I stopped in Orchard Park and went to the Bills store.  The Bills had signed my favorite player Tyrod Taylor.  It’s one of those questions, what do I do?

Because I’m a soccer coach, the games are on Sunday at 1:15.  So I hadn’t gotten to the see the first Bills game of the season but then, then the mouth let loose.

Rex let go on his favorite talking point, the Patriots, and kept telling everyone who would and wouldn’t listen that this time would be different.  Blah blah blah.  Of course just like with the Jets, the medi picks it up and runs with it.  There’s no reason to truly believe that he’s going to beat the Patriots but that doesn’t stop the TV from putting all these sound bites everywhere.  

I hear that the players love him and apparently a lot of the fans and people in Buffalo do too.  But I still see something I don’t like.  It’s like having a favorite restaurant and then they change the chef because they say he’s a better one but yet he screams at the wait staff and does wacky things with the menu.  You want to know why the owners would go there?

I get home during the Patriots game in time to watch part of the 3rd quarter long enough to see Rex absolutely losing it on the sideline and getting a sideline warning.  Five minutes of watching and its long enough to see that the Bills have no answers.  Rex has no answers.

I see Rex freaking out on the sidelines and I think “wow, am I like that?”  I know as a coach I hate to lose.  I can’t stand to lose.  Ever since I was a kid I hated to lose at anything.  They say losing builds character but if that’s true I must have amazing character.  But I wonder when I’m arguing an offside call, am I Rex?  Am I the thing that I hate?  Is that why I can’t stand him so much?  Do I see me in him?  Granted I don’t run around screaming about how my team is going to win every game.  I just wonder, do I see Rex in the mirror?

It’s a hell of a revelation when you realize that maybe your coaching style mirrors the thing that you hate.  My players seem to like me, in fact I’ve been told some of them love to play for me.  Sounds like Rex. But then the ref goes and calls something and it’s just irrational and makes no sense.  I have to tell them that you can’t make that call.  Someone tells me I’m not supposed to be yelling at the refs.  I’m supposed to be better than that.  Huh.  Sounds like what I say to Rex.

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it’s the really high voice Peyton Manning scrambling my brain but I swear I saw it today.  It felt like a punch in the gut.  I don’t know if it will change me, i don’t know if it will change how I feel about Rex.  Then again maybe I’m all wrong and I’m just seeing something that isn’t there.  Me?  Rex?  Nah…