ORCHARD PARK, NY – Collaboration. That word was used seven times over the course of new Bills general manager, Brandon Beane’s 30-minute introductory press conference, most notably in reference to who had control of the 53-man roster: Beane or Bills head coach Sean McDermott.
“Brandon is gonna have the 53,” Bills owner Terry Pegula who sat at Beane’s side throughout the presser, said. “Him and Sean will obviously collaborate on any decisions, but he’s got control.”
This is the part where everyone rolls their eyes and says “ya right, we know this is McDermott’s team, he’s calling the shots.” Perhaps that’s true. But honestly, who controls the 53-man roster or has final say in personnel decisions, doesn’t matter. What does, is the fact that Buffalo now assembled a cohesive general manager, head coaching structure within their front office.
“It’s not gonna be my team. It’s not gonna be Sean’s team. It’s not gonna be Terry and Kim’s – it’s gonna be the whole Buffalo Bills collaborative approach,” Beane declared. “I think that’s what wins. I’ve seen that in Carolina and that’s what you’re gonna see here.”
Plenty of winning organizations follow that united front office structure too. Pittsburgh, Seattle and the team Buffalo is always chasing, New England, all have it. A handful of others do as well. And the question of “who has control of the 53” never comes up in regards to those teams.
Meanwhile, here in Buffalo, it’s been a constant conversation since McDermott came on board five months ago. Call it a side effect of 17 years without a trip to the postseason. Years of botched personnel decisions and no franchise quarterback have left Bills fans burning to know who they should hold accountable when the cycle of drudgery continues. But if a cohesive McDermott and Beane front results in wins, all that “who controls the 53” nonsense will be a thing of the past.
“I’m going to be over the football side and Sean’s going to be over the coaches, but there’s not a czar around here. Sean’s not a czar, I’m not a czar. Every decision is going to be collaborative, together. I think that’s the only way. I’ve seen it both ways and the success I’ve had is when we’re both seeing eye-to-eye. Kim and Terry are going to be involved. We’re going to do this together, other people in the building. This is not a one person approach to making the decisions here.”
Chemistry certainly isn’t an issue for McDermott and Beane. It was McDermott who got Beane’s oldest son into wrestling, after inviting him to his house to practice on a WWF mat he has set up. The two also used to run together on road games.
More importantly, their philosophies on how to build a winning team align perfectly.
“When you look back at how you build a team, Brandon and I both believe in building through the draft,” McDermott explained. “[Then] supplementing with free agency and doing our due diligence on the waiver wire and trying to find any way to improve this football team.”
That doesn’t mean the duo will see eye-to-eye on every decision. McDermott even admitted as much and joked that any disagreements will be resolved on that wrestling mat at his house.
Regardless, Who wins those battle is irrelevant. What matters is that everyone within the Bills power structure is finally on the same page. That winning culture should follow.
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