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How Much is Russ Brandon to Blame for Bills' Current Plight?


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#1 patfitz

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:11 AM

It seems for some inexplicable reason that Ralph Wilson decided to hand over the keys to the current Bills' "kingdom" to a person who has not demonstrated anything significant, short of following Boss Ralph's orders. And now it appears he is even wavering on his lone signinicant "accomplishment", by publicly acknowledging he is reconsidering the infamous "Bills Toronto" series, which on both sides of the Peace Bridge, has been doomed since its very inception. We only need to look back at his short lived stint as interim GM, following TD's dismissal, to see firsthand that Russ is clearly not a "football man"then . But exactly what is he? He doesn't appear to be a marketing genius either. He does have a resonant voice, perhaps he was really destined to replace the iconic John Facenda on NFL films. Otherwise I am at a loss?

#2 peterpan

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:17 AM

Yea, Im not sure how Russ got to be where he is exactly.  He went to SJF, and then worked for the Rochester Red Wings for a while, and somehow was running the Bills by like 35.  I can't say he has done a great job working for the Bills, but I do think he was behind moving training camp to Fisher, which is likely the lone bright spot in his work history.

#3 thebandit27

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:22 AM

What's he done?  He's kept the stadium largely full despite 14 years without a playoff berth...I'd say that--as a marketing guy--he's done his job.

He clearly has business acumen, which is why Ralph trusts him to run the team.

He's also done an admirable job of separating himself from the football side of things and putting (IMO) capable people in place like Whaley, Monos, Fisher, etc.

Brandon hasn't been in the post for a calendar year yet...let's see how the football department moves forward over the course of a few seasons before we decide if he's taking the team in the right direction.

#4 distortions

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:30 AM

The thing that bothers me most is the game in Toronto. I don't know whose doing that was, but if the Bills are truly serious about winning (like Brandon says) they would not give away a home game every year.

#5 Sisyphean Bills

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:32 AM

View Postthebandit27, on 18 December 2013 - 09:22 AM, said:

What's he done?  He's kept the stadium largely full despite 14 years without a playoff berth...I'd say that--as a marketing guy--he's done his job.

He clearly has business acumen, which is why Ralph trusts him to run the team.

He's also done an admirable job of separating himself from the football side of things and putting (IMO) capable people in place like Whaley, Monos, Fisher, etc.

Brandon hasn't been in the post for a calendar year yet...let's see how the football department moves forward over the course of a few seasons before we decide if he's taking the team in the right direction.

I'm not sure that Whaley really has that much of a GM track record to call him either capable or incapable.  He's an unknown who was Buddy's sidekick for a few years.  It's kind of like saying Robin is "capable" after watching Batman lose more fights than he won.  Buddy's record as a GM is far from perfect.

#6 RyanC883

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:37 AM

View Postthebandit27, on 18 December 2013 - 09:22 AM, said:

What's he done?  He's kept the stadium largely full despite 14 years without a playoff berth...I'd say that--as a marketing guy--he's done his job.

He clearly has business acumen, which is why Ralph trusts him to run the team.

He's also done an admirable job of separating himself from the football side of things and putting (IMO) capable people in place like Whaley, Monos, Fisher, etc.

Brandon hasn't been in the post for a calendar year yet...let's see how the football department moves forward over the course of a few seasons before we decide if he's taking the team in the right direction.

I agree with this.  Brandon's job is to market the Bills.  He has done a wonderful job.  He is not drafting players, coaching the players, etc.  And with a team full of young promising players (Woods, Alonso, Robey, and EJ (promising), this past draft was a def success).

#7 Nitro

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:45 AM

I think Brandon has done a good job marketing the fans Bills.  By playing a game in Toronto and their apathetic fans has cooled talk of the NFL expanding into that market. Genius. As a GM he was a place holder and we know he is not  football man. He has done what his boss has asked of him to do.  The Bills situation is due to the scouting and poor draft selections.  Maybin is the worst first round pick by them in decades.

#8 hondo in seattle

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:02 AM

View PostSisyphean Bills, on 18 December 2013 - 09:32 AM, said:

I'm not sure that Whaley really has that much of a GM track record to call him either capable or incapable.  He's an unknown who was Buddy's sidekick for a few years.  It's kind of like saying Robin is "capable" after watching Batman lose more fights than he won.  Buddy's record as a GM is far from perfect.

Years ago when the Bills hired Nix, Peter King lamented that the Bills didn't choose a younger, up-and-coming personnel star like Doug Whaley of Pittsburg to be the GM.  He noted Whaley had an outstanding reputation in the NFL.  Whether or not Whaley's capable remains to be seen as you say.  But he was a valid choice.

As for Brandon, he's done well keeping the Bills financially healthy - which is his job.  He now also gets to choose the GM and hopefully Whaley pans out.

#9 Donald Duck

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:03 AM

Bills are coming off the best draft they have had in a long time and the current coaching staff in my opinion is one of the best Buffalo has had in years.

Brandon is 100% to blame,

Good job Brandon :thumbsup:

#10 BADOLBEELZ

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:04 AM

View Postthebandit27, on 18 December 2013 - 09:22 AM, said:

What's he done?  He's kept the stadium largely full despite 14 years without a playoff berth...I'd say that--as a marketing guy--he's done his job.

He clearly has business acumen, which is why Ralph trusts him to run the team.

He's also done an admirable job of separating himself from the football side of things and putting (IMO) capable people in place like Whaley, Monos, Fisher, etc.

Brandon hasn't been in the post for a calendar year yet...let's see how the football department moves forward over the course of a few seasons before we decide if he's taking the team in the right direction.

The jury is still out on Brandon......but you overstate his case considerably.

Polian and Butler had a very us against them relationship with fans.   Butler wanted NOTHING to do with marketing the team.  His take was literally "if you don't like it, don't come to games" and he said as much many times on his shows.

Of course......he put winning teams on the field.

When Donahoe came in, he changed that approach to customer service.  I don't know if he hired Russ but he was behind the marketing push/regionalization.

HOWEVER......let's note that the key reason for attendance being high was the influx of then 20 something Bills fans who grew up watching the Super Bowl Bills.

THEY packed the stadium.   Marketing has helped and Russ deserves credit for helping change the game into an event.  But that has been a league-wide mandate...not just something the Bills have done.

As we are well into the second decade of fail it is getting harder to market so effectively because the 20 somethings of this decade do not have fond memories of the Bills.  

I guess what it simply comes down to is the first rule of management:    IT IS ALWAYS YOUR FAULT

And Russ may be down the line in responsibility for 14 years of complete failure on the field but what has he done to change that?   Nothing.  It hasn't.

As Sisyphean pointed out, he hasn't hired people with winning backgrounds so there is not a lot of reason to give him the benefit of the doubut either.

Edited by BADOLBEELZ, 18 December 2013 - 10:06 AM.


#11 BillsVet

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:06 AM

I'm more interested in what the team does under Brandon's watch than what he says, specifically when it involves money on players.  They didn't offer Levitre a contract, failed to come to terms with Byrd, and re-signed Eric Wood.  

While the past 14 years aren't all his fault, the Bills have been managed from the highest level in a way inconsistent with winning in the modern NFL.  I sense patience with Brandon is already waning, given his penchant for marketing talk and failing to then live up to the hype.

#12 T master

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:07 AM

View Postpatfitz, on 18 December 2013 - 09:11 AM, said:

It seems for some inexplicable reason that Ralph Wilson decided to hand over the keys to the current Bills' "kingdom" to a person who has not demonstrated anything significant, short of following Boss Ralph's orders. And now it appears he is even wavering on his lone signinicant "accomplishment", by publicly acknowledging he is reconsidering the infamous "Bills Toronto" series, which on both sides of the Peace Bridge, has been doomed since its very inception. We only need to look back at his short lived stint as interim GM, following TD's dismissal, to see firsthand that Russ is clearly not a "football man"then . But exactly what is he? He doesn't appear to be a marketing genius either. He does have a resonant voice, perhaps he was really destined to replace the iconic John Facenda on NFL films. Otherwise I am at a loss?

I'm not a huge RB fan but if he would have used a bit more common sense in some of his decisions i think things could have been much different around 1 Bills drive today & in the future . I will give my opinion which isn't worth a lot by some here !! But here it goes...

The Toronto series could have been a success if the powers that be would have looked beyond the end of their collective noses & truly done a for real search for a coach which involved the thought of all that was involved with making the team a viable franchise in the region .

At the time when they were looking at coaches to replace the Gailey regime the one coach that could have involved drawing canadian people to the games not only to Toronto but also to the Ralph would have been a Canadian coach that had won 2 back to back grey cup championships, not to mention that he had taken almost the exact path as another great coach for the Bills Marv Levy .

If you look at the path that Marv & Marc (even their names are spelled similar) took to a HC ing position it is eerily similar & if hired because of the canadian people knowing him as a CFL Championship winning coach that alone would have taken & made the Bills as their home team more readily than just a losing team from B/lo trying to make money off the canadian people, hence making the Toronto series more successful .

Choosing Marc Trestman with his NFL & CFL resume would have turned the Bills franchise around sooner, gave them more respect through out the NFL coaching circles & made Brandon look like a genius in all's eyes NFL & fans a like .

But he let his heart make his decision for him & the Bills still have no respect, are still losing, & still are not in the play offs !!

#13 PromoTheRobot

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:12 AM

I will get jumped for this but the answer is none of it. Football operations is not his department. Other than expressing an interest in signing Terrell Owens once I don't believe he's had any input on personnel moves. He's strictly marketing, until this season when he hired Whaley and Marrone as team president.

Up until this year it was Ralph Wilson who directly or indirectly affected all decisions of personnel. Ralph hired every GM and would occasionally stick his nose into draft room.

Blaming Brandon is like blaming the secretaries and janitors. He's the latest straw man invented by frustrated fans looking to blame someone.

This is the first season that Brandon actually has the responsibility we have been accusing him of having for the last decade.

PTR





#14 mead107

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:16 AM

NONE

#15 BuffaloBillsForever

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:17 AM

Russ Brandon has had his nose in the personnel decisions ever since Wilson  canned Donahoe. Brandon is an excellent marketing guy no doubt, one of the best but he has been part of the problem why the football program side with the Bills is a mess and continues to be.

Edited by BuffaloBillsForever, 18 December 2013 - 10:18 AM.


#16 thebandit27

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:17 AM

View PostBADOLBEELZ, on 18 December 2013 - 10:04 AM, said:

The jury is still out on Brandon......but you overstate his case considerably.

Polian and Butler had a very us against them relationship with fans.   Butler wanted NOTHING to do with marketing the team.  His take was literally "if you don't like it, don't come to games" and he said as much many times on his shows.

Of course......he put winning teams on the field.

When Donahoe came in, he changed that approach to customer service.  I don't know if he hired Russ but he was behind the marketing push/regionalization.

HOWEVER......let's note that the key reason for attendance being high was the influx of then 20 something Bills fans who grew up watching the Super Bowl Bills.

THEY packed the stadium.   Marketing has helped and Russ deserves credit for helping change the game into an event.  But that has been a league-wide mandate...not just something the Bills have done.

As we are well into the second decade of fail it is getting harder to market so effectively because the 20 somethings of this decade do not have fond memories of the Bills.  

I guess what it simply comes down to is the first rule of management: IT IS ALWAYS YOUR FAULT

And Russ may be down the line in responsibility for 14 years of complete failure on the field but what has he done to change that?   Nothing.  It hasn't.

As Sisyphean pointed out, he hasn't hired people with winning backgrounds so there is not a lot of reason to give him the benefit of the doubut either.

I have to be honest, I don't see what in your post contradicts anything I've said.

Brandon's job was to market the team; efforts that have resulted in building the fan base in Rochester and Southern Ontario, from which as much as 30% of the season ticket base sources.

I get what you're saying about taking responsibility; I don't, however, see how you can tie the team's on-field performance to Brandon in any significant way.  He didn't really do any football operations hiring, as Ralph was the person that hired both Marv Levy and Buddy Nix to run the team.  Brandon's influence has been minimal from that side.

I suppose, if you want to assess whether or not Brandon has hired people with winning backgrounds, you first need to determine who he's hired.  I guess you could attribute only the hirings that occurred post-Donahoe, which would include:

Levy - winning background, although not in the GM role he was hired to occupy
Jauron - definitely not a winning background
Nix - winning background with both Buffalo and San Diego
Gailey - 0.500 coach in the NFL; won some in college
Whaley - part of one of the best long-term front offices in the game
Marrone - winning background as a position coach in New Orleans; 6 games above 0.500 as a college head coach

So while it's not a knock-you-over resume of hirings; it's not a litany of losers either...and again, I'm not sure who we can and cannot give Brandon credit/blame for hiring in the equation.

#17 PromoTheRobot

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:18 AM

View PostBuffaloBillsForever, on 18 December 2013 - 10:17 AM, said:

Russ Brandon has had his nose in the personnel decisions ever since Wilson  canned Donahoe. Brandon is an excellent marketing guy no doubt, one of the best but he has been part of the problem why the football program with the Bills is a mess.
Prove it

#18 BuffaloBillsForever

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:19 AM

View PostPromoTheRobot, on 18 December 2013 - 10:18 AM, said:

Prove it

He was the defacto GM after the Donahoe firing.

#19 thebandit27

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:21 AM

View PostBuffaloBillsForever, on 18 December 2013 - 10:17 AM, said:

Russ Brandon has had his nose in the personnel decisions ever since Wilson  canned Donahoe. Brandon is an excellent marketing guy no doubt, one of the best but he has been part of the problem why the football program side with the Bills is a mess and continues to be.

Brandon had a small say in personnel in 2008; once Nix was brought on board in 2009, Brandon--to his credit--stepped back from the football side of things...he obviously realized he was in over his head.

#20 Nitro

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:21 AM

I concur with PTR.  We have no knowledge he had any input in personnel decisions.