Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So Long and Good Luck Trent

In April of 2007, I was making a new beginning. I had just moved to NYC from Burbank, CA after two years of successfully negotiating myself deeper and deeper into a rut. I had moved to New York in an attempt to pull myself up by my bootstraps, and directly into the poor house. I succeeded for six months, before finding the job that landed a crippling blow to my bright hobo future.

I watched the draft that April on a huge, obscenely heavy fifteen year old TV I had bought at a thrift store relatively cheaply, and chatted via webcam with my bset friend from college. We both loved Marshawn Lynch, although I worried that it meant we would miss out on Paul Posluszny. I have rarely been more excited than when I saw the Bills leap up to the 34th pick that year and snatch him up. I pumped my fist in the air (carefully, as my room was tiny), and looked around desperately for someone to high five. At the time I was living with two artists, and it was difficult to explain exactly to people who spent time dissecting something like Bernini's "The Ecstasy of St. Theresa" why this draft was so important.

As the 2nd round drew on, I drifted away to find some Chinese food (i.e fried chicken), and received a text from my friend. The Bills had picked, and they had picked Trent Edwards. My first thought was of course: "People still name their children Trent?". When I got home I began to research this Trent person. It turns out that he was a highly recruited high school QB. Notre Dame wanted him. Michigan wanted him. Florida wanted him. He picked Stanford, and even went on to pick up a degree in something other than physical education. Even more exciting, the man I still think is the greatest head coach in the history of the game, Bill Walsh, gushed about the kid.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Down in the Trentches

It was a move that surprised many given the timing, but Trent Edwards got his dishonorable discharge from the Bills on Monday. His release is just the latest in what's becoming a regular pattern of in-season-shakeups to try and start the sputtering Bills' engine.

Head Coach Chan Gailey is taking on the look of a man who doesn't take BS, and the field was sure littered with the remains of some BS offense from the Bills in the first two weeks of 2010. It appears that Gailey watched the Bills play respectably against the Patriots, determined afterwards that Trent was the cause of many offensive problems on gameday, and decided to cut his losses and rid himself of a perceived mistake.

The cannonballs are already flying among supporters of the team. Many feel like this was set in motion by owner Ralph Wilson, and they have some ammunition in the fact that Trent's ouster saves the Bills a million bucks (only because Edwards had less than four full seasons under his belt). Others think that it reeks of managerial incompetence to sack Trent only a week removed from concrete status as "The Starter." It's true: Gailey had all offseason and then some to look at the tape on Trent, and by and large the picture was getting uglier than that Panaphonix VCR you got from the dollar bin at Big Lots.

My take: Gailey really, truly thought he could rescue Trent from the abyss. He'd done more with lesser candidates like Jay Fiedler, Tyler Thigpen, and Kordell Stewart. Preseason proved him moderately right, though there were warning signs regarding his ability to handle 3-4 defenses. It just turns out that "Gameday Trent" is a scaredy-cat, shell-of-himself player that can't play decisively anymore - at least not when the pressure is on. He became Son of Jor-On. He played it too safe for too long. When he twice threw up the equivalent of a shrug on 4th down, with the team behind late in games against Miami and Green Bay, his future in Buffalo was over.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Twin Span to Nowhere

Buffalo is largely a city of people who no longer live there. That's not to denigrate the fine citizens of the Queen City; on the contrary, expats from and around the Western New York (WNY) area identify it as "home" in a way that few other cities can boast. Ask where someone is from, and if it's west of Rochester and east of the PA state line, they're probably going to say "Buffalo." That said, the region has had its hardships. It's a tough place to make a living, and apparently an even tougher place to win a championship. Many of the best products of the area find their greatest success elsewhere - but there's nothing they'd like more than to bring that success home.

The writers of this blog are among those aforementioned expats, a cadre of sports fanatics who bleed a messy mix of blue, red and gold. Perhaps you are, too. Perhaps you're trying not to get fired from work posting for the 18th time today on The Stadium Wall. Perhaps you hit "refresh" waiting for that article on the release of Trent Edwards. Perhaps you're falling head over heels hoping that this new prospect is going to be the final piece in a Sabres Stanley Cup run. Perhaps, you're like us.

Twin Span to Nowhere is about people who identify with Buffalo, the greater Niagara Region, and to some extent Toronto (as long as they keep their football to the three-down, rouge-scoring variety). It's about hope - like the promise of that titular bridge - and knowing failure lurks with trust in another politician, another series, or another overtime. We'll be talking about some common bonds - Bills, Sabres - and our divergences. These usually concern baseball, when to pull a QB who's stinking up the joint, and the value of Tim (They Call Him Mr. Glass) Connolly. We'll all take turns writing hockey and football, and there'll be some regular segments (read:Gimmicks!) to look forward to.

Jim will cover baseball both in general and from the Blue Jays angle. We also boast a Yankee fan in Brendan, and Matt will eventually explain his obsession with the Tigers in general and Matt Nokes in particular. As we slither toward domination of this specialized market, we'll be rolling out more special guest writers and bringing more friends into the mix. It'll be like that time that you purchased a few cases of XXX on the way to whatever show that was in Toronto - except you'll remember it, and maybe you won't even regret it.

We hope you'll stick around for the melee. Welcome to nowhere.