The Bills may have the oldest owner in the league (94-year-old Ralph Wilson), but their football decision-makers are the youngest.
According to Chris Brown of the team’s official website, the promotion of 40-year-old Doug Whaley to General Manager (replacing 73-year-old Buddy Nix) gives the Bills the youngest trio of football executives in the league.
That calculation includes CEO Russ Brandon (45) and head coach Doug Marrone (48), and was part of the team’s larger plan.
“I stood here on January first and made some promises to our fans and quite frankly to people in our organization,” Brandon said. “One of the things that I mentioned was we were going to do whatever it takes to restore the pride in the franchise moving forward. We talked about being progressive and forward thinking and attacking in everything that we do. We also talked about identifying top talent and empowering those people with making impact decisions. We did that today, by naming Doug Whaley the General Manager of the Buffalo Bills.”
The Bills’ story mentions the Browns, Lions, Jaguars, Eagles, 49ers and Chargers as being young at the top as well.
And while (the lack of) age doesn’t automatically equate to wisdom, the Bills are smart to embrace a new approach.
They haven’t gone to the playoffs since 1999, and the combination of an old stadium and the meteorological realities of Western New York make it a less-than desirable locale. Honestly, they have to overspend to get free agents to go there and freeze.
That’s going to make it harder for them to be on even footing, revenue sharing notwithstanding. Frankly, they have to be better-organized and better-run than teams in nicer locales to compete.
Replacing Nix wasn’t necessary because he was old, but simply because the Bills weren’t getting anywhere. Playing the same game as the rest of the league hasn’t worked for a generation, so trying a new method is a valid idea.