Friday, March 16, 2012

Super Mario's arrival in Buffalo could be a turning point in franchise history

Ralph Wilson apparently was in a jovial mood after spending $100 million to land free agent defensive end Super Mario Williams yesterday.

“I didn’t give a damn about the money,’’ the Bills owner told talented Buffalo News reporter Mark Gaughan over the phone from his suburban Detroit home. “I can’t take the money with me.”

Bully for Ralph.

This was just the type of bold move the Bills needed to make to show their fans and the NFL that they truly are committed to ending their 12-year playoff drought.

The addition of this freakishly talented, 6-foot-6, 290-pound defensive end to a line that includes impressive sophomore Marcell Dareus and Pro Bowler Kyle Williams will give Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a reason, in addition to so-called poor hotels, for not wanting to visit Buffalo on Sunday afternoons in the fall.

Williams, 27, is an elite pass-rusher in the prime of his career and the first true defensive game-changer this team has had since Takeo Spikes arrived from Cincinnati nearly a decade ago. It would be great if Williams has the kind of immediate impact Bryce Paup had when he came over from Green Bay in 1995 and recorded 17.5 sacks en route to NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. But a more likely scenario will see teams having to pay so much extra attention to Super Mario that other Bills will be piling up the sacks.

As far as personnel arrivals in Billsland, none will ever top the coronation accorded to quarterback Jim Kelly following the folding of the USFL in 1986. And the blockbuster trade for Cornelius Bennett midway through the following season remains the most impactful defensive acquisition.

But this landing of Super Mario could wind up being nearly as huge as the Bennett trade if the big guy builds on what he’s accomplished so far.

Kudos to the Bills for recruiting him the way they did and kudos for Wilson for not worrying about signing that huge check, which includes $50 million guaranteed.


After watching Syracuse struggle against UNC-Ashville yesterday, I’m thinking there’s a good chance the Orange could be won-and-done in the tournament following tomorrow’s game against a superior rebounding Kansas State team. They’re going to need to start well and really crash the boards if they are to advance to the Sweet 16 next week in Boston.

I try to be apolitical in this blog, so you can draw your own conclusions depending on your party affiliations, but President Obama was 14-2 with his NCAA predictions after Thursday’s games.


Good luck to all my St. Bonaventure alumni friends this afternoon as your alma mater takes on heavily favored Florida State. Your Bonnies clearly have been one of the feel-good stories of this post-season. With an enrollment of just 2,000 students, Bonaventure is the second smallest school to make the 68-team field. But David-slaying-Goliath stories have happened numerous times in the NCAAs and is a huge part why the tournament has become immensely popular.

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