Joe Ferguson And The Bruised Image Of The Buffalo Bills

May 14, 2022
Share

Joe Ferguson is one of the most exciting figures in the history of the Buffalo Bills. Presiding over several mediocre seasons for the Bills, Ferguson nonetheless represents the grit and determination of a franchise that has never lost its sense of pride even when down and out.

That has always been one of the things that make Bills fans unique. It’s easy to love a team when they’re winning. Still, the ability to maintain a dedicated fanbase when things aren’t going well for extended periods helps define the best franchises across professional sports.

Buffalo Difficulties – Onset

There was always understood to be potential in the Buffalo general. “As expected, he blew the doors off at the collegiate level. His “rifle-like” passing allowed the Razorbacks to push the ball downfield with unmatched consistency. Joe Ferguson proceeded to break just about every team record he could get his hands on.”

But despite Ferguson’s individual success as a professional (like leading the league in touchdowns and touchdown percentage in 1975), he would become synonymous with a team that was increasingly becoming known as a perennial loser. As a teammate of both O.J. Simpson and Joe Cribbs, he also provided a bridge from one generation of the team to the next.

Buffalo Difficulties – Continued

It may seem at first glance to be easy to write off a career like this, but it’s careers like this that can make or break franchises. The Bills teams of these years were able to weather a lot of difficulty without losing any of their dedicated fanbases. That’s a credit to the strength and the spirit within a locker room that won’t deter.

Often, this attribute begins and ends with the leadership provided by the quarterback position. Qualities that can’t be captured by a stat sheet. The best teams of his tenure were the 1980 and 1981 teams. This, I believe, is where his importance remains when thinking about the current squad.

When Josh Allen struggled in his rookie season, there was a lot of talk about how he was on the verge of being a bad bet for the team. Allen himself is a remarkable competitor who could get through those difficult moments with all of the noise surrounding him. But this is something the franchise has had to deal with repeatedly.

They’re one of the toughest franchises in professional sports, by which I refer to mental toughness. It isn’t easy to deal with a team when they’re labeled a perennial loser. Still, the environment the team has consistently fostered allows for the opportunities players need to grow and come into their own.

Buffalo Difficulties – Culmination & New Era

No one in their right mind would argue that Ferguson was the equal of Allen in any way, shape, or form, but the lineage between the two is undeniable. The lineage continues to define a franchise that has been through a long history of struggles to come out as strong as they are in the current moment.

Entering the 2022 season, it’s the Buffalo Bills that are favored by many as the best team in the NFL. That’s not something that happened overnight for them. This wasn’t the result of any funny business. There was no Tom Brady who walked into the locker room to bring the team out of the abyss. The deep pockets of Jerry Jones didn’t fork up unfathomable amounts of money to multiple players in an attempt to keep the circus entertainment.

There are also no complicated methods or secrets. The Bills did this the best way there is to do it. Through honesty, hard work, and a culture worth believing in. Few helped to build that environment more than Joe Ferguson.