By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The narrative that the Patriots have had an easy ride through the AFC East over the course of Tom Brady’s career has been overblown at times. But the team has certainly benefitted from the Buffalo Bills’ inability to get out of its own way as an organization.
The dysfunction in Buffalo has been apparent since before Terry Pegula bought the team in 2014 for a reported $1.4 billion. But since Pegula took over, it’s become pretty clear that he and GM Doug Whaley are not on the same page.
That didn’t stop Pegula from declaring the exact opposite in an interview with the Associated Press. When asked about the team’s critics questioning the direction of the organization, Pegula denied that there are any serious internal problems.
“There’s no dysfunction. Everybody is on the same page,” Pegula said. “We’re busy busting our asses.”
Apparently, now-former Bills head coach Rex Ryan was not on that same page. He was dismissed after less than two seasons with the Bills, and the decision apparently came directly from Pegula with no input from Whaley. The GM told reporters in a Monday press conference that he was “not privy to the conversation” that led to Rex’s ouster. Whaley repeatedly described the team’s decision-making process as a “committee approach” involving himself, president Russ Brandon, and the owners – even though he had basically admitted that he had no say in neither the hiring nor firing of Rex Ryan.
Whaley does not appear to have much power in the Bills organization, even though he’s the GM. The Pegulas, which includes both Terry and his wife Kim, appear to be making the big football decisions, despite being more businesspeople than football people. And they’re making Whaley take the heat for it with the media. That unequivocally does not sound like a functional organization.
This has sparked confusion among the Bills media, driving one reporter to essentially turn into the Bobs from Office Space and ask Whaley what, exactly, he does there. Whatever kind of decisions Whaley is allowed to make, it does not seem like Pegula is letting him make enough of them.
From the outside looking in, it appears that the Bills would be better off if the Pegulas stopped meddling with football decisions and let Whaley do his job. Not that Whaley has done a great job drafting players and making the other decisions that he has actually made himself – but he does not seem to have the kind of freedom you’d expect with the top football guy in an organization.
Pegula could start with letting Whaley pick the next Bills head coach and quarterback. But considering the obvious dysfunction within – and Pegula’s outright denial that it exists – don’t expect the Bills to be any more functional in the near future. That will only help the Patriots more.
MORE: Will Brinson of CBS Sports talked about the dysfunction within the Bills and other teams around the NFL with Toucher & Rich on Tuesday. Listen below:
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.