It's my turn to write for the website and pretty much at this job you can write whatever you want on whatever subject you want so I wonder if it'll be OK for me to write the following column and have it suffice. Here it is:
Too short maybe? OK, I'll try harder.
You can cram every interesting angle of an upcoming NFL season into about a week but without more big-league sports around here we stretch it out to about six months, which I suppose makes Buffalo some brand of madmen on the subject. With all the talking about this season -- and in particular today's key element of it, a visit to the team just above the Bills in the AFC East, the Jets -- shouldn't we have figured out what will happen?
Yesterday on Twitter I asked if predicting the outcome of an NFL game with the point spread is any different than predicting the sex of a child. Theoretically at least half the bettors are on each side, and since there are millions of variables in any game it seems representing that you really know which team will beat the spread is, well, dumb. My wife's sister has a 4-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy, and she's due again in November. I'm thinking boy here because boy has all the momentum.
Maybe I'll be right. At least if I am I'll know that I used the proper method.
By miles the angle that Bills fans are watching most keenly is The Overall Quality of Ryan Fitzpatrick. In my opinion Fitzpatrick should avoid media-driven discussion about him this season because it will be rough -- almost no matter how good he is.
Here's why. The goal this year is the playoffs. An improved team that finishes with a winning record but misses out on the postseason won't draw raves. A flawed team that sneaks in and gets beaten badly in the wild-card round will. The clear line of demarcation for this team is the playoffs, ending a league-long postseason drought at 12 seasons.
And until they're in they're not in. Fitzpatrick hasn't merely been chosen the Bills' starting quarterback, he's been crowned. Big contract, a coach and an offense suited for his skills, even the unwillingness to let Vince Young hang around and pose a threat -- it's Fitzpatrick's team all the way.
So Ryan, keep your radio off this season. Don't read the paper. ESPN is probably OK because they ignore us anyway but that's it. Until the Bills reach the one and only goal the fans have -- the playoffs -- it may be ugly.
This is long enough now. Time to go finish my picks. My friend Kate is due in January and she only has one child so this one's a tougher call.