Can you tell me a Buffalo sports figure, who seems to always get people talking about him whenever he opens his mouth? Yeah..I think Ralph Wilson Jr. is the answer. To me, Wilson is such a talk show's dream topic. He's a lightning rod. A riddle trapped in a enigma. A man, who everyone has an opinion about. I'll admit, at times, I'm right down the middle with him. I'm happy Ralph has never moved the team, but I kind of wish that Ralph would take steps in reassuring that the team would stay in Buffalo long after his death. Of course, there are the football matters/decisions, but I don't have enough patience to get into this today.
Anyways, recently, Ralph was interviewed by AOL/Fanhouse about the state of the franchise and the CBA Talks. Here are some of the quotes from the interview. Of course, I'll be throwing in my two cents worth of opinions on what Wilson talks about.
Ralph on Labor talks:
"I think this thing can get settled in some way. "I can't predict what is going to happen. Nobody can predict the future. I don't even know if I'll be talking and alive tomorrow. No one does. I think it's going to take a lot of work. A lot of work has already been done. But I agree with (commissioner) Roger Goodell's assessment that it will take work and sacrifices from all sides. It's so much more complicated. I used to set up my team in the early days where you set aside so much money that you expected to lose and then it was on with the season. Everyone should be heard. Everyone should participate. It's so complicated that one guy can't do it all.''
Mind of Joe: Alright, Ralph seems to be rationalizing the situation. The "I don't even know if I'll be talking and alive tomorrow" was a tad weird. However, I get the point. Everyone should be heard..and so should Ralph.
Ralph on the 2006 CBA:
"They passed out a sheet that contained financial information. It was not what I thought we were supposed to get. I thought there would be more discussion. I voted against it because I didn't understand the financial figures put out. And what I did understand, I didn't like.''
Mind of Joe: I feel this is definitely vindication for Ralph. I'm sure most Bills fans can flashback to 2006, and the interview Ralph Wilson had after the CBA was signed, in which he stated that he "Didn't get it." Talking heads and fans ridiculed Ralph for being senile and not understanding the deal. Well, well, well..5 years later that same deal that Ralph vetoed against, has been thrown out, because the owners screwed themselves. Good for Ralph.
Ralph on getting a deal done:
"We want, the NFL wants for everybody to make money, although I did not get into this league all those years ago just for that,'' Wilson said. "I want a fair deal to the clubs, the players, the fans, the media, everyone. A fair agreement."
Mind of Joe: I mean, what's fair is fair, right? However, a fair deal for the...media? What the hell do they have to do with it? Does Ralph want to give them all you can eat buffets in the press box? Closer parking to the stadium? Never having the coach leave a press conference early? No Super Bowls in cold cities?
Ralph on the state of the franchise:
"I've made a lot of mistakes with my team in the last 10 years. "I think I'm rectifying that. We'll see. We almost won some games last year against teams that were certainly more talented than us. Buddy, the scouts, the coaches, they are working. I know it's not going to be an instant turnaround. I think it will take two or three years to have a playoff team -- and that's if we get a quarterback.''
Mind of Joe: I guess it's safe to say that Ralph Wilson isn't a fan of Ryan Fitzpatrick. This is the 3rd time Wilson has been on record for wanting a QB. I've said it before, I agree that the Bills should look for a franchise QB, but I don't want them to reach for one. If Ralph is pressuring them to find a QB, I'm not exactly thrilled with that notion. Look for the best player available. Even still, you can't ignore what Ralph is saying in all of this. Maybe he's just throwing mixed signals to the public, in order to make other teams think we are going to draft someone like Newton in the 1st round, only to then trade out of it. Of course, the Bills are no strangers for using 1st round picks on QBs. It may not seem like a lot, but since 1983, the Bills have used 4 number one picks on a QB (Jim Kelly, Rob Johnson, Drew Bledsoe and JP Losman.), which is tied with Tampa Bay for the most 1st round picks used on a QB during that period of time. Sure, it may not be up to par with the Bills selections of corners and safeties in the 1st round (8 since 1990), but it's a trend that shouldn't be ignored. Ralph likes picking the same type of needs. That's why the Bills haven't selected a linebacker in the first round since 1987, but have selected four running backs in the first round since 1997. Ralph likes his trends is all I'm saying. On a side note, at least he's acknowledging that the Bills are 2-3 years away from being a playoff team, which is definitely the case.