This seems to be the offseason for press conferences in Buffalo.
By my count, we've had 5 player conferences (Stevie Johnson, Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Stephon Gilmore and Vince Young), not to mention Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey's multiple cameos. As much as I love the Bills signing players, I can live without those pressers. Cliche, simpleton questions and predictable answers comes to mind. Every time an athlete delivers one of these speeches, I get a Twitter feed of media members and fans telling me how amazingly articulate this or that player is.
Take Vince Young's presser.
I think every reporter who gets paid in Buffalo must have tweeted about being blown away because of how humble he was during it. What the fu#$ was he suppose to say? "I'm Vince Young and I'm awesome! I'm better than Ryan Fitzpatrick! Jeff Fisher never liked me because the owner always took my side. What about me!? What about Raven Vince Young?!I can throw the deep ball and run like hell...Can your Harvard guy do that?"
It amazes me. I'm pretty sure T.O. and Tom Donahoe had amazing opening pressers when they first made their way to 1 Bills Drive.
These athletes know exactly what they are going to be facing when they come through the curtain to take their place at the podium. Like Obama's aids who give him talking points before he does an interview with Anderson Cooper or whoever, the Bills PR and the player's agent are going to tell him exactly what he should say.
"Mention how you have learned so much from past failures! Everyone forgives people for their mistakes! How do you think Robert Downey Jr. or Britney Spears still have careers? Hollywood forgave them for being fu#k ups because they admitted it." This isn't rocket science and even with a Wonderlic score of 6, Vince Young can figure out how to appease the fans and media members with a few quotes.
It's like going on a job interview. It is complete BS. You just keep going on with cliches and how you are the best man for the job and you want to make your coworkers better and thrive to achieve success. If the American workforce went by what they said during those interviews, unemployment rate would be like at 1%. You are just saying what you want your boss to hear and that's what Vince Young, Mario Williams and Ryan Fitzpatrick do for the fans and media.
The press knows they are going to get bull crap responses that are just cliff notes from the player PR handbook, and yet, they act like these quotes are so telling to the public. Sorry, but they are not. Why? Because fans know exactly what these players are going to say. I knew Vince Young would be humble and you are kidding yourself if you didn't think he would be. Nothing is surprising anymore. Athletes/teams are so scared that the fans/press will sensationalize a story, so they keep their cards close to their vest. Because of the stagnant nature of these quotes, the media tries and tells us what quotes are sooooooo telling in order to make their story sound awesome. Derek Roy said that he doesn't really like when Lindy calls him out, but if you listened to the actual quote, it didn't sound as bad as what a reporter tweeted.
Throw in the art of asking questions during these pressers are also a complete joke. In college, they teach you not to ask a yes or no question. If I did that during a interview for Buffalo State TV, my professor would drop a letter grade off the assignment. Yet, that's all I hear at these things. Just stop with the statement that doesn't even resemble a question. It is just lazy.
With that, let me give you an idea about what probably goes on before a Buffalo athlete hits the stage to deliver his state of being humble, modest and great at the same time. Also, some reporter tips.
Buffalo PR rule #1: LOVE BUFFALO
Whatever you do, bring it back to WNY! Oh, so they will ask VY about quitting on your teammates? Flip the script. "I quit on my teammates in Tennessee, but had I been living in Buffalo with the waterfront, Elmwood Avenue and networking with the Bills mafia, there's no way in hell I would walk away from you guys." AWWWWWWWW, that's so sweet. He gets Buffalo and loves it! Mario Willliams wasn't just endorsing Buffalo during his intro press conference, he was practically reading a Buffalo visitor's brochure. "Make sure you mention how much you love the food and the people. Mention it twice even! Bring it up on Twitter. Tweet photos of steaks at Buffalo Chophouse!" After awhile, I start thinking that this is really just an act to make us happy. How can someone love a city in 24 hours? I've been in NYC for 10 years and I still have no clue if I like it here or not.
Buffalo PR rule #2: Be funnier than a 2nd grader
Remember all those terrible 80s sitcoms like Full House or Family Matters, and how they had the laugh track that was so over-the-top you knew there was no live studio audience. They could pretty much take the press corps. giggles and use it during a scene where Steve Urkel fell into a wedding cake for the 200th time. HAHAHAHAAHAHAH! Most of these athletes aren't funny at all when addressing the masses, but like an employee who has to laugh at their bosses stupid jokes, the reporters do a splendid job in pretending the athlete is a riot. Paul Hamilton laughing towards Lindy's lame ass jokes comes to mind.
Buffalo PR rule #3: Kiss asses
Great question! Great question! Wow. Super question. Awesome interview! Paul Peck was staking out the airport when Mario Williams' wife came into town. OH.MY.GOD! Get that man an Emmy! Get that man to a Network! Oh, he quit TV? If I ever have to live through day when a media member compliments another media member on how their breath smelled like Bubblicious when they asked Vince Young about being humbled, I'll barf. Alas, I already have the garbage can next to me ready to hurl for the next presser.
Buffalo PR rule #4: Relate to your reporter
Bucky Gleason one time wrote that Bruce Smith owed a lot of his sacks to Phil Hansen. Are you kidding? Sounds like Phil Hansen was a goto guy in the locker room. You think it was by accident that Jerry Sullivan wrote a story about cutting Ryan Fitzpatrick slack because of his injured ribs around February? Of course not. Sully loves Fitz. He's gushed about him like a school boy talks about his first crush. He didn't write a story about Stevie playing with a bad hamstring when he struggled during the middle of the season. Hmmm...maybe cause he was trying to ride him out of town for making fun of Burress? Jerry likes Fitz because both seem like highly intellectual nerds. Bucky relates to anyone who hails from the WNY (See: Kennedy, Tim). The Bulldog loves bluecollar players who are tough. Jeremy White loved JP Losman because the duo planted trees together down Elmwood Avenue. So, he loves anyone who is optimistic about life and the city...like him. See the pattern? Relate to your subject matter and all will be well. I'm not saying they won't go after a guy, because they will. However, when someone else screws up that they don't relate to, you know their venom will be a hell of a lot more lethal.