After winning the 2016 offseason, the Buffalo Bills were considered the heavy favorites to repeat as champions in the 2017 offseason. The reason being mostly because all a team needs to do to win the offseason is to have their head coach declare that they did the way that Rex Ryan did last season. With no games played in the offseason how could one argue with that type of statement?
First, if you missed Rex's quote last season about winning the offseason your winter hibernation must have lasted extra long, or possibly you missed it because you were busy trying to figure out ways to end up on a Bills related Deadspin video. Either way, as reported by ESPN.com Rex Ryan said:
"I'm excited about this team, Obviously a lot of things have to happen, and we're a month or so away, but I told our players today to 'win July.' We won the offseason. I would challenge any team. I think we've won the offseason."
So there you have it. Rex challenged the league and the other coaches were either too cowardly or too smart to challenge him. The reason the Bills were considered the heavy favorites to win the 2017 offseason is because as the "defending champions" you know the media was going to give new head coach Sean McDermott the first crack at declaring his team the winners of the 2017 offseason. According to Pro Football Talk when asked about it McDermott said:
“I don’t know if we’ve won the offseason. I’m not into that,” McDermott said, via the Buffalo News. “I’m into the process, and I’m into where we are in our process and focused intently and only right now on that. It’s important that we win off the field first. That’s how you set yourself up to win on the field. Now we handle this time off the field with class, No. 1, and then we put in the work to earn the right to win as a football team, myself included. That’s what I expect.”
McDermott let his fetish for "the process" get in the way and he blew a chance for declaring his team back to back champions of the NFL offseason. What a rookie mistake! This leaves it up to the rest of the NFL coaches to be the first to declare their teams the winner of the 2017 offseason.
More likely than not, the other coaches will come to the same conclusion that Sean McDermott did. Making such a ridiculous comment does nothing to serve the interests of the organization and only puts a target on your back at future media appearances. Unlike Rex, none of those other coaches took the bait last year. It's probably part of the reason they still have jobs as head coaches while Rex is working for "the TMZ of sports" also known as ESPN.
So while it's excruciatingly painful that the Buffalo Bills did not win back to back offseason championships, the silver lining is that their new coach is more focused on winning in the actual season than the offseason.
McDermott's bold strategy of caring about the regular season over the offseason might seem a bit peculiar since fans were left confused about what mattered when the Rex Ryan circus left town. Only time will tell if this new strategy of being obsessed with "the process" and caring about the regular season more than the offseason will pay off down the road. Personally, I feel it might be easier to declare your team the offseason champions and let the rest of the league fight it out over the regular season and playoffs which is way more work than winning the offseason.