That's exactly what the Bills needed, an infusion of excitement into their franchise. T.O. creates a buzz, gets people talking, gets even the casual to non-fan engaged.
Case in point, I was at a popular restaurant Saturday evening when all of this news shockingly went down. I was on the phone with the guys in the sports department, checking coverage plans, trying to confirm what we had been hearing. A couple of people standing near me overheard the conversation, and it spread throughout the restaurant like wildfire. That's what T.O. brings, he brings a buzz, a charge to the atmosphere.
Is he divisive? Absolutely. Is he selfish? You bet. But he is also massive star power. For a team that is desperate to sell tickets and keep their brand viable in Western New York, the move is a stroke of genius by Russ Brandon and Ralph Wilson.
Before this, the Bills were as irrelevant as any team in the NFL, no real star power, no one who fans could relate to. That has all changed. In the opening day of free agency, the Bills saw their AFC East counterparts run circles around them when it came to signing players.
Buffalo needed to make a big splash and they did just that.
Ralph Wilson is 90, Dick Jauron is coaching for his life, the Bills are desperate and needed to make a major move, a last ditch effort to make a run for Super Bowl XLIV in Miami. This was that move.
In the recession we are living in now, the Bills were going to feel the effects of a down economy, probably more than any other team. Not anymore. Merchandise will be flowing, tickets will sell and training camp will be fun again.
We in the media have often joked the Bills have been the least quotable team since the Kelly days - and even then, the guys were not that great. T.O. delivers on all fronts, good and bad.
This is the best thing the Bills could have done. It gets fans anxious in early March and has us all counting down the day until Camp at Fisher.