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Russ Brandon: Bills 'haven't been relevant for way too long'

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills have an image issue.

You know it. They know it. The NFL community knows it.

The Bills haven't made the playoffs for 13 years. They're ragamuffins on the football landscape. The mainstream media barely notice them. Opposing fans pity them.

The boffo Mario Williams signing notwithstanding, the Bills still are working on re-establishing legitimacy.

"I'm not going to look back on the last 13 years," Bills President Russ Brandon told reporters at the NFL scouting combine, "but it's certainly on the minds of a lot of people and understandably so.

"We've got to get back to the playoffs, and we've got to start making some dents into being significant and being relevant in this league. We haven't been relevant for way too long. So it's time to change that, time to change the culture."

Brandon, Bills vice president of football administration Jim Overdorf, General Manager Buddy Nix, assistant GM Doug Whaley and new head coach Doug Marrone are trying to change their image among their NFL counterparts.

The Bills also must convince agents and players it's a place where winning is possible.

"I think that's one of the things that's been very well received, just the approach that Coach Marrone and his staff have taken," Brandon said. "You know that sort of energy that he brings, that level of accountability. He's sort of a culture-changing guy.

"I think there's quite a bit of excitement, plus I think the other thing is we've got a strong roster. I know it hasn't translated to wins, but I think that's one of the other selling points about Buffalo; we have quite a few pieces in place.

"Being a part of that and understanding what it's like when you win in Buffalo, it's a pure football town with a lot of excitement that we all know about. That's very appealing to people as well."


2013 NFL scouting combine | Buddy Nix | Doug Marrone | Doug Whaley | Mario Williams | Russ Brandon
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |