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Letters / Our readers speak out

>It's time for Bills to clean house

I'm a lifelong Bills fan. I cannot believe what has happened with this team. There's no cohesion. It fell apart.

Let's face it, Tom Donahoe, Mike Mularkey and the coaching staff have to go. Donahoe's draft picks have not been great, and Mularkey's play-calling stinks. Changes have to be made this offseason or nobody will care what the Bills do. True fans stick with their team, and I do, but it's been too long since we've been in the playoffs.

Ralph Wilson, you're a businessman, you know that if the product is not good, people will not buy. Well, this is going to be the case if something is not done this offseason. Save your team. The fans will be grateful!

Jeannie La Tona

Niagara Falls

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>Plenty of blame to spread around

Tom's fault? Maybe. Although Tom Donahoe must assume his share of the blame for the state of the Buffalo Bills and should be replaced, there is certainly no shortage of guilty parties.

At the beginning of the season, we were generally regarded as a serious playoff contender. The last time I checked, Tom Donahoe hasn't jumped offsides once, dropped one pass or missed one tackle. So let's see who runs for the bus and who we'll see next year.

Greg Yeates

Buffalo

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>Fans have the right to judge their Bills

I'm very surprised by the stance Tom Donahoe and the Bills have taken to anyone who criticizes the team. The team ought to stand up and realize they are due much of the criticism because of the awful performances we've seen this year.

One thing Mr. Donahoe doesn't seem to realize is that as fans, we are passionate about the team and the game. We are knowledgeable about football and certainly deserve to have opinions about the team we both as customers and taxpayers support year in and year out.

If the team were winning, all we'd be talking about is winning. Conversely, when the team is losing, there certainly isn't winning to talk about, only why are they losing? If he would like fewer critics, shut them up with a winning season.

Secondly, how many times have we heard that the NFL is a "what have you done for me lately" business? Well, what have the Bills done for us lately other than sell us a bill of goods that doesn't seem to be quite good enough each year? We buy tickets, shirts, and hats, and watch the games which generate ad revenue. We deserve to expect more of the Bills, or at least something close to what we've been promised over the past few years.

The answer for the Bills isn't lashing out at the fans and taking their signs, shirts, etc., as they walk into the stadium.

The blame for the fallout with the fans lies solely at the Bills and their management's feet.

Jeffrey Ross

Buffalo

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>Win against Bengals shouldn't matter

"Winning is losing." No, it's not George Orwell's "1984." It's the Buffalo Bills circa 2005. Even in beating the Bengals, the Bills are still losers. Why? The Cincinnati win could give false hope to some fans while improving Mularkey's tenuous hold on the head coaching position. And, I'm not implying losing on purpose.

Another painful loss would have been better in the long run. Reasons: to ensure a higher first-round pick (the only thing left at this point), and to ensure a total housecleaning of the incumbent GM/coach.

Now, if you're Ralph Wilson, should your judgment be altered by a meaningless victory? The answer is clear: sweep out the deadwood, clear out the has-beens, move out the do-nothings.

There's always next year (at least until Wilson expires). Hope springs eternal once again in Western New York.

David P. Fuit

Lackawanna

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>Slip of the tongue was no big deal

So Coach Mike Mularkey misspoke after the Denver game in his reference to the saying, "taking the wind out of our sails!" And "Mr. Perfect" Jerry Sullivan feels the need to write a whole column on that "horror of horrors!"

Sullivan seems to have built a career of doing his best to drive people out of town -- coaches, general managers, players and anyone else who fails to meet his expectations.

Sullivan seldom writes a column which is positive in nature. He seems to delight in tearing someone down. It's about time to drive him out of town!

Donald A. Joseph

Williamsville

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>Reason for failure? Lay it on the line

I've enjoyed watching Drew Bledsoe lead the Cowboys this season, proving what we always knew . . . he is a very good quarterback when he has a functioning offensive line in front of him.

I don't know if Jim McNally was overrated as an offensive line coach, or if we have just failed to provide him with adequate personnel. But as long as our quarterbacks have to run for their lives on every play, we cannot compete. And when the defensive blitzers are into our pocket in time to get the handoff from our center, then we cannot compete with Kenmore West or Sweet Home, let alone the NFL.

Our offensive line needs serious upgrading to reach mediocrity, let alone the playoffs!

Don Randall

Williamsville

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>Time for Favre to hang up cleats

I concur with Allen Wilson's commentary on Brett Favre. He should retire.

Brett Favre was never fundamentally sound. Cliches like "He has a gunslinger's mentality" or "He's got that swagger" served him well four or five years ago, but that's the reason why he's yet trying to throw into triple, or quadruple coverage. Once he was capable of throwing two interceptions, and would then throw four touchdowns. His skills have eroded to this point, he can no longer be a gunslinger, and his swagger at best is now a stumble.

Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Jerry Rice -- the list goes on of players with Hall of Fame credentials that did not exit the game until their careers plummeted. Brett should look in the mirror and realize it's time to become a mentor to his young understudy, and quit saying it's not my job to teach him, or even rebuking his teammate on his personal affairs.

He should put the team above his personal goals. The bell is tolling.

Johnny Brown

Tonawanda

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>Yankee fan should get his facts correct

I am a New York Mets fan, and I've never written a letter to the editor before, but I felt compelled to do so after reading the letter from an upset Yankee fan who complained about a double standard regarding criticism of the Yankees' free-spending ways. He wonders why the Mets or Red Sox don't get the same bashing as the Yankees for their recent offseason maneuvering.

Are you kidding me? Maybe it's because despite all the Mets' recent acquisitions, their payroll, according to ESPN.com, is $104 million for the 20 players on their roster. This is more or less the same amount the Mets spent last season. At the same time, the Yankees' payroll sits at a staggering $205 million for the 17 players they have under contract.

The Mets are as close to matching the Yankees' payroll as they are to spending zero to put a team on the field! If the Mets were to add A-Rod, Jeter, Mussina, Sheffield, Posada, and Matsui to their roster at their current salaries (about $95 million total), they still wouldn't catch the Yankees in terms of payroll. So your inane, uninformed comment on how the "Mets are close to, if not past, what the Yankees spent last season" rings even more hollow than the typical Yankee fan's head.

I have friends who are Reds fans, Indians fans, Pirates fans, and so on. When one of them complains about the current state of MLB economics, I can sympathize. The system is a complete joke. But a Yankees fan complaining is an even bigger one. That, to quote the letter writer, is "hypocrisy at its best."

Brian Lakso

Lackawanna

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>O'Connor's confidence in his players inspires

I hope Bob Liebler in Orchard Park does not mentor or coach the children in his community. I can only imagine the kind of advice he would offer them. Liebler not only embarrassed himself, but the Orchard Park school district as well. Liebler's attack on coach Bob O'Connor from St. Joe's was also an attack on the coaching community.

Any number of coaches in Western New York would have answered the same as O'Connor did (saying he thought St. Joe's could have won the state AA championship) because we believe in our players. What would Liebler have us do? Tell our players that their opponent is too tough, they don't measure up or maybe he would be happy if the kids just gave up. If guys like Liebler ever have to fight a war for this country we are in a lot of trouble. What does he tell his own kids? Don't climb that mountain, it is too high. Don't take that job, you can't do it, you cannot compete for it.

Kids learn self-esteem at an early age. They need to know their coaches and teachers believe in them. I have known coach O'Connor for 10-plus years as an assistant coach at St. Joe's and as a friend. He is a good family man as well. He always has time for a former or current player, always gives positive advice and direction whenever he is called upon.

As for the schedule the private schools "have" to play, that issue would be dead if the governing administrators of Section VI would include all private schools. As a veteran, one of the rights I fought for was that all people, schools and organizations to be included. Also for parents to have the right to choose the type of education that best suits their children and their families. The time has come to take this decision out of Section VI hands and get a bill on the State Assembly floor.

As for Mr. Liebler, the shame should be directly on you for not having a clue, and for being mean-spirited and ill-intentioned!

Michael F. Holbok

Assistant Football Coach

St. Mary's High School

Lancaster

Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or e-mail to sports@buffnews.com. Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. Submissions must include address and telephone number for verification.

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