I caught some of Sal Paolantonio on the radio coming in to work this morning. Sal Pal was talking about some of the traditionally poor NFL franchises who might surprise this season. He mentioned the Browns, who are gaining respectability under president Mike Holmgren and seem to have found their franchise quarterback in Colt McCoy. He picks St. Louis to win the NFC West.
Paolantonio said Jim Harbaugh has instantly "changed the culture" in San Francisco and expects them to challenge for the NFC West title. Hmm. I seem to recall pushing Harbaugh for the Bills head coaching job after Dick Jauron got fired, and suggesting he would be the perfect candidate to create a new culture in Buffalo. Oh, well.
Sal said Washington can't be dismissed with Mike Shanahan in control. So a lot of the weak franchises are making strides, at least in the opinion one a highly respected league observer. No mention of the Bills, of course. It seems they're becoming increasingly irrelevant on the NFL landscape. And really, how can you can it a "rebuilding" when they never built anything in the first place?
It can be a little scary when the Bills are absent from the national discussion. Fans like to think that Buffalo is this charming NFL outpost that means a lot to the people who run the sport. I'm not so sure about that. When the team is essentially ignored in the national media -- and let's face it, when you're bad and bereft of real stars, you don't attract much attention -- it makes you wonder if the NFL people really give a damn if Buffalo keeps its team or not.
We can explore this more in the chat. I'm back today at 1 p.m. No video. Word-only event this afternoon. I'll try to go long in my best TO style.