1 – Why Bill Polian knows Bills are ‘on the right path’
Bill Polian knows a thing or two about building a successful football team.
The Hall of Fame executive built a near-dynasty in the early 1990s, constructing a Bills team that appeared in four consecutive Super Bowls from 1990-1993. He then took the reins of the expansion Carolina Panthers, leading them to the NFC Championship game in 1996, their second year of existence. The six-time NFL Executive of the Year finally got a Super Bowl ring in 2007 as the general manager of the Indianapolis Colts.
When Polian thinks that a team is headed in the right direction, they likely are. During a recent appearance on One Bills Live, the current ESPN analyst expressed his excitement for the Bills’ future.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Polian said. “When we went through the growth process, we weren’t a four-time Super Bowl team right off the bat. It takes a while. There’s nothing but good things happening [in Buffalo] from my perspective.”
Polian has been a vocal supporter of Josh Allen for some time, even stating that the quarterback will eventually turn the Bills into a “Super Bowl contender” after the 2018 draft. Polian is also confident in Buffalo’s front office, and he’s often in contact with head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane.
“I reach out every once in a while,” Polian said. “I talked to Sean recently, just wanted to congratulate him on how things were going. From just one man’s perspective, just say ‘Hey, things are headed in the right direction. Don’t be discouraged.’ Not that he ever is. Just keep working, you’re on the right path, and to me that’s pretty obvious.
‘The record doesn’t always indicate what’s been going on. If you look at how the team played [against the Jets], you look at how they play against New England, they’re really playing hard. They’re playing smart.”
2 - Kyle Williams nominated for Art Rooney Award
Buffalo defensive tackle Kyle Williams has been nominated for the NFL’s fifth annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, the league announced last week.
The accolade, which was created in honor of Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney Sr., is awarded to the NFL player who best epitomizes sportsmanship each year. Luke Kuechly, Frank Gore, Charles Woodson, and Larry Fitzgerald have won the award in years past.
The winner will be announced during a ceremony on Saturday, February 2, one night before Super Bowl LIII. The NFL Foundation will donate $25,000 to the winner’s charity of choice.
Williams’ recent nomination is a testament to his ever-lasting sportsmanship and skill. The 35-year-old has been nominated for the award before, chosen by Buffalo as its representative in 2016.
Over the past few seasons, Williams has developed into the face of the Bills’ defense, a lead by example tackle who Buffalo’s defenders rally around on and off the field. The 13-year veteran has become known for his powerful pregame speeches in which he readies his teammates before they head out for battle.
Williams would become the first Bill to win the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, should he eventually receive the honor. The eight finalists will be named when the NFL releases its Pro Bowl rosters later this year.
3 – Stephen Hauschka the NFL’s best kicker thus far
You know a kicker is elite when his nickname is centered around the word “money.”
Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka, affectionately referred to as “Hausch-money” by the Buffalo faithful, has been about as consistent as a kicker can be since arriving in Orchard Park last season. The Needham, MA native finished the 2017 campaign with a field goal percentage of 87.9 while also sinking all 29 of his extra point attempts.
Though some questioned whether or not it was even possible, Hauschka has actually improved in the 2018 season. Through ten games, the 33-year-old has made 15 of his 16 field goal attempts, good for a completion percentage of 93.8. His lone miss came on his first attempt of the season.
According to Pro Football Focus, Hauschka has been the most effective kicker in the NFL thus far. The veteran placekicker boasts an overall grade of 83.8 through Week 10.
Hauschka is coming off what was arguably his best outing of the 2018 season. In Buffalo’s Week 10 win over the Jets, he was true on two field goal attempts, one of which was from 54 yards out. He also sunk all five of his extra point attempts en route to the 41-10 win. Hauschka earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors in the victory.