The Buffalo Bills just became relevant again.

With the addition of free-agent Mario Williams, the Bills added a piece they’ve been missing since Bruce Smith terrorized quarterbacks in Red, White and Blue.  So much has been said about how much this signing means to the team, the city and its fans.  To really understand the impact, you need to watch and listen to the press conference.  Let me back up.  We’ve all seen Williams in action with the Texans and as the #1 pick in the 2006 draft you know he’s a gifted athlete.  The highlight reels of him showcase his talent on the field and yeah, it’s really fun watching him sack Roethlisberger several times!  Before the press conference in Buffalo, I never heard him speak.  I didn’t know what to expect as far as his personality.  After taking in the video, I have to say I’m extremely impressed – Mario Williams is truly a class act.  In the land of “me first” players (see Albert Haynesworth), Williams is rare.  We heard him use words like family and team.   He spoke about his teammates, even referring to them as brothers, and the accountability amongst each individual player.   Williams goes on to say, “I feel like it’s a great opportunity for myself and the team and for us to succeed and get better”.  It’s not about numbers … it’s about the opportunity … it’s about the team … and it’s about his family.  Even after hearing the negative press about living in Buffalo (poor Willis McGahee’s single life suffered apparently during his time in town), Williams came for the visit with an open mind.  He found a family atmosphere with plenty of opportunities.  An outdoorsman, Williams was thrilled to spot several deer grazing in Jim Kelly’s backyard during his day at the Kelly household.  Your ears can lie but your eyes can’t.   Williams’s down to earth mentality fits in perfectly with the community in Buffalo and no doubt he’ll quickly become a fan favorite.

This signing isn’t simply about an elite pass rusher.  Mario Williams is an elite person who, against the naysayers, came to Buffalo and saw the worth beyond the paycheck.  Isn’t that what Buffalo is all about?  When the chips are down and it seems like everyone is against you, you stand back up and keep forging ahead.  The city and its teams are constantly the butt of jokes (How many Bills does it take to fix a flat tire?  All of ‘em, they all show up for a blow out!).  The city, its teams, and its people have this “never say never” mentality.  Maybe it was just one interview, but it said volumes.   Who knows how this will alter the free agency and how others will positively view Buffalo.  I’m thinking it’s a giant step in the right direction.

The city is excited, the fans are REALLY excited and even the players are pumped.  Just one glance at the tweets from the Bills players like Shawne Merriman, Nick Barnett, Fred Jackson and Aaron Williams tell you all you need to know.  Yep, Buffalo’s back on the map … but all of us Buffalonians know we never really left.

Let’s go BUFFALO!