My younger cousin and I have always had a bit of an inside joke about Buffalo’s obsession with blue-collar values and old Bills greats. It normally starts with me doing like a fake voice where I go “Yaaaaaa, Buffalo fans can’t wait until Jim Kelly takes over the team and sign Chris Kelsay to a lifetime deal where he’ll provide grit, worth ethic, and the highest of motors.” We’ve added a bunch of guys to our little stand-up from Kyle Williams to Marcus Foligno. Basically, if you are high-motor white guy, you are making our list to be made fun of.
Within the last couple of years, we added someone else to the fray:
It got to the point where my cousin actually got a personalized hoodie that said Chad Kelly on the back. It was more of a gag than him liking the dude. You can even catch him commenting on the FB page about how much he loves Chad, but he’s totally trolling.
Well, the troll might be on us.
As most of you guys know, I don’t know dick about college football. I don’t watch it and have probably watched like 5 of Chad Kelly’s throws live on TV. I think it may have been when Jim Kelly was in the last row in the Superdome in a bowl game. So, I have zero insight about whether he’s a decent QB or not.
Rob Quinn and Bill Polian think he’s the best QB in the draft, while our own Rich thinks he’s not in the top 4.
It isn’t a newsflash, but skills aren’t what seem to be the biggest determinants against Chad, it is his temperament. A bar fight that resulted in him wanting to “Spray up this place”, running on the field during a HS football game, getting kicked off a high school team and getting kicked off the Clemson football team.
I can get into a defense for each of this as “boys being boys” or “Young kids are dumb”. I’ve always been the guy who has said I don’t give a crap about what a guy does off the field unless it pertains to being a racist or spousal abuse. To me, getting thrown off your college team is a red flag for me because it HAS to do with the actual football team. While you get a lot of dumb fucks doing bar stuff, what blue-chip prospect gets thrown off a college like that in this day and age? Not many.
So, what about Chad to the Bills? You could have him probably on day 3 of the draft and it would be a hell of a story if the nephew of Jim Kelly actually helped this team win games. If they did draft him late, I would probably be ambivalent about it because it’s a late pick and who gives a fuck about a late pick. However, I would also think both the anti-chad and pro-chad crowd would be driving me crazy cause we’d have a giant Twitter fight about it.
It would give my cousin and I a ton of material to make fun of the blue-collar narrative. And that’s the thing, for Chad, not only is he battling the off the field stuff, but basically what my cousin and I make fun of, and that’s the blue-collar/nostalgia act that runs prevalent in Buffalo. Not to throw too much of a broad stroke of a generalized declaration of society, but I feel millennials think the blue-collar/lunch pale ethics is passé, while the baby boomers are still holding onto Bethlehem Steel coming back.
Furthermore, you have the Kelly family who while they’re beloved in WNY and I respect the hell out of #12, but are about as overexposed as the Trumps when it comes to the public eye. Many fans are sick of the news cycle stopping when Jim Kelly opens his mouth about what he thinks at QB. I know I am. You draft Chad Kelly and it just puts the first family of Buffalo on a bigger platform, which means the nostalgia act won’t be dying anytime soon.
And what about expectations? Now, I feel ANY QB who comes here will get a boatload of expectations. The Bills haven’t made the playoffs since the 90s and every single fan and even the organization, looks towards any incumbent QB as being Football Jesus. Now, it is easy to play up the “following the footsteps of his uncle” rhetoric which is true, but I can sense that there might be way more patience from fans in regards to Chad because of his bloodline. This would be a change from the last two QBs (Tyrod/EJ), who I felt the patience by the organization and the fans was very lacking because of the desperation.
And what about his entourage? I’ve read in a few places how if Chad comes here, he’ll be surrounded by his enablers. Most of Chad’s off the field issues have come in Buffalo, so, it’s a conclusion that can be assessed based on that. It was the same that happened with Patrick Kane. I’m not sure I completely believe that because A) Enablers follow the money, so, they’ll be wherever X player goes after he gets drafted. B) it might help him if his family is around him, especially since his uncle is at One Bills Drive constantly.
So, what does all of this mean? I’d suggest if the Bills draft Chad, try and act like they are just drafting another variation of Cardale Jones. Don’t listen to the extremes about whether he’s a disaster or the next big thing. Let it play out on the field IF he gets drafted here. The Bills never shy away from guys with character issues. They have often at times showed a history of nepotism (See: Bills coaching staff from the past year). We saw once how Terry Pegula gave Pat LaFontaine a job as Sabres President off a lunch meeting that was supposed to be about concussions. Being serendipitous does happen when it comes to the hiring and drafting practices of this team.
In the end, the Bills may be more desperate to sell hope than Chad Kelly is to sell himself to us.