The promotion of Russ Brandon to President of the Buffalo Bills has received mixed reviews in some media circles. Some feel it is a great move to put an aggressive thinker at the top and others feel that it was more for show than a real solution. Personally I feel it is a move long overdue.
Russ Brandon joined the Bills in 1997, handling sales and marketing for the team and has worked his way up the ladder. Brandon’s finger prints are all over the team’s bold move to take the Training Camp from Fredonia to St. John Fisher College as well as the deal with Rogers Cable and games in Toronto. Brandon also was instrumental with the “Business Backs the Bills” campaign of the late 90’s which changed the way the team sold suites and corporate packages.
Brandon studied under the late John Butler and also abosrbed business techniques from Erkie Kailbourne, former President of Fleet Bank, Adelphia Communications Interim CEO and a partner on the “Business Backs the Bills” campaign. Brandon also mentioned several former mentors from his past experiences, including former Rochester Redwings GM Joe Altobelli. Obviously Brandon kept his mind and eyes open during his tenure with some of the giants of professional sports and business.
Will the appointment of Brandon make a difference? I believe it will and I’ll tell you why. Russ Brandon has been quick to fix problems in the areas of marketing, sales, lease negotiations, etc. The one area that he has not been in charge of has been football operations. Certainly Russ has offered an opinion, but I believe that Ralph Wilson differed to the expertise of a Buddy Nix, Marv Levy or Tom Donahoe in the past. Now Russ Brandon has the final say on who will coach and who will play for the Buffalo Bills.
Russ Brandon is also a fierce competitor and comes from the world of athletics having played both football and baseball. Recently the Bisons held a home-run derby contest as part of the Triple A All-Star festivities and Brandon came in second to Rob Gronkowski. I spoke to Russ about it and no doubt he wanted to win the competition and did not participate just as a “name” from the world of sports as Jim Kelly and Bill Polian had.
Russ Brandon is now captain of the entire ship and it will sail or sink under his direction. It may be a “watch what you wish for”, but I don’t think so. I believe Russ has listened to the wishes of the fans and more importantly has accumulated enough experience to know what he needs to fix to return the Bills to the upper echelon of the NFL.
Filed under: Koshinski's Korner