by Mario "Game" Granata
With the Buffalo Bills ready to come back to camp, and fresh off the 25th Anniversary of the debut of Major League, there are some striking similarities between the Bills and the ragtag group of players that were brought in to play for the Cleveland Indians. See who matches up with their movie counterpart.
As we all know in the world of sports, comparisons are made everyday. Previous players and teams are always measured against their predecessors, and trying to provide a comic twist to the 2014 Buffalo Bills, and off the heels of the 25th Anniversary of the blockbuster Major League, there are some players on the Bills who have Major League counterparts. Now, on the surface, some might ask, as they did in the movie, "Who are these %$#&*&^ guys?" Well, Hashtag Sports will hopefully shed some light on the crossover. Now, early in the film, the new owner Rachel Phelps played by Margaret Whitton spoke of the futility of the Indians, especially over the past 15 years. We here in Buffalo can surely relate. If the 2014 Buffalo Bills were cast in the remake, who would they play:
Eric Wood as Jake Taylor: As important as a position as the catcher is in baseball, the center is a vital piece of the offense. In fact, if you look closely, down the center of any sport, the players that patrol the middle are always vital: Center, Quarterback, Running Back, Middle Linebacker, Safety in football: Center, Point Guard in basketball: Catcher, Pitcher, Center fielder in baseball: Center and Goalie in hockey, etc. Jake Taylor was an All-Pro player who had some problems with his knees, and with the injuries that Eric Wood had sustained, it was an easy comparison. Especially the fact that Taylor had to groom a young fireballer in Ricky Vaughn, Wood has to ease the transition of EJ Manual as he goes into year two.
Stevie Johnson as Willie Mays Hayes: Flash, speed, and talent that was not heralded coming out of the draft, Stevie has been a lightning rod for the Buffalo Bills, and although he didn't have to run his 40 in his pajamas as Wesley Snipes did in the original movie, he is definitely the perfect player to play Willie Mays Hayes. We saw a transition from Major League to Major League 2, as Hayes was played by Snipes to Omar Epps, and his character "beefed up last winter" hopefully we can see a new and improved Stevie when he hits the field for the 2014 season. Say hey, Why so serious?
Mario Williams as Pedro Cerrano: Big, imposing, and intimidating. All words that can be used to describe both of these monsters. Cerrano came to the Indians as a character that no one really understood, and with the contract that Williams received, not many Bills could comprehend that much cash, but the fact remains that both of these players were productive when they took the field. There hasn't been any reports if Williams has a bottle of rum and Jobu in the locker room at One Bills Drive, but Williams was quoted in saying "Right Tackles I like very much, but cut blocks, knees are afraid." All we as fan can say is forget Jobu, Mario, do it yourself.
Kiko Alonso as Ricky Vaughn: Now, I know the logical comparison would be to cast EJ Manuel as Wild Thing, but due to the play on the field of Alonso, and the birth of the Legend of Kiko, it was an obvious to pick Alonso as Vaughn. Kiko brings his own 'swag' to the field, and when he was drafted there was some question to his background and off-the-field behavior, like Vaughn, but make no mistake, he is the straw that stirs the defensive drink. Not sure if the California Penal League is like the Pac-12, but then again, it might be. Who knows?
Tom Brady as Clue Haywood/Jack Parkman: You could really make the argument for Brady to play either of these characters in either Major League or Major League 2. Every story needs an antagonist, and for the past 15 years, Tom Brady has been the dagger that has been shoved into the collective hearts of Bills fans. Heywood playing for the Yankees, there have been comparisons of the Patriots, and jack Parkman does his shimmy that makes everyone in Cleveland puke. Well, when Bills fans see a guy in Brady that has commercials for Ugg Boots, I think I speak for the fan base of the Bills, that it makes me sick as well.
Mary Wilson as Rachel Phelps: With the unfortunate passing of Ralph Wilson, his wife Mary, is now the controlling owner of the Bills. In the film, Phelps was trying to put a team together to be bad enough to move the team, and this is in stark contrast to Mary, who is exploring options for the Bills to remain in Buffalo, and although the jury is still out on where the Buffalo Bills will end up, Phelps was a galvanizing force for the Indians, and they started to win. No word yet if the Bills will be traveling by bus to their away games, but we can only hope that the Bills will start to become winners in the NFL and keep the team here in Buffalo.
Jim Schwartz as Lou Brown: Can you just imagine the call from Whaley to Schwartz asking if he wanted to be the Defensive Coordinator of the Bills and Schwartz replying with, "Let me call you back, I got a guy on the other line about some whitewalls." With the current state of the Buffalo Bills, and the image that is portrayed around the league, it wasn't the sexiest job in the NFL, but hopefully with the experience that Schwartz has a Head Coach, maybe he can inform Marrone about some pitfalls to avoid. Lou Brown was a fiery coach, and with the episode that occurred between Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh, we see that he has the same fire as well.
With the uncertainty of the Buffalo Bills going into the 2014 season, there are some comparisons that are made back to the blockbuster hit, Major League released 25 years ago. Will the Bills capture the division and/or go back to the playoffs this year? Only time will tell. But, like the Indians did in the movie, there is only one thing left for the Bills....win the whole $^%#$&* thing.