Eric Wood On Bills' Culture Change: "It Was Remarkable"

After a 17-year playoff drought, the Bills have made the playoffs in two of the last three seasons

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
May 14, 2020 - 8:23 am
Eric Wood Bills

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In 2017, the Buffalo Bills went 9-7 and made the playoffs for the first time since 1999. They achieved this on the final day of the season.

“It was remarkable,” former Bills offensive lineman and current radio analyst Eric Wood said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “It ended up being my last year in the NFL, and I actually played 100 percent of the snaps that season. But the Bills hired Sean McDermott that year and Brandon Beane comes in and they make these big, marquee trades.”

The Bills parted ways with some of their top draft picks in recent years, including Sammy Watkins, Ronald Darby and Marcell Dareus.

“Everyone [said], 'The Bills are tanking,'” Wood recalled, “and all we are hearing internally from the coaching staff and the management is, ‘No, we are not. We are setting up our culture. We are going forward with guys who we trust, guys who are built with the DNA that we are looking for.’ Well, we put our trust in Sean and Brandon, and guys like Kyle Williams and Lorenzo Alexander and myself were leading – sometimes with maybe a little bit of blind faith because we were new to these guys as well.”

On Dec. 31, 2016, the Bills beat the Dolphins 22-16 to finish 9-7. They needed help to make the playoffs – and they got it, as Andy Dalton led the Bengals to an improbable win over the Ravens in Baltimore.

And just like that, the Bills’ 17-year playoff drought had ended.

“I played nine years under it, and it wasn’t a ton of fun, all those losing seasons,”  Wood said. “But it was so sweet to finally get to the playoffs, get that monkey off our backs, and have the Bills fans, how passionate they are, it was fun to reward them in 2017.”

The Bills have made the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, during which they are 25-23. That is their best three-year stretch since 1998-2000, when they went 29-19.