Free agency and the draft are behind us, and, unless you’re the kind of lost soul who is already doing 2023 mock drafts, you might be wondering how to spend doldrums of the NFL offseason. The schedule release is interesting the way reading a great cookie recipe is interesting: “that sounds great, but when do we get to enjoy it for real?”
So here are a few ways you and I can turn the dead zone of the offseason into an enjoyable and productive time.
Memorize the Bills’ calendar so you know how long to wait
The Bills’ upcoming calendar can be found here, and it will offer some trickles of news and practice highlights through the early summer, but more is desperately needed.
- Rookie Minicamp: May 13-14
- OTA Off-season Workouts: May 23-24, May 26, May 31-June 2, June 6-7, June 9-10
- Mandatory Minicamp: June 14-16
- Training Camp: Still TBD but generally in the last week of July.
Search for sign ideas, tailgaiting recipes, & deals on folding tables
Going to a Bills game? Awesome. But you better be prepared to be your best self. That’s not just something McDermott says for the players. You need to begin training now. Start brainstorming ideas for a great poster. Maybe you already have a poster that gets you on the broadcast every time you go to a game, but most of us will need to do some research for inspiration. Whatever you choose, just make better choices than this guy.
Or maybe you’ve been having the same game day foods since FitzMagic was the starting QB. Let’s find a few new game day recipes during the offseason. Whether it’s for grilling at your tailgate or munching on your couch, a great new game day food is out there. The recipe below is one of our favorites, but it’s new to you.
Practice Charting Plays
This one is a little more work, but we all want to be smarter fans. If you don’t do it already, try charting plays. Tracking the time, down and distance, formation, and results can help reveal new things about our favorite team.
“Wow, they ran the ball a lot on 2nd & 5+.”
“The Bills ran 11 personnel on 17 out of 22 snaps in the 3rd Q.”
This is a good step in becoming a more informed fan, and we can practice it in the offseason by watching any game you have saved on your DVR – maybe one particularly delightful smackdown of the Patriots in the playoffs for example – and use this chart I created from Take Your Eye Off the Ball.
Artsy? Make a Bills decoration
I tried pyrography to make a Bills logo Christmas ornament once. It was a disaster.
Not Artsy? Find new memes and gifs for gameday social media action
If you’ve done some legwork ahead of time, it can be easier to own that Fins fan who won’t shut up on Twitter. Find your favorite gifs and memes and save them to a folder on your computer or a cloud drive you can access from your phone. When that moron says Tua is better than Josh, you’ll have a lightning fast response to shut him up.
Can’t find the perfect meme? Start a free account at Canva and make your own.
Make a depth chart
Try making a depth chart. This exercise forces us to really think about how the roster gets constructed and how difficult the decisions to get down to 53 players actually are. Will you choose to keep a sixth LB or a seventh WR? Which backup lineman has the best versatility? Last year, the Bills chose not to keep Rachad Wildgoose on the 53-man roster, and it was a bit of a surprise for some because he was a CB on a team that needed depth at that position. No one who had completed a depth chart of their own was caught completely off guard because they had thoroughly investigated how the team might be constructed.
Come up with better fantasy football names
How many fantasy football team names have you seen that are just “Bills Mafia,” or “I love Josh Allen”? Boring. Uninspired. We can do better.
Last year, Brandon Beane gave us a gift in drafting Rachad Wildgoose, and Bills Mafia’s fantasy football names have never been better. We didn’t get that kind of layup from this year’s draft: do not be the person who names their team “Hakuna Tenuta”. Just don’t. We do have these next few months to get creative, original, or even spicy with our team names, instead of “Bills Mafia Rulez” for the tenth year in a row. That is my challenge to you.
Is football is a dead zone for a few months? Yes. We just need to find different ways to feed our addiction, and hopefully this list will help you survive the rest of the offseason.