There is no way sugarcoat it: football is a brutal sport. Especially at the NFL level. With grown men running as fast they can and hitting as hard as possible, injuries are part of the game. Every year we see a team’s season derailed due to a major injury to a star player. A perfect example of this is the Seattle Seahawks. Without Russell Wilson and Chris Carson, they have no chance to live up to the expectations that everyone had for them coming into this season.
Teams like the San Fransisco 49ers and Los Angles Chargers seem to get the injury bug every season. Some teams haven’t experienced many key injuries at all. However, there is one team that has seemed to be more healthy than every other team. A team that hasn’t experienced losing a key starter to a season-ending injury in years. That team is the Buffalo Bills. Why exactly has this been the case? Why have the Bills been so healthy compared to other teams for the past several years?
Before I get into to it, let me do something real quick… *knocks on table that I’m currently sitting at* there we go. Don’t want to jinx anything.
It sounds crazy, but it’s true. The Bills have been abnormally healthy over the past several seasons. The last time a key player for the Bills sustained a major injury was possibly Harrison Phillips, who tore his ACL in 2019. However, the defense didn’t skip a beat with him out of the lineup. The last significant player the Bills lost to injury was in 2018, when Matt Milano broke his ankle against the Jets in week 14.
To put this into context: the Bills haven’t lost a key player to an in-game injury in nearly three years. It seems that this isn’t possible. How could the Bills be this lucky for this long? Or are they not lucky at all? Is it possible that the Bills or doing something that not many other teams are doing? This could be.
For starters, the Bills have one of, if not the best, facilities in the NFL. The $18 million sports performance center gave players a state-of-the-art weight room and locker room and a state-of-the-art recovery center and athletic training equipment. There is a reason why many players have stayed in Buffalo during the offseason to rehab injuries. It’s because you can’t find the facilities the Bills have elsewhere.
Another reason has been the Bills focus on their athletic training staff. Back in 2018, the Bills completely overhauled their athletic training staff. After long-time athletic trainer Bud Carpenter retired and the firing of Head Athletic Trainer Shone Gipson, the Bills brought in a new staff. A new staff was composed that included many veteran athletic trainers. Since this new athletic training staff was formed, this trend of Bills players staying healthy began.
Of course, injuries happen in football. Sometimes they are even freak instances that you cannot avoid, no matter all the facilities and trainers you have. However, it has been remarkable how healthy the Bills have been. Especially, compared to the rest of the NFL. It may be because of luck. It may be because of the resources put into injury prevention. One thing is clear, week in and week out, the Bills are healthy, and I, for one, am not complaining.