A few weeks ago, Cole Beasley wanted to make things clear.
When a Twitter user suggests that Beasley could "begin to realize that Buffalo is not quite Dallas," the new broad Bills recipient dismissed this idea.
Comparing things from a player's point of view, Beasley tweeted "Buffalo (Expletives) to Dallas". The recovery and training facilities are excellent! "
The bills may have preferred a less direct approach – Beasley has since deleted all of his Twitter account – but the comment was made.
In terms of the resources available to players, the Bill thinks they can offer as much, if not more, than any NFL team.
The most recent example, and according to those directly affected, is the opening of a state-of-the-art 41,000 square foot state-of-the-art sports center. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on April 12 and the new facility was ready for use when players announced last Monday the start of the team's voluntary off-season fitness program.
"I think it's a game changer for us," said Brandon Beane, General Manager. "It's the only thing we did not have, it was the highest level, and we probably went below average at best – I think clearly the best."
Work began in September as part of the project to renovate the existing 18,000 square feet for the training center and add a 23,000 square foot addition to the northwestern corner of the team's relay. At the peak of construction, more than 130 workers were on the job site daily.
The finished product left those who saw it impressed.
"I can not exaggerate the importance and significance of this," said kicker Stephen Hauschka. "It will help everyone in the building do their job better. We have tripled or quadrupled the number of tools needed to achieve the best results. … Many players have talked about this, how grateful we are that the organization is doing something like this because it is us who benefit from it.
"It helps us do our best and extend our career, and it will help us win victories on the field, and I really believe this expansion is the new face of the Buffalo Bills – a turning point for the organization. . "
A major investment
The owners of the team, Terry and Kim Pegula, have paid the bill, which is expected to be around $ 18 million.
"Honestly, we do it for the players," said Kim Pegula at Buffalo News. "From a commercial point of view, if they are not on the ground, it's not a good deal, but only to worry about the players in our league – what they be with us for a day or for their entire career – being able to keep them safe and healthy, that's something we need to do. It's something we want to do and we want to make sure that Buffalo is ahead in this area. "
The sports performance center is not the only renovation project undertaken by the Pegulas inside the team's field. Previously, the team's cafeteria and players' dressing room were modernized. These significant investments come at a time when Pegula Sports and Entertainment has retained the services of a consulting firm to examine stadium options for the Bills and Sabers.
CAA ICON is studying the possibility of major renovations at New Era Field or the construction of a new football stadium, which could be located downtown.
Pegula said the new addition will not have any impact on this study.
"We do not know yet where our study will end at the end of the day," she said. "But I think our offices will stay there, with the practice center out there, and then the training center, that this structure will remain in use.
"We still have five years left on the lease, and five years is a long time in football life. We did not want to keep saying, "Hey, just wait." There are things we want to do now. Our team has to play this season. Our players are here. We just thought it would be a bad service to continue to push that into the future, an unknown future, when we needed it now. …
"No matter what stage ends at the end of the day, I think our players and our organization will have great value from now, so it's not a factor."
Pegula saw the addition take shape from her office in the team's clubhouse.
"I saw all the steps," she said. "When everything was finished and completed, with all the material inside, I was so impressed. It did not look like something we added – like some add-ons. … There were conversations and meetings with not only contractors and architects, but also with the screening staff, the coaching staff, the preparation and conditioning staff, the performance staff. A lot of thought and strategy have been taken, and when everything has happened, you can see it. "
A team effort
To say that the project was a collaboration is a euphemism. More than 100,000 hours have been spent on the project by about 500 designers or construction workers from more than 50 companies, according to information provided by the bills. Some of the highlights include:
• A new 26,000-square-foot weight room – more than triple its previous size – that includes more than 100 pieces of equipment, including 16 complete Sorinex racks.
• A renovated and expanded training / science hall of more than 14,000 square feet, double the size of what used to be. This training room includes a 1,600 square foot recovery area and a salvage room for 700 square foot players.
• Do you want to calm down? A newly installed cryotherapy unit provides temperatures as low as 197.5 ° F (197 ° C).
• Need to warm up? The new hot yoga studio can reach 100 degrees, while the new sauna can send the mercury to 190 degrees.
• The state-of-the-art audiovisual system includes a 2,300-square-foot high-definition projection, the equivalent of 150 70-inch mosaic TVs.
• The weight room audio system can reach 130 decibels, the same as a military plane taking off from an aircraft carrier with afterburner at 20 meters. The system operates under 18,000 watts, 50% more than an IMAX theater speaker system.
So, yes, he has all the bells and whistles, but as Beane says, "It's not just a centerpiece. It is convenient.
"I think we wanted to create, at least from strength and conditioning, a clean, yet still strong piece," said Eric Ciano, head of the team's force and conditioning. "There is no feeling of warehouse. It's always an intimate atmosphere where guys work together and are not so scattered. That was one of the big goals: The guys really know each other in this room. We build the team in this area. We wanted them close and together.
"This is really related to the culture we are trying to develop here," said linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. "People think, culture, what is it? For me, it's better relationships. The more you are in this building, you work together and you get to know people, when things go wild – as we always know in all NFL teams during the season – you are more willing to stay together than to show finger fingers. It really embodies what the Pegulas are thinking about becoming this organization, and what Sean McDermott has been talking about since coming here. "
& # 39; The best in the world & # 39;
As mentioned, several people participated in the installation plan, but it is fair to say that Ciano; Chief Sports Coach Nate Breske; and Joe Collins, Director of Performance Science at Pegula Sports, took on leadership roles. The center closely links these three departments.
"This is the very purpose of what we have done," said Breske. "It's not just a weight room. It's a training room. It is a scientific center of performance sports. We are all together in this. I think this part is the most important part – that everything works together. "
"What we wanted to do was to ensure the continuity of the building as a whole," Collins said. "The investment in the locker room and cafeteria was then to design and build a world-class entertainment center."
To do this, the bills had to understand what the best in the world looked like. They sent Ciano and Collins, among others, on fact-finding missions and visited other professional sports teams and major universities around the world to discover the ideas they wanted to integrate into the new center.
"Taking into account all the lessons learned from these different environments and cultures and putting all this on the table, a consensus group is formed once we have done it … and we have (passed review) all possible scenarios and possible requirements. we need it, and we've made it a viable solution, "said Collins.
One of these ideas concerned the importance of natural light. The new structure includes 7,500 square feet of glass, both indoors and outdoors, repelling sunlight throughout the space.
"It made a huge difference," said Breske. "When the sun is at the rendezvous, we want to see it and enjoy it. It helps with the level of energy, the mood, all these things. We have already seen the benefits of these things. "
Other features of the new facility designed to help players recover faster include specialized rooms for:
• hyperbaric therapy.
• Light therapy.
• Float therapy.
• Steam therapy.
• Therapeutic massage.
• sleep therapy.
• Chiropractic treatments.
• Hot and cold hydro-therapy pools, including one that includes an underwater treadmill.
Bringing all these resources together under one roof has two major benefits for players: it saves them time and money. They are no longer obliged to travel and pay for the above services themselves.
"It's more efficient," said Alexander. "You do not drive around the city to do everything. You can come here, then go home and relax a bit. It also allows you to work and concentrate.
Alexander and Hauschka were only two of the players consulted on what they would like in the new center.
"They bring everything we need directly into our facilities here," Hauschka said. "It's such a good resource for us. As a kicker, you can imagine that my routine is a little different from some of the position players. We have a yoga and Pilates room. It's something that keeps me flexible. I raise a lot too, but I have to balance these things so that I do not get too tight. Having tools like that, having a place to work on my job is huge. "
The time of opening of the facility was also planned. The players started the off-season conditioning program on Monday, but before that, Beane used the new facility as a recruiting tool. He sent images and renditions of the installation to the free agent agent agents that the team was interested in signing.
"I have advertised it to as many agents as possible," he said. "They showed them to them, great, they did not do it, it was on them." I said, "I want you to be able to at least to be able to tell them what this new thing looks like "
"Obviously, the money and the form for the players probably count more than that, but if we can win ties because of that, it's huge." Word of mouth will have a great influence on what we have here, our goal is to help players extend their career, so you'll earn more money, that's longevity. "
That's what Beasley was referring to as the Bills versus the Cowboys, one of the NFL franchises.
"They want to go to a place where they think they can extend their career," said Kim Pegula about free agents. "They know the importance of taking care of their bodies. They are looking for a place that is important to them and have the facilities to keep them on the field, extend their career and, in the long run, earn more money as a player. The performance will improve. They will spend a year or more in the league. I think it will be a huge factor for the free agents who come in. "
The opening of the center offers another advantage: it gives players time to become familiar with the new equipment and recovery options available to them. It's one thing to have it available, but it's another to know how to use it best.
"You want to enter the season with a routine you trust and you know it works," said Hauschka. "It's a bit like being a chef. You must determine the amount of each ingredient to add. You can not have one ingredient. If you have 50 ingredients, it's probably too much, so you have to find the right number of products, and that's what this spring is for many of us. "
Throughout the installation, panels on the wall outside each room indicate the benefits of the interior. For example, outside of the hot yoga studio, a poster describes the benefits of the treatment (used as a relaxation technique, it provides a mental break and reduces pain in the body), when and where not to use and similar training options. .
"A lot of it is about education," Ciano said. "Our three departments, explaining to guys why we do it, how we do it. These signs are only one piece of the puzzle. … We guide them throughout their careers so that they can do it all by themselves. When guys build this routine, it's in their daily plan. We want to build these habits that will make them effective. "
Alexander was speaking with offensive midfielder Frank Gore after one of the team's voluntary practices. The two 35-year-old players jokingly said that they had the resources available to them now, while they were younger, they could have played until they were 40 years old.
"It's just creating that mindset of taking care of your body earlier and making it a priority," said Alexander. "Most guys do not succeed in this league, not because they're not talented enough. Most of the time, it is because they are not available. They are injured at the training camp, so maybe a young man and you miss some workouts. Coaches do not have the patience to wait for you. You can be released and bring in another guy, and you miss your chance. "
"The coach always talks about the availability of guys, it's the key to success," added Breske. "We are trying very little to help with that. We are the healthiest and happiest team in the league. That's what our intention is for this year. "
With a sports performance center that can safely be called one of the best in the world, the organization feels like a reality.
"It's overwhelming. It's amazing, "Ciano said. "I'm still trying to get used to it. Every person who has been here since she was built can not believe in the beauty of this place.
"It was designed to protect players To help these players As a player, I would like to know that the Pegulas care about me, and that my best interest is in mind .I would like to play for someone. one like that. "