Those sports teams in Western New York go forgotten too often. The market in Buffalo are small, but they hold a passionate group of fans in their clutches. Those fans express loyalty to their teams and leaders in a way that is unique to the region.

For over two decades, Russ Brandon served that cohort. The East Syracuse native held various executive roles for two "Big 4" franchises, the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bills. The legacy he was building in the city came crashing down on Tuesday.

Brandon resigns in disgrace

The sudden demise of Russ Brandon in Buffalo came swiftly.

An internal investigation was revealed by The Buffalo News involving his conduct in the workplace. Specific allegations haven't been reported or released to the public. Still, it was enough that the Pegulas immediately accepted his resignation. Whatever he may have done, it must have been damning.

His last moments as a member of either organization came just last week. The Bills drafted their quarterback of the future in Josh Allen on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Sabres won the first overall pick in the upcoming NHL Draft. Those developments suggest positive days ahead.

Then again, the two franchises have been mired in mediocrity for some time. Brandon can't take responsibility for that with the Sabres - he only joined the organization in 2015. But the Bills only made the playoffs three times in his two-decade tenure.

Still, his legacy in Buffalo is on the line.

Buffalo bred

His role with the Sabres was never as large as his role with the Bills.

With the football team, he's been an on-again-off-again de facto leader. Brandon's been representing the team at NFL owners meetings for years now. He also helped improve the team's bottom line, with the annual game in Toronto serving as an example. The move may not have been popular, but it may have helped the team stay in Buffalo when relocation rumors ran rampant.

Many fans will view his legacy negatively; a conduct investigation doesn't help matters. The Sabres' losing ways predate, him though. And the Bills went back to the playoffs this year after a long drought. Without him, the Bills might not even be in Buffalo at this point.

Whatever Brandon did wrong - if he did anything wrong - rightfully tarnishes his legacy. He did do a few things right in Buffalo, though. Whether those will be remembered depends entirely on what else this investigation reveals over time.