Make no mistake about it – the Buffalo Bills are losers. Sure there will be all sorts of press about how a young and injury-riddled team almost pulled off the biggest upset of the season, how they played an excellent game and how they may not be as bad as everyone thought, but in the end they are losers. You know it. I know it. Losers.
There are no “almost winners” in the NFL. There is no prize for second place. The only way you can be remotely happy about last night’s disaster is if you bet on Buffalo and got points – then you made some money. Too bad they don’t determine league standings on bookie payouts.
What you’re certain to hear about is how long-suffering Buffalo fans once again were emotionally brutalized by their team at the hands of America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys. It’s an easy story for national reporters to write – a bunch of blue collar bumpkins from the frozen wasteland of upstate New York get all excited to see their team bring home the glory only to suffer yet another soul-crushing defeat. You’ll see comparisons to the four Super Bowl losses, the Music City Miracle, and if you’re lucky, the Dallas “No Goal” goal.
You’ll see people falling all over Tony Romo, the next Bret Favre, and watch him ride off into the sunset a happy man despite his 5 turnovers. They’ll call it resiliency, but I’ll be blunt – he sucked and was handed the win by a bunch of expert choke artists. Nonetheless, there he was, smile and all, being interviewed at the end of the game – “I’m going to Disney World” (and I’m going to jump off a bridge). He’ll be doing Pepsi commercials on his bye week and the Bills will be figuring new ways to suffer painful defeats.
When you talk with other Bills fans you’ll hear from the blindly optimistic masses about how well the defense played, how encouraging their intensity was, how this was a game for which we should be proud, how we could have easily been 3-2 at this point in the season. To these people I say, wake up – accept reality. The Bills are not 3-2. Failing to win games that should have been won is not encouraging. Intensity and heart mean nothing at the end of the day if they don’t translate into wins. Stop accepting mediocrity and making excuses – we all deserve better.
If you live outside of Buffalo you’ll be asked how in the world the Bills could have lost that game – how they could have blown so many chances. As if losing isn’t bad enough, explaining the shortcomings of your team to every Patriots fan in town is what you’ll be doing. It’s enough to make you want to drink a tall glass of Draino.
The worst part about it all is that there are no good answers as to why the team blew it. As far as I can tell, it was just destiny that the Bills would lose – that same destiny that plagued the Bills in week 1 when they lost on another last second field goal to Denver. 5 weeks into the season and the Bills have lead two games up until the only point where it mattered – the final score. Simply unfathomable.
So how did it all go wrong?
Was it the interception Trent Edwards threw as the Bills were about to score in the fourth quarter? Up by 8, if the Bills put ANY points on the board they are up by two scores. The Bills were so deep in Dallas territory that even a sack could have kept them in field goal range. Instead, the rookie does the only thing he can’t allow to happen – he throws a horrific interception that robs the Bills of points and puts Dallas in scoring position.
Was it that the Bills couldn’t sustain a drive to put the game away after collecting a 5th interception?
Was it that the Bills had no downfield passing game and their best player, Lee Evans, became the invisible man yet again?
Was it that a worn out Bills defense couldn’t stop a long drive that ended in a touchdown for Dallas?
Was it when Terrence McGee failed to capture a game-clinching 6th interception that hit him right in the chest?
Was it was the failure of the Bills to end the game by collecting an onside kick? None of the Bills even touched the ball on a kick they knew was coming and had to recover.
Was it giving up 2 small but critical sideline passes at the end of the game that put the ball in field goal range for Nick Folk?
Pick your turning point, pick your moment of meltdown – any of the above actually explain where the wheels came off the cart. Any of these are unforgivable – simply unforgivable.
So here we sit and listen to how the Bills needed to execute “one more play”, how crushing this defeat is. I’m tired of it. Sick and tired of it. I feel sick to my stomach and my head is pounding.
I don’t want to see a bunch of guys snatch defeat from the jaws of victory multiple times every season. I don’t want to wait until next year to have a squad that might just squeak into the playoffs (but probably not – that’s a few years away). I don’t want to hear how great Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Teddy Bruschi and Bret Favre are. I don’t want to be pitied as a long-suffering loveable loser. I don’t want to be mocked for wearing my Bills hat or jacket. I don’t want to wait for Ralph Wilson to die and see the Bills move out of town. I don’t want to be a loser anymore.
As a fan I feel like I’m holding up my end of the bargain. I buy tickets and go to games. I buy merchandise. I am a card-carrying member of the Bills Backers. I am raising my kids to be the next generation of fans (child abuse, I know). I cheer with all my heart and watch every game.
But what have the Bills done to hold up their end of the deal? They’ve gone 7 seasons since going to the playoffs. They’ve put me through some of the worst defeats a football fan would ever want to see. They’ve made me, and the rest of their fans, the laughingstock of the league – a bunch of followers too stupid to know when to give up and stop the pain. They’ve made Bills fans settle for losses as long as “they played well”. They’ve made us comfortable with a mediocre product year after year.
I know I’ll be doing some serious soul searching during the bye week, as will many other fans. I can only hope that the Bills organization does the same and doesn’t come out with same tired old excuses about playing a heroic game and just needing to make a few more plays – that’s just not cutting it anymore. Enough. No Mas. We all deserve more.