The NFL Lockout is Over: What it Means to This Buffalo Bills Fan


The NFL Lockout is over!

I can’t believe how happy I am. I’m delirious with joy. How can something as silly as millionaires agreeing on how to split riches with billionaires make me so happy?

I guess it’s because the end of the lockout means a true love – the Buffalo Bills – will be back in my life this fall.

“Love” is a pretty strong word. To truly “love” someone or something, you have truly be devoted. You have to know that losing this person or thing would totally break your spirit. So really, there are very, very things I truly love this in this world. The list would probably be limited to my family, being a teacher, raspberries, and being a father. (Not in that order.)

There’s one more thing on that list.

The Buffalo Bills.

Now, is it the same kind of love I have for my son or future wife or parents or the rest of my family? Of course not. But it’s a love nonetheless.

It’s a love that started when I was really young. I don’t know how it started, or why it was so passionate, but it was a profound love from the beginning.

The earliest memory I still clearly have is of Scott Norwood missing that Super Bowl-winning field goal. I cried inconsolably afterwards, and then again on the way to school the next day when a big, stupid Giants fan made fun of me on the bus. (In a related story, I once punched that kid in the groin on the bus because he wouldn’t stop teasing me. The bus driver sided with me. Among the greatest moments of my life.)

The Norwood kick didn’t kill my love of the Bills.  Nor did the subsequent Super Bowl losses…including the two in which I had to watch my Cowboys-loving father and brother celebrate afterwards. Rather, the pain only made my love stronger. By age nine, I could easily rattle off every Bills starter and most of the subs. I would draw up plays that I thought would work for the Bills and try to work up the courage to send them to Marv Levy. I would re-enact every Bills game in my front lawn, tossing the football to myself like I was Jim Kelly and Andre Reed. (If the Bills lost, that detail was changed when I “played” the game.)

Sadly, as I entered my teenage years, the team hit its current decade-plus funk. Yet, my compulsion only grew. As the internet came along, I could now read MORE about the Bills and interact with other Bills fans. I could look up stats and information in a second.

Now, I’m a full-fledged Bills addict. And thankfully, the opportunity to write for BuffaLowDown came along. Now I have an excuse to ignore my screaming infant son and read and write about Bills football. It’s amazing, and I can’t tell you how excited I’ve been waiting for the chance to take BLD through this season.

So yeah, I knew going into this lockout that the Bills were and are a major part of my life. But even I’m shocked at how much this lockout has depressed me. It’s not that I blame the players, and even though I’ve sided against them throughout I really don’t blame the owners either. Everyone’s just trying to make some money. That’s America. But, man, even the POSSIBILITY of no football has filled with a pretty big sense of emptiness. (Thank God I had a son this year or I’d REALLY feel empty.)

I’ve been trying to put my finger on why exactly no football would depress me so much, and I think it’s that no football would damage my home area and state in someway. Upstate New York isn’t always the happiest place to live. But we love our football. The Bills (and Jets and Giants for that matter) mean something. It’s a way to ignore whatever political, social, and economic problems we’re having and come together and just watch some football and have fun. Football’s one of the few things we have left that seems to cut across race, class, socioeconomic status or whatever. It’s something that brings us together as New Yorkers and Americans . We all just love this game.

And “love” is the right word. No Bills football would have created a huge hole in my life. But now, the team is back. The game is back.

Let’s do this.

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