This is the third of a ten part series dedicated to the worst moments or games in the history of the Buffalo Bills. As hard as some of these moments have been, we Bills fans wear our hearts on sleeves and consider some of these events badges of honor. Enjoy.
The 2003 campaign for the Bills was a disappointing one. No more disappointing than any of the previous seasons, nor as much as every year since. Nope, this year was all about how it started and most importantly how it ended.
As a Bills fan, it should be a “commandment” to hate the New England Patriots. Three Super Bowl’s to Buffalo’s none and complete and total dominance over the Bills since, ironically enough, 2003.
The Bills were coming off a strong 2002 season in which Drew Bledsoe put the “O” back in offense. The defense stunk, but at least the Bills were losing games while scoring in droves. It was a lot more fun to watch than the 2001 season when they went 3-13 and had no shot week in and week out.
The team and the fans were expecting a lot out of 2003 and rightfully so. The Bills hadn’t made the playoffs in three seasons and after acquiring New England safety Lawyer Milloy just five days before the season opener against the team that had just released him, the team was gunning for a prime playoff position.
When the Bills finally kicked the season off against New England, they picked right where they left off the previous year. The Bills manhandled Tom Brady and the Patriots 31-0. Sam Adams and Takeo Spikes had monster games for Buffalo while Drew Bledsoe and Travis Henry provided all the offense the Bills needed in a romp. The offensive show continued the next week at Jacksonville as the Bills scored 38 points in another blowout. Fans were calling for the scoring title.
Like many other seasons, most notably 2008 and 2011, the wheels fell off in a hurry. As quickly as Drew Bledsoe put the “O” in offense, he took it right out. They never scored more than 26 points in a game the rest of the way out. This included losses at the Jets, Chiefs and the Dolphins at home where the Bills lost in a combined score of 88-11. Poor Van Miller, the greatest man to ever call Bills games, even had to see the his team get smoked by the hated Miami Dolphins in his last time in the booth 20-3.
As a Bills fan, we often say “it can’t get any worse,” yet somehow it does. This is why I started this ten part series. Things always get worse when we don’t think it can. We thought Miami, Kansas City and New York we’re bad. Nothing could prepare us for week 17 at New England.
The Bills were already far out of playoff contention when they rolled into Foxboro. For what it’s worth, the team was mentally finished. Ruben Brown, in what turned out was supposed to be his last game in a Bills uniform, reportedly refused to play for Coach Gregg Williams. They probably had already begun packing their golf clubs and buying plane tickets for their post-season vacations. You should have pride while playing in the NFL and should try your hardest every time you step foot on the field. So what did the Bills do?
They lost 31-0. To the Patriots. Yes the same team that the Bills had defeated three months earlier by the exact same score. Patriots fans have many, many things to hold over Bills fans’ heads. This one is close to topping the list.
Sometimes it’s hard to fathom. It’s like someone kept kicking Bills fans heads in while we were trying to gasp for air. It seems like there’s been a million cruel jokes played on Buffalo sports fans for years and this one has to be one of the cruelest that doesn’t seem like it actually happened.
However; on that cool, crisp winter day in Foxboro it happened. If you didn’t watch the game and someone told you the score when it was done, you probably wouldn’t have believed them. This game was the ultimate kick to the stomach, the ultimate prank, the ultimate slimy loogey that lands in your face and the ultimate way for the team to say to their fans “we suck and we hate you.” The New England Patriots and their fans were dancing and laughing all the way to winning the Super Bowl that year.
As Bills fans we have experienced immense heartbreak before and after that game. This wasn’t heartbreak so much as embarrassment and anger toward what is supposed to be our favorite football team. As Bills Nation let’s hope something like this NEVER happens again.