The 2013 Buffalo Bills look to begin the long battle of the NFL season this Sunday against their hated AFC East rivals, the New England Patriots. Although times have changed with a new team and a young front office, some things for the Buffalo Bills and their fans haven’t changed.
The Buffalo Bills may be a young squad but the team and city are no rookies when it comes to football. Football has been around Buffalo since before the AFL/NFL merger in the 70’s; football has been here since the early 1900’s. No season has been more important than this season for the Buffalo Bills; our hopes and dreams truly are invested into this team.
For those of you who are not Buffalo Bills fans, you may laugh or judge, believing that this article is an exaggeration.That this must be a joke coming from a shit franchise who hasn’t made the playoffs since 1999, let alone break 500. since 2004. I understand the skepticism. Unless you’re from or have ever lived in Buffalo, you just can’t understand.
When I say football has withstood time, I meant to say that the Buffalo Bills have withstood time. Buffalo has withstood time. This city is this team and nothing, not even Canada or Jerry Jones, can take that from us. We have withstood almost a century of wars overseas, a struggling economy, segregation, and whole scale riots. We have withstood Rob Johnson. We have withstood Doug Flutie. We have withstood J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mike Mularkey, Greg Williams, Chan Gailey.
We grew up playing in the blistering cold of the Rockpile, watching O.J. Simpson electrify defenses with his combination of speed, finesse, and pure power. We watched Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, and Andre Reed dominate defenses. Believe me when I say dominate; we made teams look stupid bad on national television.
Sometimes we forget what this city has gone through as we focus too much on the times at hand. We forget the fact that if our city is still here, then our Buffalo Bills are here. We become skeptical from having dreams shot down and hopes lost in an abyss of embarrassment and deceit. This city needs to see the vision that this 2013 Buffalo Bills team brings us.
This young team is the start to something new. I can feel it when I walk outside and see a “Recharged” Buffalo Bills magnet on the back of a car, I can feel it when I go to the local bar at Coughlan’s in Fredonia, where the owners and older townspeople tell me about the good ol’ days. They joke, laugh, and tell stories as they point to the Buffalo Bills memorabilia and autographed jerseys hanging around the bar signed by Buffalo Bills legends and Hall of Famers. I can feel change.
Even with the doubters who talk about the Buffalo Bills are a young team with a new head coach and coaching staff, who criticize about how our best safety wants to be traded, they don’t realize the overwhelming truth of the matter. Football is not new to us. The Buffalo Bills are not new to football or adversity, we wrestle with it each and every year, we welcome the challenge. This year we are moving forward. It might be an inch here or there, but don’t forget that football is a game of inches. We have fought time with tooth and nail. There’s no way the pressure of the NFL can even come close to such a battle. We will find a way to win.
Even with a young team and new coaches, I expect to see a change from years past. This season will be full of ups and downs but the Buffalo Bills will find a way to grow from this season. The hopes and dreams of a city rest with the 2013 Buffalo Bills.