Buffalo Bills’ fans have heard “There is always next year” too frequently but this time around it seems different.
When the Buffalo Bills were leading 16-0 over the Houston Texans, “Wife” decided it was time to begin analyzing the possible outcomes of the other game and it’s impact on potential match ups for the Bills.
When I was invited to join in, “Wife” was stuffed at the line of scrimmage aggressively.
“Homey don’t play that!”
The polite follow up simply indicated that I was not comfortable looking ahead even when the Bills destroyed the Raiders 51-3 in the AFC Championship Game. Not until the clock read zero and the Bills were dancing on the sideline.
“Do you know what time it is? It’s showtime.” The celebration many years ago is legendary. I have been burned so many times that I never am complacent or content with the score. I always know that comebacks happen. I attended the Comeback Game against the Houston Oilers and almost left before the comeback began. I have watched New England ruin weekends as the Bills have blown leads. I was certain the Bills had Tennessee beat before the Music City Miracle began.
“Wife” started to appear uneasy as things unraveled against the Texans. The next thing you know “Wife” turned into a nervous wreck as we found ourselves needing to come from behind to force overtime.
The defense also gave them a chance to score and win but it did not happen. Houston proceeded to kick the winner safely on an early down avoiding any extra chances at turnovers. They also possibly paid attention as Buffalo took major losses in field position due to penalties and sacks. One minute you could be staring at a long field goal and the next you are punting or going for a 4th and extremely long.
“Wife” solidified herself as a true Bills fan. She was extremely disappointed following the game. She hurt on a personal level. She has invested time and emotion in to this rebuild from day one. She may not have followed the team during the great drought to the level of many as she lived on the west coast for a decade.
“Wife” did not come from a background where everything revolved around the Bills. I felt bad for her when she actually told me she was feeling extremely sad Saturday night. I guess when she traveled to London to see the Bills lose to Jacksonville I assumed it was just part of the “vacation”. I did not see it happening. “Wife” had me thinking she thought the sport was OK. I figured sneaking in the playoffs in year one of the process had snagged her attention. I guess I assumed that if I were out of town or simply not at home, she would quickly revert back to watching the Hallmark channel. Maybe Lifetime. She then would check to see the score of the game.
Not the case. She watches Bills news regardless of what or where I am. She has her Bills attire on and the correct channel on in advance every Sunday all season. She knows when a game is flexed before many. No Hallmark channel on game day. Not even at half time. She is catching up on what else is happening around the league. Especially in Boston.
Not the case. She somehow without me noticing evolved in to a die-hard Bills fan. She feels the disappointment and heartache. “Wife” had become a lifetime member of the Bills Mafia without me even noticing. She blends right in with the thousands and thousands of fans and by no means is out of place. She asks extremely intelligent football questions and understands the game or notices where improvements need to be made. She feels the pain. Is she going to lobby to join the fantasy league that our commissioner started in 1997? Pump the brakes. I think Sly Stallone had the really bad, yet so appropriate one liner in the not-a-classic-or-even-close-1986-movie, COBRA. “This is where the law stops, and I start.”
To “Negative Stanley” I simply remind him before his rant begins that I did not say the Bills had me at hello. I did not suggest the Bills make me want to be a better person. I simply feel like the rebels did in the odd number movies in the original Star Wars trilogy. A New Hope.
I recognize sounding redundant in proclaiming, “There is always next year.” But there is. The irony is that I actually am sincere in that proclamation. Thank You Bills.