When the opportunity arose to be a part of the BillsMafia, I had to take the chance. I put myself out there in hopes of being added to the team and low and behold here I am. I’m looking very forward to the interaction with you all on here and perhaps someday in person.
I titled my first article “I’m Here With You” because I am, I have been and always will be. I have been in the trenches fighting along side each and every one of you in spirit mostly, during the good times and the bad, the mediocre times and the dreadful, and being hopeful and hopeless at the same time.
I have poured hours upon hours which has added up to years, decades even, thinking about, reading about, and watching our beloved Bills. I’ve verbally battling others to prove that we are the most loyal fan base in all sports, not just football. I am not unlike any of you here and nothing I am saying is trying to make me seem that way. We are all in this together. We sold our souls years ago and one day it is going to pay off.
Growing up outside Albany, NY you were either a Giants fan or a Jets fan. There was no way anyone who was growing up in the mid 80′s was going to root for the lowly Bills. I am sure there were others but I never saw any until the 90′s hit. So here I was, a young lad, rooting for one of the worst teams in the NFL. In the beginning I really didn’t know what was going on or who was who, but it all just felt right. I remember watching games as a kid with my father and seeing empty seats wondering if we could make the trek out there in time to catch the rest of the game live. I obviously had no concept of distance since we lived four and a half hours away.
The tough years passed and then the late 80′s happened. Things changed and we weren’t the laughing stock of the league anymore. The Bills dynasty was just about fully built and we were ready to make our run. I remember my first real heartbreak with this team. It came in the playoffs against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was the first time I actually had the idea that the Bills were going to make it to the Super Bowl. Obviously that didn’t happen. I do remember my best friend’s brother saying, “You need to root for the Bengals. That way if they win the Super Bowl you can say that your team lost to the champions.” He was a Dolphins fan and they have had to have the mentality to survive for years.
Our chance was coming. Then another chance. Then another chance. Then another chance.
Those were the greatest years of my football watching life. Yeah, it would have been nice if we got just one of those, but what can you do? Super Bowl Sunday’s were glorious during Buffalo’s run. It wasn’t until Super Bowl Monday’s that we had to worry about facing kids in school.
Wearing our gear was certainly a challenge during those years, but I did so with pride as I am sure you all did as well. It just seemed like people wanted to start a fight when they would come up to me and point to the letters on my chest and in a drunken stupor say, “Bills… Ha, ha, ha… You know what that stands for right? Boy I Love Losing Super Bowls.” It wasn’t until just now that I realized that this didn’t make any sense. Super Bowl is two words, not one. That would have come in handy back then. BILLSB isn’t even a word, but I digress.
My first trip to the Ralph didn’t happen until 1994. I was able to get tickets to see the Bills take on the Packers in November. I was so excited that I decided to head out on Friday night. It was my first time in the greatest city in the world and I wanted to soak it all in. I had the artist at the car dealership make a sign for me too, because I just knew I was going to be on television. The sign read, “The Drive For Five is Still Alive.” I sure was optimistic back then.
Years went by and things just weren’t the same. The players we all loved and adored were moving on to new teams or heading off into the sunset. The feeling went from thinking, “How much are we going to win by?” to “I hope we don’t get beat too bad.” No matter what the feeling was on game day, my love for this team has never changed.
I have taken shots out of a bowling ball after eating a piece of bacon that was cooked on a saw off of a car motor. I have been invited to get my butt kicked by Patriots fans who jumped the beer line. I have slid all the way down the hill trying to get to the lot because cutting off all of those people was a good idea. I have had to take the remote to the cable company to get a new one on countless occasions, among many other things. Yet through it all, I am still here. Through thick or thin, win or lose (preferably win), I am here with you. I could go on and on, but I will spare you. I will have plenty of opportunity in the months ahead.