I’m writing this as the first blizzard of the season unleashes its fury around northern Wyoming on a cold Monday morning in November. It somehow seems suitable that after the Bills heart wrenching loss to the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday that it be followed up by bad weather here, 35 miles from Buffalo, Wyoming. Foul is a word that both describes the weather here this morning, and my mood as a Bills fan.
It was probably appropriate that my household lost electricity shortly after the game yesterday. I didn’t need to listen to the talking heads rail on about yet another Buffalo Bills nightmare. I already felt like Charlie Brown after the 1,000,000th time Lucy pulled the ball out before he could kick it through the uprights. Defeat being snatched from the jaws of victory once again. And again. And again.
How can one football team be so consistently bad for THIS long in an era of “parity” in the NFL? There HAS to be something affecting the ability of this franchise to get over the hump. As fans, we have turned over every leaf searching for the key to changing this team’s perpetual misfortune.
However, the one thing we have zero control over as fans is what happens once players go on the field for a game. There’s been a revolving door of coaches, players and front office people for the last FIFTEEN years that have yet to break the stranglehold that this culture of losing has had on this football franchise. How and when will this team shed its legacy of losing?
Bearing down on the the big 6-0 has a way of putting life in perspective a bit. After yesterday’s game, I laid down and cried my eyes out to relieve the physical frustration ripping me to shreds after that heart-wrenching loss to the Chiefs. Old age has taught me not to tote that frustration around internally. And yes, the cardiologist and husband are both relieved.
In fact, I decided the only thing I could do personally is somehow try to convey to the players on this team, after THAT game, they need to understand why we are at the end of our rope as a fan base.
I get that the players on the team today are young and haven’t been around for 55 years. They can’t and shouldn’t be expected to understand “the big picture” for what life has been like as a Bills fan.
Well, I’m here as a self-appointed representative of the fan base to help them understand :) When you get to a point in life as a Bills fan when there are more bad years to remember that good ones to look forward to, it changes your perspective about keeping your mouth shut and going with the flow.
This attitude can be attributed to spending decades in the business of helping people live with and die from cancer. Having the privilege to spend your life’s work caring for people like Leah Still has been a gift and blessings that I cannot ever begin to repay. The only thing I can do is try to share the wisdom they so lovingly share(d) with me.
The biggest gift of all has been the realization that we DO get to choose where we expend our emotional energy in life. In doing so then, what sense does it make to be devoted fan of a football team that has a 55 year history of losing like no other?
The wizards of life who had cancer educated me in a hurry as to the importance of learning a fantastic life lesson called perseverance. If you truly are a person of substance, you will use any challenge in life as motivation, even if you have no direct control over the outcome. Simply put, good folks should do good things.
“Do the best you can” is the basic message I’ve been blessed to receive from people far wiser than myself. With that in my mind, after THAT Bills football game, I decided it was time to reach out to the players via whatever means possible.
Over the years through my passion for all things Bills, I’ve been blessed to meet several players and their families. It is one of the real blessings of being a Bills fan. Players are more accessible when they play for smaller market teams.
After yesterday’s loss, I decided it was time to share the “big picture” with Brandon Spikes who follows me on twitter by direct message, and anyone else I thought might pass it on directly to the players. I’m sure the they already realize they are playing for a fan base of lunatics. If not, they do now :)
The following bullet points posted below are what I basically asked this team to carefully consider in the wake of a loss that will turn catastrophic, and likely irreversible for making the playoffs if they lose again on Thursday night:
-Players come and go. Most have spent their entire careers in successful football programs elsewhere. Most players today really don’t know what it’s like to passionately love a team that has repeatedly ripped out the heart of the fan base for 55 years. Yet we still fill that stadium, and we will continue to fill that stadium after all the players on the team now have gone on to other places and forgotten about us.
-Buffalo has one of the lowest incomes per capita of any major US city. But this fan base will still gladly hand over their hard earned money year after year after year to support millionaire players, coaches and billionaire owners who don’t even live WNY full time or understand what it’s like to love a team that has broken their hearts for 55 YEARS!!!!
-I get that players hate to lose, but I’ve been around too long not to see the same thing happening now that has happened repeatedly for decades. Players get stoked, get excited and play hard, only to get frustrated and leave after they fail to win games that they should have won. The coaches, front office and players blame each other, and then sooner or later they leave. We’ve been through this same damn cycle for 55 years and not a single championship to show for it. The fans are the ones stuck with this losing legacy after everyone else moves on.
-I want to see if this team really IS different. Talk is cheap. Will the players stand by each other and dedicate themselves to winning IN BUFFALO? Thurman Thomas can explain it. The guys who were on the Bills team during the 90s Super Bowl years get it, because they KNOW how much they broke our hearts and drained our souls, and they know exactly why it happened.
-Until one of these Buffalo Bills teams (players and coaches) really gets what this team means to the fans from WNY, things will not change. How can a team like the Patriots play one bad game, get blown out (against KC), and then go on a tear and come out winning and looking like the team to beat in the Super Bowl? It’s because they have the mental fortitude to know what it takes to will yourself to win.
-The effort is definitely there on the part of the players on this team this season, but the sheer willpower and discipline to do what it takes at all cost to win is not. When a team is up by ten points at home in a MUST WIN game and craters, that team is not mentally strong, I don’t care how much talent they have. Fans are sick of blaming the referees, the coaches, and everyone else under the sun. Only the players can go out on the field and make a victory happen.
-Here’s what will happen now:
The Bills will go to Miami and this game will determine the fate of season. If they lose, they will be out of any realistic chance to make the playoffs. Players will then play to protect themselves. The team will roll over, the coaches will get fired, and the same old stuff will start all over again. It has been this way for 15 years.
-If I ever had a chance to send a direct message to this team it would be to beg them NOT to give up and abandon us. We as a fan base deserve more than a team that throws their hands up in the air on their way out the door for vacations and a golden lifestyle during the off season. There has to be a more burning desire to win for the fans, not just for the next big contract. There has be a collective ANGER that fuels this team to stick together and defeat the defeatist attitude of allowing themselves to be the perpetual laughingstock of the NFL.
-Fans understand this is a business first for players and coaches because it has to be. However, it could also be so much more. Fans do their part. They spend money they don’t have just for the chance to be a part of a team they can be proud of supporting. Most Bills fans build their entire self esteem around their love for this football team.
-We (players and fans) both want the same thing, to win. When it doesn’t happen, the wedge between the two groups gets bigger. No one has experienced more frustration and heart ache than Buffalo sports fans, and not just in football, but hockey too!
-I pray the cycle of despair will stop with this team, this season, this week, RIGHT NOW. Not sure how much more frustration fans can take at this point. We will be there, rain or snow, but our hearts are broken. As much as many of us would like to, we can’t go out on the field and get the job done.
-Once again fans will spend our week avoiding the sports news because it’s one more crushing defeat after another, year after year after year after year. When will anyone decide that it’s time for this fan base to be rewarded for 55 years of complete love and devotion?
-We don’t have bandwagon fans because they left 20 years ago. All that is left are the people who have stood by this team for 55 years of disappointment. We are a weary fan base. When is this team going to stop breaking our hearts?
-I have learned after all these years of loving a loser football team to separate my frustration as a fan from the rest of my person-hood. Like other Bills fans, I’ve had to in order to survive. Most Bills fans don’t separate their emotions, and that’s why they take out their frustration in unhealthy ways like drinking too much, etc…
-I used to joke about dying before the team wins a championship, but the reality is that there are a lot of us who might not live to actually see it happen. That reality makes me sad, but then I realize that it’s just a game and there are far more important things in life to focus my attention on. My life won’t be defined by the fortunes or misfortunes of the Bills, but it sure has been made a whole lot sadder because of them.
-This is what I wish the players on the team today could understand from a fan perspective. I wish they could understand that their entire lifespan is probably less than half as long as the team has existed and not won a championship. It’s been almost as long as they are old since they’ve been a serious playoff contender. That is truly staggering when you stop and think about it.
-That there are any fans left at all is a testimony to the good people of Western New York and around the world. Sure, there are lots of fans that are jerks, but there are far more good people with broken hearts walking around these days. Between the Bills and the Sabres, the region deserves more than what they are getting right from their professional sports teams now, that’s for sure.
If you’ve read this wyobabble all the way to this conclusion, then I applaud you and thank you for doing so. This is what is in my heart on another sad Monday morning in Bills Nation. I write it with the hope that it is a fair representation of a sincere message by the Bills fan base to the players on this team at this crucial time.
Please feel free to skewer me in the comment section below. I can take the heat. I’m a Bills fan.