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Uncool Britannia as Buffalo Bills Struggle in Wembley

No matter the country or continent, the Buffalo Bills find a way to crush dreams.  Mister Hyde prevailed on his home turf.  I hope the British don’t think all gridiron football games are like that.  Some things are the same around the world such as baffling play calls, brutal penalties, and a quarterback who didn’t seem to know teams are distinguished by different uniforms.  Our allies send us Double Chocolate Stout, and this is how we repay them?

The Wembley game taught me that there is also a 9:30 a.m.  A contest before noon is disruptive to depraved slugs who arise when conventional humans eat lunch.  Such a cruel kickoff time should obviously be illegal.  Those of us accustomed to going to sleep and awakening on the same day may have to melt congressional switchboards with late calls, but the effort will be worth it.

Barring legislation, the league should admit the folly of attempting to grow the sport in a country where football means placekicking paired with punting.  That’s especially since such machinations come at the expense of fans it already has.  It’s not to slight British Bills backers, who are admirable in dedication despite the sport’s status as a colonial curiosity.  But they should be proud to follow the action here, just like American soccer fans ought to adjust their alarms to watch their favorite European clubs.  The same league which limits player salaries won’t stop seeking more riches.  The NFL would never take advantage of people who love the game, right?

May logistics triumph.  Every American Quidditch game near Hogwarts means having to endure silly talk about putting a franchise in London.  Competing is hard enough without having to fly over an ocean first.  It’s already tough for Seattle to travel, which is another reason to realign NFL conferences geographically.  Even without Oakland and San Francisco presently in the same division, none of the time zone issues excuse a rather frustrating effort.  Somehow drawing close only made the result more gutting.  Sorry for the spoilers, but Shakespeare may have addressed such tragedies.

Sunrise football was less fun thanks to an atrocious Yahoo app which allowed fans to not watch from anywhere in the world.  Our usually trusty internet connection was neutralized.  The frozen broadcast often doubled as a screenshot.  That’s when there was anything on screen at all.  I hope others were able to view the cyber-game without issues.  On the other hand, missing plays during the Abroad Bowl was a blessing.  This was supposed to be the broadcast of the future where humanity could watch on any glowing screen.  Instead, I will continue to associate the erstwhile default search engine with discovering what categories of web pages there were in 1995.

The Bills looked like they were on time delay, too.  Unlike his passes, the starting quarterback hopefully landed in the right country.  The real mystery for Sherlock Holmes to solve is why EJ Manuel threw so much in the first place.  The ensuing turnovers meant he had to pass more to catch up, and it’s tough to see how that was supposed to spiral upward.  Coaches could’ve at least noticed what fans did, like when the run game would’ve still helped.  Getting near the goal line and giving a struggling passer three shots instead of letting LeSean McCoy evade into the end zone was like a punishment for waking up early.

Manuel’s most frustrating moments weren’t his turnovers, although those were sufficient to make his name trend on Twitter for unfortunate reasons.  What was truly aggravating was to see him later drop footballs into a British bucket, as he displayed the capacity to settle down and deliver.  The sharp throws made the earlier befuddlement even more painful by comparison.  His ability to strike accurately is what enticed Doug Whaley to make the Florida State product the first quarterback selected that year.  Regardless of the upside, that was one long flight to ponder the draftee’s lack of development.  The general manager’s bosses had the same time to think.

Of course, it’s tough whenever a backup quarterback has to pose as a starter.  Nobody who saw Matt Cassel literally throw away the Cowboys game thinks he would’ve made a difference for his previous team in London.  While the notion may have seemed alluring around midday, it became clear by dusk that Cassel taught EJ everything he knows.  The problem is that Manuel’s draft spot is not one for a clipboard holder.  He couldn’t overcome turnovers that would be tough to rank in terms of devastation.  There’s only so much experience and preparation can do to help.

The Bills returned to face the same problems, most unnervingly mistakes that’d be more typically committed by a first-time coach.  A team led by a man in his seventh season as a roster boss shouldn’t have to compensate for starting unprepared.  It doesn’t help to be paired with a quarterback who looked like he thought this was cricket.  The venue just added to the disorientation.  Needing passports to reach a venue was absurd when they went to Toronto.  It’s even worse leaving the county on orders to help the league, not because they think it’ll help their franchise.  That was the best of football just like McDonald’s is America’s top restaurant.


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Anthony Bialy

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy lives in New York City and acts like he's still in Buffalo. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He knows every bodega in Manhattan which sells Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.

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