So, how was your week?
Yes, same here!
Ok, let’s go back to last summer. You’re outside mowing the lawn – or inside watering your house plants – or maybe relaxing on your boat in the middle of a lake. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you feel a tap on your shoulder. The Football Gods have come for a visit with you.
They ask…”If you could have just one football wish, what is it?
You’re a Buffalo Bills fan, so you of course answer with one of these two options:
• “I wish for the Buffalo Bills to make the playoffs this upcoming season.”
• “I wish for the principle members in the New England Patriots franchise to turn on one another, instigating the organization’s fall from NFL grace – and maybe even a bit of embarrassment for them in the process.”
Little did we know when choosing our wish, this was a buy-one-get-one NFL special.
What. A. Week.
So, the Buffalo Bills have made the playoffs. Instead of packing up their lockers, returning to their families again, and starting the body-resting portion of their professional year, the members of the team had an additional week of practice. And an additional team flight to Florida. And they have an additional game to play.
Instead of arguing over who should be the team’s next coach, general manager, or quarterback, we, the fans, had a whole week to grin and make plans for another Sunday afternoon.
We got to watch videos, of our team celebrate the Bengals surprising victory over the Ravens in oh so dramatic fashion – over and over again.
We got to listen to our friends, the ones that are Cowboy fans, and Seahawk fans, and Giant fans…whine about their team not making the playoffs, and their season being over.
We got to hear football pundits, on ESPN, and the NFL Network, talk about our team…all week long.
For those of us that are young enough, we got to learn what a playoff week is like – when your team is involved.
And for those of us that are old enough, we got to remember what that feeling is like.
Take note of this feeling. The one that you have had all week. It won’t be like this again.
The Bills might make the playoffs next year, and maybe even the year after that, and the year after that one. In fact, indications are that the future is bright for the organization.
But the feeling you have right now? It won’t be the same when they make the playoffs next year. It will still be a good feeling, perhaps even a great feeling…but it will be a different feeling.
What a week.
Musings From Around the NFL
Well, it’s a much smaller landscape in NFL land now. We are down to 12 teams. And for this week, we are really down to a discussion of only 8 of them. Well, we might just discuss 9 of them, today.
For the record, I usually write this article on Saturday mornings. You usually read it on Sunday mornings, but not always. That means that this week, two NFL playoff games were played in between. Let me just say something quick about each, and then we will see how they came out in reality.
In the early game, the Tennessee Titans visit the Kansas City Chiefs. I fully expect the Chiefs to dominate this first wild card game. It’s really hard to believe the Titans are still involved in the off-season (as I’m sure many people are saying about the Bills), and the Chiefs seem to have found their mojo, just in time to be a player again.
The late game involves the Atlanta Falcons traveling out to the west coast to take on the Rams. I don’t think any of us would have made this prediction at the beginning of the season, but I will take the Rams in this one.
The later game on Sunday, after the Bills beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville (of course), will be the New Orleans Saints hosting their division rival, the Carolina Panthers. I’ll take the home team, which happens to be the better team.
And oh yes, the 9th team to discuss this weekend.
Apparently, not all is well in NFL paradise…in New England.
ESPN delivered a detailed expose of the divisive quarreling that is going on between the owner, coach, and star of the Patriots. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth your time – if only for pleasure reading.
What will happen to the Patriots? Hard to say. If they stay true to form, they will win the Super Bowl, again.
But, at the risk of getting a bit ahead of myself, it is worth note that, should the Bills win today, they will travel to Foxboro next week. This, my dear BillsMafia, is the stuff dreams are made of.
Can you imagine – the horror – had the Buffalo Bills allowed the Dolphins to come back from a 22-3 deficit, losing to them – knocking themselves our of the playoffs…only to then watch the Cincinnati Bengals go on to that miraculous victory over the Ravens.
Just stop and think about how close the Bills came to what would have made this week truly…unbelievably…horrific.
But, they didn’t.
Hey…the Bills are in the playoffs.
Players from 20 other NFL teams will be watching this weekend’s games as part of their off-season.
But not the members of the Buffalo Bills
There have been times this season when the Jacksonville Jaguars have looked extremely impressive. And there have been times this season when they have not. The good news for the Bills and their fans, is the last couple of weeks have shown the less good Jaguars more than the impressively good.
And, don’t you just get the sense that the Bills have had magic dust sprinkled on them recently? Magic NFL playoff dust?
I don’t think the Bills turned themselves into a “well-it-was-great-just-making-the-playoffs” satisfied team. I think they are hungrier this week, than maybe they were last week, if that is possible. I think they are riding something, a wind, a wave…something with force. I think they win today, in a low scoring, defensive battle.
Wagons are circled.
Buffalo 17 – Jacksonville 14
Read me next week.
Editor’s babble: Oh my goodness, we’re really writing about a Bills playoff game! Thanks so much to Rick Bates for getting us ready for the greatest game in 17 years. You can (and should!) follow Rick on Twitter @MyHammock.