A Buffalo Bills fan born Monday has never seen a playoff game. The agony drags on daily. Will that poor kid ever know anything but disappointment? Older folks are still waiting for the first touchdown in an elimination game since 2000. But the fact the chance existed counts for something. The Germans must have a word for feeling proud while slightly sad.
It’s nice to kvetch about only getting a field goal. Present mid-30s weather feels like Fiji compared to last week’s single-digit death chill. By the same measure, Bills fans are grateful about relative improvement. Only those who’ve endured suffering truly embrace modest progress.
There’s a way to share every observation that wasn’t available one million years ago when the Bills last made it. You bet I polluted social media right after the game even more than usual. Using this world wide web contraction during the tournament is novel. I explained to 1999 Me how I looked through the team’s Snapchat story on my pocket glow screen, and he was more confused about that than time travel.
Internet columns were as rare as a Bills postseason appearance the last time the latter occurred. It was tough to focus on typing while knowing you tying up the phone line. Young fans can ask their grandparents about what going on the line was like. Thankfully, whippersnappers have finally experienced the playoffs firsthand, although it’s still fun to ask elders about how Ted Washington blocked out both the Sun and foes’ hopes.
This wasn’t supposed to be stressful. But fans stopped being content with receiving a participation trophy at kickoff. Tension was more fun than you’d think, especially without recent experience. I spent the game telling myself it’s fun no matter the result while ripping off couch arms.
Don’t tell me a game with a single touchdown was dull. Okay: you can tell me, but I’ll only take it half-seriously. You can euphemistically call that game a defensive battle just like you can claim a burned dinner is Cajun-style. But I watched enough other mediocre playoff football this century to have developed immunity to criticism when my favorite side is involved. The game’s less dull while rooting.
Scoring three would’ve been a lot for the Sabres if that helps. Sure, the limitations this team has faced all season finally caught up with them in the finale. Yet this matchup was about overcoming them to get this far.
Treating a loss like anything but is for, well, losers. But Buffalo’s presence itself is a kind of victory for a team that played like the conference’s lowest-ranked candidate. Now, they can work on, you know, actually scoring more points.
It’s hard to focus while adjusting to a new prescription. I kept realizing what was unprecedented in recent memory. Oh, wow: it’s the first kickoff of the type in 17 years! The field goal was the first postseason score since the Taft administration. That’s reason to open an afternoon lager. Of course, that score was also the last for now. But that’s infinity percent more than any high school senior who follows this team has ever seen, so celebrate graduation.
I’m happy for London. Sure, it’s deflating to see Blake Bortles dash for 17.3 miles. And Marcell Dareus decided to give trying a try, proving it’s never too late. I mean, it is for Buffalo, but life moves forward. The only way Doug Marrone could’ve had more fun during a game with that many punts is if he got to quit.
Playing a semi-home game was our side’s reward for merely being there. At worst, Jacksonville felt like a college bowl with a split crowd. Why not travel alongside your beloved team? Buffalo residents knew just the reason to take a break from glaciers. A long winter builds character. It’s also true about the weather.
Everyone’s had enough of the letdown itself, so find comfort in the joy of even having the chance. Bills fans expected to have dreams crushed way back in 2017 because our species seeks patterns. But it never came in an affirmation of why we started following in the first place.
The prospect of our team winning seemed fun, remember? The innocent assumption came ages ago in our careers as humans. But seasons always change, even if football ones are not as predictable as cold Januarys. It was nice to focus on something other than the sort of chill that would make AT-ATs freeze up.
The wild card hat remains a badge of pride, not melancholy. You may as well at least get value out of purchases. We’re the sort of adherents who wear out garments and still keep them in the laundry rotation. Nobody started their apparel collection this year. This playoff cameo is for the fans wearing Bills gear in 2001 and 2010. The promotion is a far better reward than tanking for Mike Williams and Dareus.
The offseason started later than usual, which means they better hurry up on repairs. Start by adding personnel who will be able to accumulate more than 150 passing yards in a playoff game. These modern times call for ample forward throws. Our old-fashioned team is finally catching up. They even tweet!
The postseason is mean, what with it ending so quickly. Bills fans are used to enduring more than one loss. But showing that advancement is possible cushions the abrupt stop.
Feeling melancholy about the end is natural. There’s nothing ungrateful about dreaming that an improbable elevation would be sustained. But the greatest success comes in higher expectations. Granted, it’s not a tough hurdle to raise considering the indefinite rebuild. All they can do it raise the bar by comparison.
The reminder that there are no curses still stands as a monumental achievement. Crummy hires caused our previous football sorrow. But those slackers all working elsewhere while present employees will be respected eternally for the most appreciated sixth seed ever.
Editor’s babble: Well, we’re back – watch out off season! Thanks to Anthony Bialy for his contributions to our blog. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy. Stay tuned to our blog during the off-season, we’ll be meandering around a lot of different topics for your reading pleasure.
Also: Views expressed by contributors at BillsMafia.com are their solely their own.