Sports fans have their dreams. For some, the dream becomes an obsession: Cubs fans, Red Sox fans Eagles fans and Bills fans, probably others. Red Sox fans had their dream come true in 2004, and several times since. For Cubs fans, it was two years ago. The Eagles did it last year.
Bills fans are still waiting. We live in a fantasy world, believing our team will find the magic for one dream season, or even better, one dream team.
When I was packing to move a few years ago, one of the movers caught me wistfully looking at my Jim Kelly bobblehead. He asked what it was, and all I could say was “the stuff dreams are made of.”
For Bills fans, the dream is to win the Super Bowl. The details of the dream keep changing. Bledsoe to Price and Moulds. Losman and Edwards and Jauron’s stingy defense. Manuel fools his critics. Rex’s bravado.
When you’re dreaming, your dreams are all you have, and you want to believe them. But dreams aren’t real and as Bills fans know, dreams often become nightmares. It’s as though we’re in the State Farm ad where the father gives his daughter her first car and she shouts “is THAT my car?!!!” We’re the other guy in that ad, the guy who finds his car up on blocks, the tires gone, the guy who shouts “is THAT my car?!!!”
The most recent nightmare ended when Rex departed, followed by Doug Whaley. Bills fans could begin to dream when Sean McDermott was hired, but for most of us, he wasn’t enough to get us fantasizing. A young, unproven bald guy talking about the process isn’t what we imagined. Then the Bills asked us to buy the magic Beane. “Not so fast,” we said. “We’re not some kid named Jack.”
Even when the Bills made the playoffs , Bills fans were joyous but knew it was no Cinderella story. Yes, the Bills were going to the ball, but it felt more like they were parking attendants at a Herman’s Hermits revival tour than the prince’s dance partner. The 2017 playoffs were only the slightest hint of a new dream.
Bills fans’ latest honest-to-goodness fantasy began with the 2018 draft. Just like 2004, the Bills traded up for a strong-armed quarterback. Maybe THIS quarterback, with THIS coach and THIS GM can do it. Maybe this Beane stalk will grow into the clouds where we will find the goose that lays Lombardi Trophies.
But we’d seen too many dreams turn into nightmares, and whenever we found ourselves starting to dream about Josh Allen, we pulled ourselves back to reality. It will be midnight soon enough, and that carriage will turn into a pumpkin.
And then …, and then there was that touchdown pass against the Panthers in the Bills’ first preseason game. We watched it over and over. Did a Buffalo quarterback actually find THAT receiver and make THAT throw? Am I dreaming? Pinch me.
Yes, it WAS a Bills quarterback and he actually DID make that throw. But wait – Trent Edwards made a nice throw once in a while, too. Calm down. Come back to reality. You’re still just a wooden puppet, dancing to strings in the hands of Roger Goodell and Bill Belichick.
And then it happened again. The touchdown pass against the Browns in the second preseason game. Was THAT guy actually wearing a Bills uniform? He made THAT move in the pocket and THAT throw on the run? Yes, Wyoming, there IS a Santa Claus.
A coach who teaches and leads men? A GM with guts and savvy? A quarterback who looks like the QBs who have dominated the playoffs for the past 20 years? I take a quick look in the mirror – no, my nose isn’t growing.
I can dream, can’t I?
Editor’s babble: Dream away, Mark. Bills fans have been conditioned to be hesitant about any prospect the national media rips on. Funny thing though, most of those pundits are now seeing exactly what we are seeing when a highly gifted player finally gets elite-level coaching. Thanks for your contributions to our blog. We look forward to many more! You can’t find Mark on Twitter, or probably any other social media platform, so enjoy his commentary here!