Usually by mid-October every year – like clockwork it seems – people start asking about how it is possible to be a lifelong “loser” Bills fan. And every year I answer the question the same way. We take pride in loving our team, regardless of their record. Anyone left on the bandwagon who declares themselves a Bills fan is likely stubborn, crazy, loyal to a fault or some combination of those three traits. Nobody said it was going to be easy.
I’m so far gone these days I even relish the opportunity to be a source of curiosity for football ‘lookie-loos’, who wonder why the bleep anyone would put themselves through the equivalent of being waterboarded up to 16 times a year. Perhaps we should consider it a badge of honor to place our passion in something so consistently painful? Are we gluttons for punishment or simply twisted souls?
Furthermore, through the “agony of defeat” there’s been changes in what we consider the “reason for the season”. What used to be about winning and losing football games has somehow morphed into appreciating our relationship with one another as a unique group of sports fans. Mostly because that’s what we are.
It also seems like we’ve become legendary for all the “wrong reasons”… but that doesn’t stop us from tailgating ourselves silly or cheering each other up with fun videos and GIFs, as well as any number other ways we can think of to laugh at ourselves. Never underestimate the importance of being able to look in the mirror and laugh. As is often stated, that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
However, weathering a lifetime of losing as a Bills fan does take a significant amount of emotional stamina. But that’s not a bad skill to learn as it can be applied to all aspects of life. Supporting a loser team requires much more fortitude than supporting a winner.
In fact, those Bills fans left after the band broke up in the mid-90s really are a special bunch.. Younger Bills fans who know nothing but despair about this team throughout their entire life are actually in an enviable position. They’ve bankrolled enough misery that when the winning does happen (and it will), it will be the absolute best experience for them. And they deserve it!
My biggest hope for Monday night when the Patriots roll onto New Era Field for a show down with the Bills is that we see a better football game than we saw when the Bills played the Colts at Indianapolis last Sunday. That sets the bar fairly low, so hopefully the Bills won’t make it anymore painful than necessary.
The bottom line is there are few if any Bills fans delusional about the team’s chances against the Patriots on Monday night. However, we did feel the same way going into Minneapolis a few weeks ago and the Bills ended up putting the hurt on the Vikings, so there is that.
I still want to know why that Bills team ghosted us.
Editor’s babble: When I think about the Bills on Monday Night Football it reminds me of my late-father telling me “act like you’ve been there before”, for a variety of reasons while growing up. The problem with hoping the Bills do the same is they’ve played some horrendous games on Monday night. The good news is the bar is about as low as it can go for this one. You can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.