If I had to pick just one favorite part of this impossibly joyous season, it’d be how forgettable it is. Shrug at pain that’ll evaporate in moments due to indifference only a team this inept can spur. Did you know other clubs can not only throw well but also catch?
Short of fun, fans can at least enjoy knowing a team’s losing on schedule. The Buffalo Bills are on schedule to honor Jason Pominville’s thousand games and his jersey number by going 2-9 sometime soon. That’s the One Buffalo spirit.
The Bills play like Evel Knievel was supposed to miss the landing. It’s tough to be disappointed when their wheels don’t return to the ground. The 2018 version of football ineptness doesn’t feature the acute agony of, say, 2004 when the roster choked its way out of the playoffs. By contrast, today’s Bills won’t be remembered tomorrow. A team that’s marginally better than the strike replacement team is disappearing from our minds as quickly as the memory of a tweet. Mercy is a consolation prize when a team is too atrocious to care.
Nathan Peterman is Romeo. Football is Juliet. The star-crossed quarterback is doomed to never get a break. Shakespeare would’ve thought this club was being a bit overdramatic.
It takes a team effort to make a quarterback look that bad. Fans are so demanding for expecting catches after footballs hit hands. The late Mitch Hedberg noted his belt held his pants up while belt loops held his belt up, and it’s similarly hard to diagnose who’s responsible for failing passes.
Peterman isn’t fast enough to outrun his past even if he has infinity percent more rushing touchdowns this season than LeSean McCoy. He will never live down these regrettable performances any more than Macaulay Culkin will move past the impression he made as a child actor. As much as I dig his pizza-themed rock band, Mister Culkin will always be Kevin the burglar-injurer. To be fair, Peterman improved his rating Sunday, although getting to 30.7 might not get him into a Chunky Soup ad.
Everyone has a unique role, even if it’s only fueling social media mockery. Peterman’s job is to help Josh Allen get a good receiver through a high pick. He doesn’t need you cheering him for enduring pain, as he’s more selfless than Professor Snape.
This is a tank in case anyone’s unclear. They’re supposed to be bad if that helps. A poor franchise is waiting to get cap rich next year. One of the benefits of paying slackers to not play is the ensuing favorable draft position. Hate the parity, not the ‘playa’. The league frowns upon making surrender so obvious. The Bills aren’t actually trying, are they?
Why did they not improve at the trade deadline? It’s because they’re not trying to improve. The Bills are failing third grade so they’ll be next year’s biggest kid in the class. The deliberate underachieving is dirty but not exactly a secret. No wideout that a team would be willing to trade away was going to spur a 7-1 record during the season’s second half, so management decided to stick with misaligned targets.
Buffalo fans are achingly familiar with the strategy of losing now to gain vast treasures ahead. Those who double as hockey enthusiasts flinch involuntarily as they recall when Sabres legend Phil Varone was one of the club’s top forwards during the spell when their play offended the spirit of Bill Barilko in order to start fresh. The Bills might sign him to play receiver at this rate.
If you can’t get a job as a pro team’s coordinator, check if the Bills are hiring. Coaches are told to make dinner after being given ketchup packets and sawdust. The lack of resources is especially aggravating during an era when football teams are scoring like it’s basketball. Meanwhile, many of Buffalo’s starters would be backups elsewhere, and a good portion of those have been lost to injury. You have to go deep to get this shallow.
Being a contrarian isn’t always wise. Take how the crowd is having fun reaching the end zone. The AFL Bills went against the grain by bashing foes in an aerial league. This year’s edition, instead, defiantly swims against the current of proficient offenses scoring at will. The ’60s were more fun, as anyone who lived through them can vaguely attest.
The only way to cope with an embarrassing football cataclysm is by repeating the mantra that the roster is crummy by design. Anticipating a functional Bills offense is like expecting Miller Lite to taste good. The quasi-lager’s Christmas-themed commercials in November’s first week were an abomination, but, like this football team, did you expect anything better? If this is a canny plan to preserve McCoy for a season where he can have help, then I’m impressed.
And there’s still excitement in its way. We’re already free to cheer for bottom-feeders to win instead of for conference teams to lose. It would be the most Browns thing ever to finish 2-13-1 and draft second overall because the Bills couldn’t manage a tie. It’s not to hope that our favorite team doesn’t win again, but that might happen anyway. We have to root for something, and it’s not going to be multiple touchdowns per game.
Editor’s babble: The cure for what ails me as a Bills fan is to watch the UB offense. They undoubtedly could play better than the Bills offense the rest of the way. But that doesn’t fit the tank narrative for the Bills, and UB is getting themselves ready to play in a bowl game this year, so they’re kind of busy. Thanks to Anthony Bialy for getting us through another miserable week of Bills football. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.