Buffalo is the perfect place to test if pain affects franchises. We should be congratulated for our scientific contribution to the study of football relativity. Naturally, there won’t be a trophy. But we take what’s available from losing because that’s the lesson our delightful world offers.
There’s a lack of bleakness after a 6-10 season that can’t be credited to a weird, oscillating Western New York winter. Perhaps it’s just conditioning. Coping with despair is a trip to Fantasy Island when you’ve endured 32 losing seasons.
But this particular recent lousy result hasn’t felt bothersome. Frank Costanza would say it’s because we learned to shout “Serenity now!” More importantly, there’s the eerie sense that the Bills might finally have competent management.
We’re looking forward because the horizon looks pretty, not just to avoid the pooling toxic waste behind us. Our crew has almost forgotten how troubling this past criminal season was, unlike, say, how 3-13 in 2001 might as well be tattooed on fans who endured it.
The poor New England Patriots are woefully unprepared to face life’s inevitable struggles. Turn to us for help learning the proper mentality for coping with agony. This past year was forgettable for the correct reason. I was impressed how easy it was to think of the next games on Sundays where they fell apart like the Mike Weber-led Sabres. Enduring pain is easier if there’s a potential expiration date. We get to stop hitting our heads with a hammer soon.
The regular season’s conclusion feels like a relationship ending where simple joys disappear instantly. Hoping next season is the happy one feels like beginning the process of dating again. Can we skip the small talk?
Yet the most recent 10-loss campaign seemed like a time-filler instead of the end of time. Framing is everything. Bills management has been upfront about the need to sift the roster and optimistic about finding diamonds soon.
Compare and contrast neighborhood sports clubs in a One Buffalo manner. The Sabres have provided plenty of bad examples from which to learn.
Managers should never be as melodramatic as fans. Take Jason Botterill treating us like ingrates because we think improving from last season is a weak standard considering his team set it. Yes, I again served Milwaukee’s Best at the craft beer festival, but at least I didn’t reuse Solo Cups this year.
Sabres general managers have a precedent for moaning. Recall Darcy Regier being foolish enough to utter the word “suffering” to describe the result of coping with teams he assembled. And we unfortunately can’t forget Tim Murray pouting like an emo brat who got a Banana Republic gift card for his birthday after the draft lottery gave him the consolation prize of Jack Eichel. His precious violated feelings apparently made it too painful to say the club was thrilled to get a generational talent.
By contrast, it’s safe to take Brandon Beane grocery shopping without fearing a tantrum. We haven’t endured similar crabby outbursts from the present front office. I’m impressed by the message discipline and hope it translates to a lack of procedural penalties.
A preternaturally calm staff didn’t try to burn themselves out with a futile attempt to sneak into the playoffs for consecutive seasons. Is that daunting feat even possible? Management had the restraint to avoid spending a paycheck by Saturday’s breakfast. Such a frenzied philosophy would lead to wondering why they’re opening dented corned beef hash cans for dinner the rest of the week. After adhering to the plan of one agonizing year spent paying guys to not be Bills, they can now actually spend on salary for employees to play. That does seem more efficient.
There I go being optimistic in spite of history. The Bills have trended toward irrelevance over history long enough to make us wonder if it’s our fault. Does fan psychology affects a franchise’s performance? If so, I’m beyond sorry for my gloomy contribution.
Downtrodden fans freak out over what we can’t control, which is a natural response in its way. The last thing jittery followers need is a general manager sweating his way through doomsday scenarios. You may as well be stuck with a hyperventilating pilot welcoming you onboard.
The Bills can only be understood on a quantum level. Physics still doesn’t explain drafting Willis McGahee.
Nevertheless, observers wonder if their very participation affects the outcome. Those who actually perform the carrying and tackling are affected unwittingly. We lost count of how many seasons during the drought players maintained that what happened in the past didn’t affect them before going out and continuing it. Every team has at least some ghosts haunting it from past seasons, whether it be returning roster members or remaining ownership. Even the Patriots have to cope with Satan peeking in huddles.
I regret to inform fellow crabs that positivity may help. Attitude affects performance in ways that are tough to measure yet entirely apparent. Tell Jim Kelly confidence is unimportant. The staff has the right mentality, if that helps. They’ve never kvetched about their inherited predicament. That includes no lectures about how fans must endure agony while they benevolently restructure operations.
A plan to finally make this marginalized franchise competitive has taken a little patience. Yes, we’ve waited long enough. But an extra crummy year isn’t much if a sober plan intoxicates as promised. It’s nice having a general manager who doesn’t sound like he’s reading from his diary.
Editor’s babble: So many thanks to Anthony Bialy for keeping our Bills fanship afloat with his acerbic, albeit truthful view of ourselves as Bills and Sabres fans. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.