Old enough to remember the backlash during the Bills Super Bowl years by other NFL fan bases and the national media hate for the Buffalo Bills? “Anybody but the Bills” was quite a theme of the 90s.
What did we ever do to deserve the collective wrath of a nation?
Add to that era the 20 years of blighted existence and you have the general consensus about all things Buffalo Bills. The only thing we’re known for nationally these days is breaking tables and lighting ourselves on fire.
We are a misunderstood fan base. But some of that is also self-inflicted.
Oddly, no one was more misunderstood than our recently and less-than-dearly departed ESPN reporter Mike Rodak, who wrote the best article about our fan base ever written. Mike was only one step removed from our all-time love-to-hate journalist Jerry Sullivan.
I love Jerry for many reasons, not the least of which is how he fulfills his important role as a community skeptic. It’s not easy to stick to your perspective when your secondary function becomes community punching bag.
Being a righteous skeptic isn’t easy. I prefer the role of community rah-rah “cupcake blogger” after spending too many years working with people/families dealing with cancer. We each have a role to play and at this point I need to balance out all the sadness and challenges experienced by way too many in my life.
That’s why I don’t apologize for being a drippy optimist. We all have our reasons for attaching our passion to the Buffalo Bills .
Our passion is the glue that binds us and the reasons that bring us together ultimately don’t matter. What does matter is what defines our inexplicable love for a region and a frustrating football team – yet to bring a championship for a truly deserving fan base.
The real reason the rest of the nation hated us during the 1990s was because they couldn’t BE us. No one in their right mind who grew up outside WNY, Southern Ontario and even good Erie, PA was a Bills fan prior to the Super Bowl years.
While we welcomed a nation full of great people who stood by our team over the last 20 years of futility – it may be a more thorny journey for “outsiders” to hop on the bandwagon when the Bills rise out of the hell that has been dominance by the Patriots in the Tom Brady era.
The national narrative by Barstool and other media outlets didn’t happen by accident. There is literally a whole world out there who wonders what kind of people love their team through 60 years of the most tragic outcomes a sports fan can experience and come out on the other side with a smile?
A smile – a hug, a recognition that not only is our love pure and enduring, we are willing to actually share our limited resources with those who harpoon us. What kind of people DO that?
They must be complete fools.
No, we are not fools. We’re a special group of people who aren’t afraid to be different and cheer for a ‘loser’ team from a ‘loser’ city. And when our day comes to celebrate a championship, and it will come at some point – hopefully soon– the rest of the world will just have to deal with it.
Editor’s babble: Tomorrow my birthday will be ruined once again by the meteor shower that is sharing this special day with Tom Brady. I am truly cursed. But you can still find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.