Buffalo Bills benchmark for losing


Each and every morning when I wake up I do three things. I look outside to

check the weather. I brush my teeth, always with Crest. And I thank God that I wasn’t

born in Buffalo.

I’m a firm believer in only rooting for the pro teams that represent where you

grew up. When I meet a person from Massachusetts who claims to be a Yankees fan,

I usually wish I hadn’t met them at all. The only exceptions are people who moved

around a lot, or live in states without pro teams. If you’re from Wyoming, for

example, you get to pick any team you please.

Therefore, my gratitude for not being born in the Queen City is gratitude for

not having to support its sports. Watching the Bills lose by three points for the third

straight week on Sunday, running their record to 0-8 on the year, I decided that

Buffalo has to be the worst place in the country to live. The location and weather

aren’t exactly what you look for in a vacation destination, but lots of places are cold

and desolate. It’s the sports that really set Buffalo apart. And it’s not just that the

Bills always lose – it’s the way they go about it.

First of all, football is pretty much all the city has. There’s no baseball or

basketball team, and if you have to resort to hockey in an argument about American

professional sports then you’re definitely losing. So while the Buffalo Sabres do exist

– and hockey does fit nicely in a city that spends much of the year under snow and

ice – by no means are they a redeeming factor.

So, the accumulation of an entire city’s hopes and dreams lands on the

shoulders of the Bills, and it seems as though they couldn’t possibly do less to rise to

the occasion. Without a single victory at the halfway point of the season, Bills fans

can only really root for the team to get the monkey off its back and pick up that first

win. For the last three weeks, it’s been right there, and they just can’t finish the job.

Twice in overtime and once at the very end of the game they’ve lost by a mere three

points, and the agony goes on.

The Bills will probably win a game at some point, but who knows when. Their

personal goal should just be to get it done before the snow comes. Otherwise the

city’s misery will just be buried for the winter, and that can’t be healthy. I’m getting

sad just thinking about it.

The team’s present state is miserable, and its future isn’t much brighter. But

what’s truly demoralizing is a look at its past. From 1990 to 1993 – four straight

seasons – the Bills made it to the Super Bowl. That’s an extremely difficult feat in the

NFL, where short seasons, injuries, and countless other factors make prolonged

success hard to come by. In fact, the Bills are the only team ever to appear in four

consecutive championships.

What’s truly unbelievable, however, is the result of those games. Even if you

don’t know your NFL history, you can probably guess by now what happened to the

poor guys from Buffalo. They lost each and every one.

It’s hard to imagine that kind of disappointment, especially now that it’s been

more than 15 years since they’ve had a chance to redeem themselves. And with the

way the squad looks now, it could easily be another 15 before they do. But somehow

the Bills carry on, and no one can EVER question a Buffalo fan’s loyalty.

So at the end of the day, what we really owe Buffalo is a thank you. Not thanks

for being born elsewhere – honestly I’d like to think my ancestors cared enough

about their descendants not to settle that region of the country in the first place –

but thanks for the service that the Bills provide us every Sunday.

My Patriots were unexpectedly pummeled by the Cleveland Browns last

week, and it almost ruined my day. But just a few moments after that game ended,

the Bills lost another one of their three-point heartbreakers to Chicago. I thought for

a moment, shrugged, and along with fans of the other 30 NFL teams who have won

at least a single game this season, said to myself, ‘At least we’re not THAT bad.’

So no matter which team you pull for, even if they’re having a bad year,

remember that it could always be worse. Unless, of course, you’re from Buffalo. In

that case, well…I’m sorry.