When those two words are paired together, it makes me cringe as though there’s a spider crawling up my arm. In my head I see the ball get placed, kicked, and the next scene is it missing the post and the Giants winning the Superbowl.
Being 24 years old, I was too young to remember those Jim Kelly led teams, I remember more of the Let’s-Sub-In-Rob-Johnson-For-Doug-Flutie and the Trent Edwards Experience eras of Buffalo Bills football. I’ve been through a forward pass called the “Music City Miracle”and through the befuddled looks of Wade Phillips; the perennial 7-9 records of Dick Jauron.
Now comes a season of new promise, but I’ve heard it before. I’ve seen the Bills have a chance at the playoffs when all they had to do was beat a bunch of Steelers backups…spoiler alert: the Bills lost. I’ve seen the Bills trade away picks to draft JP Losman. I’ve had Trent Edwards give me hope that somehow check-down passes were the way to win. I’ve seen what a porous defense really looks like.
I’ve seen Leodis Mckelvin fumble away a huge upset against the Patriots, and I’ve seen Ryan Fitzpatrick look brilliant, then throw the 2011 season into the opponents’ hands. I’ve seen Stevie Johnson own Revis island, only to make crucial drops in the 4th quarter.
I’ve seen wasted draft picks, crappy coaches, an owner who is older than the dirt he sleeps in, and bad personnel moves that not even a new uniform could cover up.
But for three days this past off-season I was glued to my radio and various Bills blogs when Mario Williams visited. I almost ran around my office screaming when we signed him, but working in New York City means that there are very few Bills fans around, especially on the third floor of my Madison Avenue office.
I was left to quietly pump my fist and text the few Bills fans that I actually know.
Yes, things have been crappy, and crappy is an understatement. We are football’s version of the Chicago Cubs. Although, at least the Cubs have won a championship.
Now that the Bills have signed a couple of key free agents, which Buffalo hasn’t been able to do in ages, and had a pretty decent (albeit projected) draft, there are many reasons to hope this is the year we finally make the playoffs.
Normally I don’t like to say we, but the Bills and their fans are a tight-close knit group. We have formed the #BillsMafia. (look it up on Twitter) When I randomly run into a Bills fan at a bar or on the street we immediately have something to talk about. There are no “casual” Bills fans. We live and die with this team and have taken an “Us Against the World” mentality. Unfortunately, the world usually wins, but maybe, just maybe, this year, we win.
Maybe our bearded gun-slinging QB can lead this offense for a whole season, not just half of it. (By the way gun-slinger is a term used for Quarterbacks who throw a ton of INT’s; ie: Brett Farve)
Maybe our prized off-season pickup Mario Williams leads an upstart defense that makes the opposing quarterback wish they took the day off.
Maybe the rookies like Stephon Gilmore, TJ Graham and other young guys step up into their roles.
And maybe, just maybe, this team keeps it together, and gets into the playoffs.
Or maybe, the world wins again.