The NFL season is nearing its first regular season game and Buffalo Bills fans are at it again. Every single year it’s the same thing over and over, the same talk, the same inflection in the voice, the vague and hopeful optimism that can only come from the desperate.
I have lived in Western, NY for just over 10 years and it never ceases to amaze me. Every year around this time, bills fans gather around bars, tables, and water coolers to say the same exact thing they said they year before and the year before that and the year before that.
“This is year they’re going to get into the playoffs. They’ve got a good defense, a decent running game, and a few weapons. Yup. This is definitely the year.”
Of course, it isn’t. The Bills haven’t made a run into the playoffs since 1999 when the Music City Miracle took place and they went home broken by the grace of God, or an ill-fitting rule and a near sighted ref.
— The Onion (@TheOnion) August 22, 2017
We tend to forget that Doug Flutie started for most of the season until he lost his job on the last week of the season for apparently no other reason than Ralph Wilson was really old. The next season, the Bills sat a well performing Flutie again in favor of Johnson. It ended up not being in their favor, again. The Curse of the Rob Johnson still remains stuck to the Bills franchise like glue all these years later. With this new season starting, I’m hard pressed to believe it will be any different.
— StarrtingTooLate (@Starrting2Late) August 24, 2017
Bills fans every year begin with a fateful optimism that they have to be aware of by now. By mid-season the Bills are always still in contention, although they are usually starting to falter, the positive vibes of fandom slowly starting to waver as the Patriots inevitably pull away.
“We can still make it into the wild card easy. Just need a win here.”
But the win doesn’t come. There’s only a prayer’s chance that they can make the Wild Card Game. This is when the Music City Miracle gets brought up and the last murmur of hope is starting to dwindle. And again they fall. Optimism quickly turns to disgust, even from the local radio and newspaper personalities as they call for firings, changes in line up, hindsight guiding ubiquitous opinions.
Anquan Boldin had some pretty inspiring reasons for retiring from the NFL.
— ESPN (@espn) August 21, 2017
The end of the season is gloomily taciturn, game day ceremonial regalia is neatly stored away, rolled up and shoved to the back of the closet in udder disbelief. But have no fear, the relentless optimism of a new season will reappear like a college freshman, ready and willing to go the extra mile, unaware of the hardships that lay ahead, refusing to believe that the previous year was a beckoning omen to the future. Even if it’s been damn near 20 years.
“This will be the year. They made a lot of moves in the off season, on the field and upstairs.”
Sure they did, but were they the right moves?
Many will point to the allegiance of Buffalo fans as “true fandom” for never giving up on their team. But as another season starts, glaring mediocrity is the only thing in sight, and apparently, what Western NY has come to cheer for.