It’s been a week since the Buffalo Bills were eliminated from the 2017 NFL playoffs by the Jacksonville Jaguars. While that loss did sting as it was a very winnable game had the Bills offense not been so anemic, the pain of it has lessened as the Jaguars have advanced to the AFC title game against the New England Patriots. This is not stating that the Bills should be in the AFC Championship, but rather how unpredictable the NFL playoffs can be each and every year.
However, today’s post sets out to help me describe my thoughts following that improbable New Year’s Eve so many Bills fans will recall for years. My wonderful wife had bought me tickets to the IIHF World Junior Championships for Christmas with USA playing Finland in a thrilling 5-4 victory. However, due to the NFL having the ability to flex games, the Bills game was flexed to 4:25 pm in order to prevent teams from altering their game plans based on outcomes. Initially, this was not ideal as I wanted to watch the football game in its entirety.
As thankful as I was, I still attended the game with a friend and we decided to stop down at a restaurant near the arena, 716, to watch the remaining of the Bills game. Entering the bar area, every TV was on the Bills game and several TV’s played the Cincinnati-Baltimore game. Every seat was packed and looking around, it energized me as a Bills fan due to the sheer fact that these kinds of moments do not happen often. When I became a Bills fan in 2007, I had some idea of what I was getting into, envisioning the moments that were before me at 716.
Once the Bills did their job and won their game 22-16, all attention turned towards the Cincinnati-Baltimore game. The moment was simple, yet hopeful; if the Bengals win, we’re in. As the clocked ticked down with the Bengals down, dread crept in. That moment as a Bills fan everyone knows all too well. This moment that this is all going to fall apart and we will be left wondering what if again as a January without Bills football.
Thankfully, as Andy Dalton marched down the field, mine and those around me all thought, all we need is a field goal and we still got this. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine that Andy Dalton throwing a strike to Tyler Boyd to score the go ahead touchdown would be that culminating point in the Bills season. The emotion pouring out of me was effusive and unbridled! I began high-fiving, hugging, screaming, running, everything I could do to express my sheer love for the Bills! And in that moment, those emotions felt exactly as I could have ever thought possible, it was a split second in time that felt exactly right and did not disappoint!
The bar going crazy, that raw happiness exuding from every single person, that’s what I signed up for when I became a Bills fan. That moment that those last second losses, those disappointing seasons, the disrespect from other fan bases, all finally validated in one singular moment. Even though this was merely a playoff berth, it was OUR playoff berth; a well deserved one at that! The week following that miracle was incredible as nothing could get me down, nothing could lessen my enthusiasm, and never have I been more excited for a Bills game!
As I write this, if you are still reading, you may be wondering why I wrote this article. I wrote this with the idea that I have a platform, as small as it may be, a platform nevertheless which I can convey my thoughts. I am proud to be a Bills fan, I am proud of my team, and proud of what they have accomplished this season. I had always been a football fan but until I became a Bills fan, I did not know what fandom was. Buffalo has shown me fandom in spades and allowed me to truly enjoy what being a Buffalo sports fan really is all about!
Yet, I, as many others as well, realize that the team is still very flawed and needs constant refinement. I am okay with this realization, as winning is a constant improvement within one’s self and if you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards. I cannot wait to see what this front office does with this team and what success awaits this team in the coming seasons!
As I finish up my thoughts on that incredible moment, I begin to further identify other topics to write about, I plan to write about Kelvin Benjamin’s meniscectomy, Zay Jones labrum repair, and any other procedures that are expected or reported. I will continue to do my best to identify topics of interest that are not not fully explained in the media that may shed light on the side of football many are not familiar with. Continue to check back regularly and GO BILLS!!