With our hearts nearly fossilized from the “Dynasty of Despair”, we once again find ourselves hoping the ninth reboot for the Buffalo Bills since 2000 will save us from eternal damnation as an NFL fan base. It’s a constant battle for us as we try to navigate our emotions by daring to hope this is “the one”… this time will be different…
So scarred by nearly a generation of total failure by this team has left most of us “BILLieving” the Buffalo Bills will find a new way to break our hearts no matter what evidence there may be that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our fan base has been beaten down so badly most of us sleep with one eye open waiting for the next catastrophic injury, arrest, or coach quitting on our team.
We are long past the hollow words that “this time it will be different”. Marketing slogans instinctively trigger a ‘rolling eyes’ emoji of utter despair as we soak up another dose of blarney from the front office. No longer taking the bait, we’ve hardened our hearts and prepare for another season of disappointment.
Many of us of a certain age ponder the possibility of death before playoffs, let alone consider the possibility of winning a championship in Buffalo before we die. 1-4-5-B-4-I-DIE is more than a clever license plate number, it’s the battle cry of an entire generation of elders who spent most of their adult life “BILLieving”.
That kind of investment is hard to walk away from. In fact, it’s what keeps most of us still going strong because being a Bills fan is woven into the very foundation of our identity. In fact, I’m not sure what to think about the fact that I’ve become an object of pity by my friends and neighbors in Wyoming.
Oh, that Robyn Mundy… she’s a crazy Buffalo Bills fan. Can you imagine? I don’t know how or why she does it.
Loving the Bills has become the investment in a business you kept pouring money into despite the fact that the business model is a disaster and the company is in debt up to its neck. After awhile you stop investing more capital, but you never sell the stock because you know deep in your heart the moment you do the company will suddenly explode and become the next big thing.
So we soldier on… mostly in autopilot because we simply can’t let ourselves “BILLieve” we aren’t going to get Lucy pulling that football out from us one more time…
… and then just when you think you’re comfortably ensconced in the protective cocoon of mediocrity, the universe throws us a curve ball when the Pegulas bought the Bills.
There was pure joy that the Bills would be staying in Buffalo. But I also hoped it might finally result in the fumigation elegantly described by Tim Graham of the Buffalo News after Rex Ryan vamoosed. Graham expressed what many Bills fans felt about cleaning out the front office, something not completely done since the 1990s in some cases.
Then it happened. Having been left with only a shred of hope it would ever get done, imagine my surprise when one by one there was a gutting of the front office, scouting staff, general manager and the old way of doing business. The old way of doing business would have meant signing Anthony Lynn as the next Bills head coach and he would have been challenged to find a way to work with Doug Whaley.
So when the buzz started happening when Sean McDermott entered the picture, I felt that familiar struggle to “BILLieve” he would be the next savior of the franchise. Then he opened his mouth and started talking about the importance of the intangible aspects of the game… the characteristics he preferred in players he wanted to come together as a team.
McDermott started speaking ‘wyobabble’ about how much character and behavior mattered to him. When I watched the draft and how he moved up and down the board seeking out players with the exact attributes he described… color me SHOCKED.
Now we have Brandon Beane as a general manager, a guy cut from the same cloth and road tested working with McDermott. When has that type of relationship EVER happened in Bills history? Color me SHOCKED again.
This is either the universe’s cruelest joke or the beginning of the end of an unimaginably long dynasty of despair. Either way, I “BILLieve” because I’m still breathing.