An often-asked question is what is the hardest skill in sports. Many aficionados would say hitting a baseball. I, on the other hand, would say being a Buffalo Bills fan. How can a team accomplish so much yet so little? A team full of stars like Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, and Bruce Smith, and yet another disappointing season. Such a gifted and deserving team walks away empty again.
I've been a Bills fan all my life, and I will die as one too. It's hard to sit at home week after week and watch your favorite team give it 110%, and still come up short. It doesn't matter who your team is, but if you're a Bills fan, you know it's different. In these past five years we have seen one of the most brilliant teams in football history in the Buffalo Bills. Four straight Super Bowl appearances: an unprecedented feat. Yet the Bills remain the butt of many jokes because they've lost all of them. The respect is not there and doesn't look like it will be.
This year all the "so-called" expert sports writers gave the Bills no chance of making the playoffs, never mind winning the AFC East. I recall seeing predictions of the Jets finishing ahead of the Bills. Basically, they were written off, with Frank Reich and Don Beebe off to Carolina, and Darryl Talley heading for Atlanta, the season looked really dim. Little did anyone know that a free agent from Green Bay, Bryce Paup, would come over and help the Bills shock the football world yet again. The Bills end up going 10-6, winning the AFC East, and Paup ends up leading the NFL with 17.5 sacks and winning the defensive player of the year award. In the first round of the playoffs, the Bills blew out the Dolphins and sent Don Shula into retirement. Just when people braced themselves for a possible Super Bowl return after a one-year absence, the Bills got dismantled in Pittsburgh the following week, thus bringing a sigh of relief from most of the football world, but bringing nothing but shattered dreams to the Buffalo faithful. Was this their final run, or do they have one more left?
There are so many important things in life which make football seem insignificant. It seems silly to get caught up in the emotion of the game, yet it happens. The Buffalo Bills will always be a part of me, even if they never see the Super Bowl again. It's hurt to see their disappointments year after year. You feel like you're a part of them. Even though the Bills have put me and other fans alike through an emotional
roller coaster, in the end you have to remember it's only a game. l
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.