“This is for the win,” called commentator Charlie Jones. Buffalo’s Rich Stadium was filled with tense Bills fans trying to get a good look at the field. “It will be a 31 yard field goal attempt. Only 50 percent made for Steve Christie between the 30- and 40-yard line this season… Right down the middle! Bills win!” The greatest comeback in NFL history, against the Houston Oilers 19 years ago, was one of the Buffalo Bills’ high points in their history. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many for me to see.
My dad is a huge Buffalo Bills fan because he was born in Western New York. So even though we now live in Patriots country, where I was born, my dad forced me to be a Bills fan. He always jokes with me, “If you don’t root for the Bills, you have to sleep outside.” At least I think he’s joking.
The Bills weren’t always bad. They actually won four AFC Championships in the 1990s (If you were wondering, they lost all four Super Bowls). They also had players like Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, and the great Thurman Thomas. But somehow, it seems the Bills have a tough time winning the big games.
Dad says it’s a curse. Mom says it’s just bad luck. On January 8, 2000, in an AFC Wild Card game against the Titans, the Bills thought they had won the game on a 41-yard field goal by Christie with 16 seconds left. A backup punt returner for the Titans named Kevin Dyson was in for Derrick Mason, the regular returner. Dyson had never returned a kick before. After Christie kicked the ball to the Tennessee’s 25, Lorenzo Neal started sprinting up with the ball. He handed it off to Frank Wycheck, who threw is across to a wide-open Dyson on the left side of the field. Dyson sprinted into the end zone for a Titans score. The Bills haven’t been back to the playoffs since. I was born the next month.
Since the time I was born, the Bills record is 76 wins and a monstrous 116 losses! In the 10 years before I was born, their record was a whopping 113 wins and only 65 losses. It hasn’t been all bad. I’ve had the chance to watch guys such as Marshawn Lynch, Lee Evans, and Marcell Dareus.
Even though times have been tough for the Bills there are still lots of things for fans to look forward to, including some of the best tailgating in the NFL. Buffalo has “Pinto Kenny” who cooks food on the hood of his 1980 Ford Pinto parked in the famous “Hammer’s Lot.” Care for a Buffalo wing fried in an army helmet? How about a pizza baked in a filing cabinet? Kenny actually eats a tiny bite out of a 25-year-old bag of potato chips before each game for good luck! Want to meet a Hall of Fame quarterback? Bills legend Jim Kelly tailgates with fans before most games! You won’t see that in other NFL cities!
Being a Bills fan in Connecticut is tough. There are the taunts from my Patriots-loving friends, and I only getting to share Bills news with my friend Cameron (his dad is also from Western New York). Overall though, it’s fun to root for them. I know that one of these days they’re sure to win the Super Bowl. Go Bills!