Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cheering a Winless Team

I love sports. And I love rooting for my teams.

Sadly, this year I've divorced myself from all emotions when it comes to my love of the Buffalo Bills. I've done it for psychological reasons. The Bills are too terrible to care about. I'd only be causing myself emotional pain, stress, and angst if I cared about them this year.

Gregg Easterbrook, the TMQ of ESPN, wrote this in his weekly NFL column:

Sour Play of the Week: Reaching overtime for the second consecutive week, the Buffalo Bills, the NFL's sole winless team, faced fourth-and-7 on the Kansas City 40. Should Buffalo attempt a 57-yard field goal by Rian Lindell, one of the league's best place-kickers? Jacksonville won a game last month on a 59-yard field goal. Or should Buffalo go for the first down? Wait -- the league's only winless team cannot be punting in opposition territory in overtime! Boom went the punt, and it took Kansas City just two snaps to pass the point where the ball would have been had Buffalo gone for it and failed. Earlier in the contest, the league's only winless team punted on fourth-and-inches.

Buffalo has not reached the postseason in 11 years, and in that time had a succession of headmasters -- Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey, Dick Jauron -- who coached as though terrified of their own shadows. TMQ started the Preposterous Punts item after Williams, with the Bills trailing in the second half, ordered a punt on fourth-and-2 from the New England 32. Now Chan Gailey is coaching afraid, too, and you can't reverse years of losing psychology by running scared. In Buffalo's preseason opener, Gailey's first game wearing a Bills headset, Buffalo was down 21-3 and facing fourth-and-inches at midfield: Gailey sent in the punt unit. Sure, that was just a preseason game. But the message to players was "nothing has changed; we expect to lose just like last year and the year before that." And so far, Gailey is coaching as though he expects to lose.
I watched the game, too. And when I saw the punt team coming onto the field at the moment Easterbrook described, I forgot I didn't care about the Bills this year. I screamed my head off at the coach, "You haven't won a game! Why are you punting?! You don't deserve to win!"

Then I remembered that I don't care. I wasn't even upset when CBS stopped showing the overtime footage at 4:15 to "stay in accordance with NFL regulation." And I managed not to punch anything when the word came down that the Chiefs had gone on to win the game.

I don't care about the Bills this year. They haven't done anything to make me care again.

How many days until the draft?


Diana said...

It's so sad...I've gotten to the point that I don't care if they lose as long as they are CLOSE to winning. My throat still hurts on Sunday evenings from screaming and my head aches from the stress of watching the game...but still, every week at 12:30 I'm making myself comfy at the restaurant to do it all over again....the pains of being a Bills fan!

Mike said...

Ugh... I hear you. I just want to see them play wel and not get creamed. How sad is that?

Having said that, it has been nice to see them be competitive the last 3 weeks.

I will now go bang my head against the wall.