Buffalo Bills: Things We Know This Week
A whole bunch of you fine readers probably recognize my better than bad work. All-three- of- you have critiqued my writing in the past pointing out my surplus of shortcomings. I am mindful that all of the names I have been called were unintentional. I forgive you. I really have no idea where I would be without my brutally honest disciples . I should be flattered because it is not every day that a writer has three of three, yes 100% of regular readers, follow them to a new platform. Blessed I am, indeed. Yoda dialog unintended. I know my large following is very impressive, so I am struggling with humility. Just a case of the nerves. “New Guy Anxiety.”
A little bit about my history as a Bill fan. I began watching the Bills on TV around the time “Juice ” was bartered to the 49ers. “Fergie” successfully had the organization change the white helmets to red to reduce the picks he was tossing. My Godfather took me to me inaugural game in 1983 against Jim Plunkett and the Raiders, as the Bills lost to the black and silver 27-24. An abundance of losing was in place at that time. Most of my attending sporting events in person as a child consisted of the Sabres at the old Aud or Bisons baseball at the old home of the Bills, the Rockpile. Hockey was my prefered sport at that time. I played ice hockey. Goalie was my calling and wearing the rinks goalie equipment was my option until I proved it was going to be long term passion. My Uncle coached the team. My late father chose to stand behind the glass, as opposed to the bleachers. It gave him the opportunity to not miss exactly how and where the puck got by me and in to the net. The rink did not enforce the NO-POUNDING-ON-THE-GLASS rule. How convenient aiding in a father and son keeping an open line of communication. This way my car ride home after a loss could become an excellent means of coaching and training.
I watched the Bills earlier in life on TV with my late father. He talked to the TV and Bills in a similar fashion as he communicated with me from behind the rink glass. I really started focusing on the Bills when terminated the employment of short time coaches Kay Stevenson followed by Hank Bullough. The Chuck Knox glory days were in the rearview mirror. Bill Polian was working his magic beginning with hiring Marv Levy as the head coach. Watching Kelly improve on his Miami days as well as his USFL career.
I attended a couple games with friends that were not memorable in Levy’s first couple of seasons. I did go to another Raiders game in 1988 which was one of the most bitter cold games in Bills history. Strangers were sharing blankets. For those locals who recall the Seneca Mall, the game was an organized event of a group of the stores employees at the dying mall. I was employed at Open Country Shoe Store, while my sister was directly across spying on me as she worked at size 5-7-9. I only was employed there from the summer until Christmas as the store went out of business Christmas Eve. For such a short time there, it was my favorite job of my teens. The water fountains. The fireplace. The whale you could sit on. My Pizza. Not My Pillow, as much as I respect Mike Lindell and his late night commercials. His products are top tier. Made right in his home state of Minnesota in the good old USA. The Bills fought off the Antarctic conditions and schooled the Raiders 37-21. I just shivered thinking about that game.
We attended several other games that season as they shocked the world with a 12-4 record. The Almost-A- Dynasty-Team had arrived. A buddy and I actually visited our great friend who was ill at the hospital and watched the AFC East clinching game smack in the middle of the medical World. The Bills beat the Jets with a Fred Smerlas blocked field goal. The goalposts came down for one of several times throughout so much domination.
We attended the first Bills playoff game in many years beating Houston 17-10. A van full of the boys traveled to Cincinnati for the Bills loss in the AFC Championship game. The Ickey Shuffle simply distracted the team. So the Bengals moved on to the Dance where Joe Montana finished them off. Joe Cool spotted John Candy in the stands and used that as a tension breaker in the huddle as they completed the comeback to be crowned world champions. I believe BUD-BOWL stole the show at that particular SuperBowl. Or was it Spuds Mckenzie? Stay on topic Scott.
I attended the next seasons Rams Monday Night game where Franck Reich began his legacy. We ran out after our last class next door at Erie community College to the Rich Stadium parking Lot. Our Tailgate began in the late morning for a 9PM game. The Reich led comeback was against Bills former stud running back, Greg Bell. Jim Everett was the Rams star quarterback at that point of time. He was not that far removed from flipping the desk over when Jim Rome called him Chris Evert more than once. Rome’s TV days soon evolved in to the Jungle, his long running nationally syndicated radio show. I am blithesome that his show is the surviving long running presentation and the Fabulous Sports Babe finally went bye bye. Feel free to hit pause on this and really reminisce about the Fabulous Sports Babe and her trendy sunglasses. I do not know if she wore them with Corey Hart at night, but she sported them in doors with dim light.
We made the trip to Cleveland where Jim Kelly was developing in to a SuperStar in front of our eyes. Ronnie Harmon dropped a sure touchdown pass from kelly and never heard the end of it. He was not on the Bills too much longer. No surprise as Buffalo pickpocketed Thurman Thomas prior to the previous season in the second round. What a steal based on an injury. Hall of Fame, but of course. His Peak performance and stats surely would have landed him as a very early first overall draft pick, if not number one. Who would have known? Thurman used the draft film coverage as motivation watching all of the teams who passed on him. I do not really believe that was needed. He ran with both grace and power and did break tackles taking it long distances often for the score.
The very memorable 1990-91 season played out where my roommate and I were handed the golden ticket to attend what became known as the 77 second miracle against Denver. The Bills back then were dangerous every snap.They used on-side kicks so many times getting the ball back to complete so many comebacks that they made look so very easy.
I attended the Miami playoff game which of course the Bills won fairly easily. This would come to be the beginning of the Brian Cox rivalry. The Bills had a knack of getting under his skin. He reacted and overreacted time after time. The Bills had beat the Raiders earlier that season. This did not change as they put a pure beating on them in the AFC Championship game. 51-3. Hello! How does a team make it to the AFC Championship only to be dismantled. Bo knows football. Unfortunately he was injured which was very common in his short career. He did not dress for that huge game.
The next season I was a college transfer lad, so my viewing of the games were on the tube then. We did drive home from college up in the upper Peninsula of Michigan to Buffalo attending the Carlton Bailey AFC Championship game. The Bills pulled it off at the very end.
We drove back to Marquette the morning after the Bills victory. Mark Maddox played his college ball in the wooden dome for the division two Northern Michigan Wildcats. Unbelievable. NMU was a hockey school who had just won the national hockey title the previous year. Bills scouts found talent everywhere. They plucked Maddox out of the U.P. who became quite a contributor. He was also snagged by The Buffalo News to write a players perspective of all of the events occurring between the AFC title and the actual Super Bowl. Smart guy. Smart player. NMU Wildcat=priceless.
We talked so much smack being our second Super Bowl in a row to our classmates and Fraternity Brothers. My friend had a ticket for the game coming on a plane from Buffalo with his father and posse with the final destination of Minneapolis. We phoned ahead, unlike the movie road Trip, setting up accommodations at our fraternities chapter. Great Hosts. My friends dad and crew had to suck it up and stay at a five Star hotel. No mattress on the floor for them. No huge Saturday night mixer bash in the Fraternity House basement for those grown ups at a silly hotel. My roommate and I tagged along for the car ride with the intentions of partying in the Twin cities. We planned on watching the the game at a pub . Then my buddy with the ticket took control and started working the local Minneapolis scalpers. For me. He was very aggressive on a mission I was not aware of when he talked me in to tagging along. He had never intended on having me, from Buffalo, be on the outside of the dome. He got me a ticket for $200. Times have changed. He actually wasted some valuable scalping time having the seller follow us to an ATM where he played around for awhile. As it got later, he gave the seller $120 and wrote him a check for $80. Unbelievable. That is indeed my Super Bowl ticket acquiring story.
We did pop in to the Bud Bowl tent and attended the AFC pep Rally at a mall. I had the distinct privilege of standing at a urinal in which the Tiny Tot of the Kilowatt, Art Wonder, Artie Baby Boo Boo, was doing his thing next to me. Jealous? This is a radio and TV celebrity in Buffalo. he hired Irv Weinstein at WKBW . He met the Beatles in New York City while employed at WOR. Yes, I actually used the facilities next to a man who met the Beatles. I am sure he is related to Kevin Beacon in some manner. Jealous? I did not think so. My seat at the “Show” was smack in the middle of all RedSkins fans. They were talented singers as they aimed their tomahawk chops in my directions singing “Hail To The RedSkins”. It only got more fun as the Skins started kicking our behinds. Good thing I painted my face and had Bills gear on from head to toe. The Post game excitement consisted of searching many watering holes for my roommate without a ticket. Why was he not at the bar we ditched him in front of? It was out of business. Oops. We did not use our second night reservation at the Delta Chi House and drove straight back to Marquette in complete silence. My roommate tried complaining about us leaving him alone. My friend who attended the game quickly diffused that telling him to shut up, our home team just got spanked at the SuperBowl. He also told him to quit crying. he established the fact that if Wayne Fonse and Rodney Peete landed the Lions in the SuperBowl in some warped universe, we would have watched the game at a bar while he supported his Lions in person. No more conversation or even the radio all of the way back to Marquette. I believe we had some healthy dinner at a Hardees along the way. Yum.
I have attended many home games throughout the winning of the 90’s and throughout the draft. I attended the Montana quarterbacked Chiefs AFC Championship game which the Bills won.
The same friend who purely willed me in to the SuperBowl, also provided me a seat at the Comeback game. No bragging here. We were ready to leave when Houston scored early in the third quarter. The only reason we saw the comeback was because the two friends who we drove with sat on the other side of the stadium. We had no idea exactly where. We did not own the Zack Morris cell phone. We saw history by no works of our own.
I did go to the old Pontiac Silverdome to the Thanksgiving afternoon game outside of Detroit back in the fall of 1994.. All of my Fraternity Brothers that we talked smack at the previous years bragging about the no-huddle and Thurmanator. Buffalo received an old fashion schooling at the hands of the Detroit Lions on national TV. It was humbling. Humility is a virtue, right?Many of my Fraternity brothers taunted me deservingly so. I must admit that they really showed mercy, unlike if roles were reversed. Marv Levy was out coached by Wayne Fontes. Dave Craig outplayed Jim Kelly. Barry Sanders did not quite match his college teammate, Thurman Thomas in yards, but Sweet Barry scored a Touchdown. Oh, and he won.
I was fortunate enough to attend Jim Kelly’s last NFL game which was unknown at the time of the show. What a complete unparallel honor watching Jim Kelly’s career. That said, it is an honor that his retirement dreamhouse built in Virginia was sold. Jill and Jim were not going to leave the Queen City. Like many other athletes who resist initially coming to Buffalo, Kelly simply is a Buffalonian up and down.
I attended a Flutie regular playoff game in addition to several regular season games. Yes i have my Flutie Flakes box on my basement bar. I wore a classy T-shirt to a late 90’s Kentucky Derby. It had graphics on the front. “Who needs a big Johnson when you have a little Flutie?” If you are unfamiliar this is not inappropriate smut. It references the Rob Johnson vs, Doug Flutie soap opera type quarterback controversy.
I unfortunately hit up a couple disappointing Toronto debacles. The Toronto series was a complete disaster. The people in front of me at one particular game had acquired their tickets earlier in the week under their car’s windshield wipers, in a downtown Toronto parking ramp. That just about outdid the pumped-in crowd noise. The TV cameras never showed angles with the empty seats. Russ Brandon could have been excommunicated at One Bills drive for the ridiculous Toronto series which would have saved him the embarrassment of the investigation of his actions after his sudden resignation years later.
Many home games throughout the Great Drought which actually had a neighbor of mine make it clear that this was a generational historical playoff drought. His son experienced birth, was baptised, began kindergarten, passed his road test, gained employment, graduated high school, voted, started college and began dating his current fiance and became a father all between Bills playoff appearances. Ay, caramba !
I did travel to Chicago for the Bears home opener against the Bills in 2014. The Bills snuck out a win with EJ Manuel behind center.
We crossed the pond to the Bills/Jags game in the United Kingdom.at Wembley Field in 2015. E.J. did not treat us as well this time like he did in Chicago. He was filling in for the injured Tyrod Taylor. He put the Bills in such a hole that a late comeback effort gained some momentum only to fall short. The trip was fantastic as we saw U2 at the “O” huge concert complex. We also saw David Gahan from Depeche Mode with his Soul Savers side gig. It was a very small and intimate venue. .
Well I will never bore my three fans again giving you history about some of my experiences as a Bills fan. This was scaled down selectively from Rated R and adjusted it to PG-13. We watched the Mister Rogers movie the other day and I learned so very much. I have not mastered to toss my tennis shoe from one had other while changing from dress shoes. Wouldn’t you…couldn’t you..I digress.
Things We Know About The Buffalo Bills This Week:
-Brandon Beane conceded that the draft is loaded at Wide Receiver and the Bills have no specific type or size in mind. I would say since they have their signings from last year, they surely should have a big strong number one level Wide Receiver. A reciever that Josh Allen can throw the ball up and let the number one wideout go up and come down with the ball. I would gather he has a style of wideout in mind and just plays the interview game.
-Leslie Frazier has been promoted to Assistant Head Coach of the Bills. He has done a magnificent job in his three season with Buffalo as the defensive coordinator.Congratulations Mr. Frazier.