OPINION: It’s not all bad… It’s mostly really good

In one of the toughest weeks to be a Bills fan, there is still lots of light at the end of the tunnel


I mean, woof.

What are we supposed to do with ourselves now? Have you looked at the forecast for Sunday? I did. Why did I do that? Why did I even bother thinking about Sunday’s existence?

Sunday? Who? Never heard of her.


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You want a silver lining? Eh... I’m more inclined to say that the whole shebang is gold right now, with just an awful heartbreak crap lining that will fade over time, I think.

There’s no guarantee they’ll ever get that Lombardi lining, but that’s why we watch. If you knew how things would play out, that’d ruin all the drama that sucks us in.

It’s a harsh reality in sports life. The sudden playoff loss, especially when the win was so close. However, I can’t help but look back to see how far this whole thing has come.

Let’s go over some of the good stuff.

Flat out, the Buffalo Bills are one of the coolest teams in the NFL. They are, at worst, cool.

They are, at best, one of the league’s darlings. I know there aren’t actually popularity ratings where other fans vote for the league’s Miss Congeniality, but the Bills have an air of that about them.

"Bills Mafia" survived the drought years and emerged as a philanthropic, table-jumping, college atmosphere duplicating, band of passionate fans that other fan bases want to get a taste of.

Did you notice that happening in the last few years? People around the NFL, and sports world have started to talk about wanting to experience a game here. Your friend that lives in Illinois that you haven’t seen in a year or two is all of a sudden texting, “Yo, thinking about coming up for a Bills game.”

Yeah, you remember the days of attending blacked out games in late November with Who Cares at quarterback and half the stadium empty because they’d gotten off to a 2-5 start with more punts at the halfway mark than they have in a full season now.

They’re fun to watch.

The franchise that had fans not joking about the best player being the punter (shoutout to Brian Moorman), has transformed into the heaviest passing team in neutral situations.

They’ve successfully drafted and developed one of the biggest freak show quarterbacks, and must-watch athletes in the sport. They keep showing up with emerging weapons in the passing game.

There’s proven No. 1 wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who was a founding father in putting this Bills game on the map. Add in flashy young targets like Gabriel Davis, Dawson Knox and Isaiah McKenzie and you start to see that you no longer live in the football world that used to exist.

You remember that one… the one where you’d have fantasy drafts every year and wait until Round 12 to touch a Bills player. I was in a league once where taking a Bills player meant you had to take a shot. Now? You have the top pick in fantasy drafts around the league.

Josh Allen is the kind of quarterback that is so good, and so important to a franchise, that we’ll probably playfully refer to the new stadium as “The House that Josh Built” the way they do that in Indianapolis for Peyton Manning with Lucas Oil Stadium.

His value to the league, to this franchise, and to this fanbase is immeasurable.

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The stadium is probably the next wall to knock down in this way.

While you, like me, may not fully support the location, or the funding, or the roof status, the Bills appear to be poised to head into yet another era of home certainty. They’ll have all these things that we saw every other fanbase get, and finally all of those boxes are getting checked off here.

No more a second-class franchise. The Bills appear to be here to stay for a bit.

The team used to play games in Toronto, and talk of moving the franchise hung over all of us like a storm cloud.

People have asked me all week how hard it is to host these group therapy sessions after a loss like that. How difficult it is to relive it. While it’s not exactly easy, it’s a hell of a lot better than the time where it really truly felt like the Bills were fading into irrelevancy so deep that the league was no longer something Buffalo should really feel a part of.

We talked about it amongst ourselves, and heard plenty of it on the outside too. Buffalo was a cute story. Buffalo has a nice little quarterback that’s doing pretty well! He’s good! “For Buffalo.”

It was this label that you couldn’t, and shouldn’t ever really expect to compete. There was about a 10-year stretch where the Bills felt a little bit like a “Group of Five” school in with the Power Fives.

No more.

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I know that it’s not always the best thing to ask someone going through a tough time to focus on the positive, but this is not even about that.

It’s just a look at where the Bills were. Look where we all were. Now we’re on a totally different ride, and with that ride will come devastating losses. Never had a loss like this in the 17-year playoff drought.

Now think about this loss, and how important it is to even have it. 17 years of no playoff losses, or an accepting the unknown number of playoff losses that will come with No. 17. Which would you choose?

So the road from here is uncertain, and there are necessary changes they’ll have to make. We’ve got an entire offseason to talk about them fine-tuning their roster. Free agency, the draft, the schedule release, and training camp all come as signposts to pass along the way.

We’ll be ready.

Appreciating where they are doesn’t mean anything about moral victories, or settling for what they’ve accomplished to this point. It just means that every once in a while, it’s a good idea to remember just how far this whole thing has already come.

Photo credit Losi and Gangi
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