In the ancient Mayan culture, the ruling priesthood practiced a form of self-injury, where they would deliberately wound themselves in a ritual exercise. Self-harm is defined as a conscious infliction of pain upon oneself. In our culture, these acts may be designed to relieve unbearable emotions, or may be a symptom of depression or even mental illness.
As a Buffalo sports fan, I believe I can wholeheartedly relate to this description.
To be a fan of our beloved Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres is to know heartache. It’s safe to say that we’ve been subjected to a last second, buzzer-beating, overtime, wide rights, knife in the back losses than most other die-hard sports fans.
Einstein had it right
And yet we keep coming back for more.
Albert Einstein unknowingly defined our pain with a pithy phrase. He said that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If that’s the case, we all need to jump off our team’s bandwagons, strap on the straightjacket and take a ride on the paddy wagon to the nearest asylum.
Our memory lane seems to be now laden with hot, burning embers. Nevertheless, let’s remove our shoes and socks and take a stroll anyway, shall we?
I remember the waning moments of Super Bowl XXV when Marv Levy joined hands with Lofton, Reed and the other players of that memorable team. It was the famous field goal miss that cost the Bills the Super Bowl but displayed their unity nonetheless. I was a young teenager at the time, but I had followed the Bills since childhood.
We were eager for a championship, still smarting from the previous year and “The Drop” by Ronnie Harmon in the AFC Divisional Playoff game. I too had instinctively locked hands with those around me, some of them people I barely knew.
But the ball sailed a few feet outside of the upright, and the Bills have never been as close to the Vince Lombardi trophy since.
Outside of those four straight AFC Championships and Super Bowl blowouts, the Bills have truthfully been mediocre to awful. Oh, there were those few teams in the mid-90s that teased us with playoff losses in 1995, 1996 and 1998. But as those Jim Kelly era teams slowly were dismantled, so were our aspirations for a championship.
The last time the Bills even qualified for post-season play, in 1999 against the Tennessee Titans, they suffered a loss so heartrending and identifiable; it has become a Wikipedia entry.
Music City Miracle / Home Run Throwback
The Music City Miracle was one of the most astonishing playoff losses in #NFL history.
Throughout the first half, the Bills were determined to shoot themselves in the foot. Surfer Boy QB Rob Johnson, a surprise start, was sacked six times, including one for safety. The Bills had gained only 20 yards more than they gave up in penalties.
Somehow, with just a buck and a half left on the game clock, a one-shoed Johnson led the Bills into field goal range, and Steve Christie kicked it true. Then the impossible happened. If you want the details, here is the painful YouTube reminder:
I remember the camera shot of befuddled Wade Phillips after the Titan’s Home Run Throwback. He was shaking his head as if he knew the call would be overturned.
But under that forged steadfastness, you could see the panic. Was there any question on the outcome? We all knew, deep in the pit of our guts, that the call would stand and that it was over. The Bills have yet to make the playoffs after that incident.