In deciding to put “Thoughts” out there on more social media platforms, I began to think about the endless amounts of content that is out there between fan and professional writers. To be very clear, I am a fan writer and have zero affiliation with the team or any other news outlet. I did receive my English degree and debating sports journalism for a short while, but then decided being able to eat and place a roof over my head was more important. With that being said, if you’re a first time reader of “A Few Thoughts about the Game” or a long time reader, I decided to write this introduction about myself and why you may want to keep reading. With that, here are a few thoughts, in no particular order…
1 – First Bills Memory – Bills football didn’t become an obsession to me until I was around 12 years old, but I remember wide right. My father and sister were watching the game and incredibly into it. I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of the moment nor would the chain of events that missed kick set off. By the time we accomplished the biggest comeback of all time, I was fully invested in the team and cried my first sporting tears after the following Super Bowl because I just couldn’t understand why they couldn’t win just one. Since then, I have never (and I mean NEVER) missed a game.
2 Dedication – When I took a commission sales job at Circuit City, I told my manager that I could not work on Sundays during football season. Unfortunately, they didn’t allow that for an availability, so I had to let them know my next rule: If I work when the Bills playing, I will be in the projection TV section with the DirecTV remote. If a customer needs help with projection TV’s, then I will answer them. But, if they want to shop for anything else, I would hand them off to other associates. Now, other associates learned to appreciate this because I also promised to give away any commissions from large TV’s that I happened to sell. I did this for two reasons: One, projection TV’s were the highest commission items in the store and I knew they wouldn’t like me camping out there. 2 – The register was too far away from the TV’s to be able to see the game. I was at work during the Music City Miracle and had to leave early that day.
3 – I’m Wrong….A Lot – Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way now. I was beyond pissed off when we drafted Josh Allen. It’s nothing personal against Allen, but when have you ever seen a college player fail at the collegiate level and have poor accuracy, but then magically figure it out at the NFL level? My QB ranking was Mayfield, Darnold, Rosen, Allen, and lastly Lamar. I never believed Darnold would be in play for us and figured the Browns or Jets would take him. Mayfield was such a wildcard who showed me just enough accuracy and swagger in college to believe he would fit perfectly in Buffalo. Now, to be clear, once 48 hours passed and I calmed down, I accepted Josh as our quarterback because at the end of the day, I support the Bills above all else and he was immediately my quarterback.
4 – Bill from NYC – Every week, this spot is reserved for lyrics from a band. In the beginning, these thoughts were actually written by someone I now consider a friend, Bill. He wrote these recaps every single week after a Bills game and it became a staple in my post-game review process. Some years back, Bill stopped writing his reviews and I really wanted to see that tradition continue. Bill and I spoke, and I’ve since carried on this tradition with his blessing. The title and format are all originally Bill’s and I’m incredibly thankful to him for helping me start on this writing journey. It’s just too bad that he’s an Alabama fan.
5 – The Grind – Writing a weekly review of the games was an undertaking that I didn’t realize would be as daunting as it is. You never want to write the same things week over week, but if you forget to mention Josh Allen once, people will lose their minds. For me, I make a point to mention key plays or players that had the biggest impact on the game. If a player is trending in a positive or negative direction, I will write about it maybe two or three times before I stop mentioning them at all because it simply gets old. This season, I’m really going to be paying attention to players in their third year, defensive evolution, the rushing attack, and how we fair against tougher competition. This is not to say that I’m restricting my topics, but more so the more pressing concerns I believe this team needs to figure out if they want to be Super Bowl Champions.
6 – Rules – What? Rules for a fan review? Having done this for a few years and reading feedback from fellow fans, I learned very quickly that you can’t please everyone and stats can be very misleading. With that being said, I have three rules that I do my best to adhere to with each weeks Thoughts. First rule is, I don’t google or reference any stats online when writing Thoughts. If I can’t take it as a note or pay attention to it while the game is happening, then it’s not going to be mentioned or it’ll be done as more of a reference. The second rule is, if you respond to my posts by singling out one sentence and ignoring the context of the thought, then do not expect a response. I can’t tell you how many times I’ll mention one bad play by a player in one sentence out of a paragraph praising him, and then read how I’m a hater. The final rule is, and this is more from me, never write angry. Like anyone else, I am very capable of having a temper tantrum following a tough loss. In those cases, I might not write my Thoughts until the next day because coming in level headed is incredibly important and vital to the success of these posts.
7 – Favorite Players – I’ve always been an underdog kind of guy. Frank Reich and Kenneth Davis were my early 90’s favorite players. While there were so many hall of famers on that team, I still don’t believe Thurman Thomas gets enough credit for what he brought to the game. He was Marshall Faulk before there was a Faulk. I wanted JP and EJ to succeed as they seemed like good kids, and quite honestly, felt desperate at that point. Taking current players out of the mix, it was impossible to not love Fitzpatrick and Stevie Johnson. I still hope Fitz signs a one day contract and retires as a Bill. He’s the one guy I still can’t root against.
8 – Most Disliked Players – While I have nothing against the name Chris, Kelsay and Watson were two of the most head scratching players I can remember watching during the drought. They stole every penny of their contracts here and the only two players I can ever remember rooting to against. Kelsay was the king of standing next to a pile up, but never in it. Watson was so consistently out of position and burned by opposing receivers that you had to wonder if it was intentional.
9 – Favorite Memories – While still trying to keep this in the drought and not wanting to reference other teams, my favorite memory was when Fitz beats the ****Patriots on the last second field goal after a 21 point comeback. Fitz, Fred Jackson, and really the whole team fought back in the most amazing way that game and I wish I was at the stadium because it seemed like the most electric atmosphere of the entire drought. It’s easy to want to mention the Bengals win over the Ravens, but we weren’t part of that game. However, I can say that I’ve watched the locker room reaction video more times than most.
10 – Thank you - I will be the first to say that I’m not an expert on the Bills more so than any other fan. I genuinely enjoy watching them, rooting for them, slowly making my daughter into a fan, and learning more about the game through footage reviews and other analysts. I’m so incredibly thankful to those that have been reading my Thoughts over the years and pushing me to put myself out there more for others to read. I don’t know where this will lead to, but I’m happy to find out.