“I got a rock.”
– Charlie Brown, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Another f-ing rock.
Good goddamn grief.
It’s only fitting that the Chiefs game took place on Halloween – another game, another rock for the Charlie Browns of the NFL. Rock after rock after f-ing rock. If this were one of the Halloween movies, we’d be the happy, horny and dim high school couple so naively scurrying into the woods for a harmless romp, not recognizing the unspeakable horrors that, in retrospect, so obviously awaited us. We should come with our own ominous theme music and creepy old guy (Ralph Wilson in a trench coat?) warning us of the dangers ahead – all of which we’d ignore, of course. The dumb high schoolers are always the last to know, when it’s too late.
It didn’t have to be this way, we say. But, deep down, we know that it in fact HAD to be this way. Good breaks, bad breaks…it doesn’t really matter. You know the drill, so you don’t really need me to recount what you saw with your own eyes – once again Lucy, or perhaps it was simple fate, pulled the football away.
Twisting the knife a little deeper for me personally was the fact that this was my first game at McFadden’s in quite a while, having watched at Calico Jack’s in recent years. It was the same tremendous environment I have always loved at McFadden’s – they really do an amazing job for us – and I couldn’t help but think back to another Halloween when the late, great Buffalonian Tim Russert visited us and even posed for a photo I still treasure. I spoke with him for a total of, maybe, 90 seconds, but I can’t help but think that after this game, he would have hung his head, shook it slowly, chuckled, and chalked it up to the unique plight of the Bills fan. Or, maybe he would have put his hand though a wall, what do I know? Ninety seconds and reading Big Russ doesn’t make me an expert.
But maybe, just maybe, he would have paraphrased our collective alter ego/poster child Charlie Brown:
“Sometimes I lie awake at night,” said Charlie, “and I ask, ‘Where have I gone wrong?’ Then a voice says to me, ‘This is going to take more than one night.’”
Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but laugh when I left McFadden’s, as the DJ played Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” That probably sums up Bills fans in a nutshell — half of us probably view the song as an anthem for those who never give up…and the other half view it as the last thing Tony Soprano heard before going face down in his onion rings.