I might be charged with “writing while pissed,” but here goes.
I love the Bills. Bleed for them. Give them my heart. And I believe that Little Buffalo in NYC is the best-possible place to be on Sunday outside of the stadium, win or lose.
But for the first time I can remember — and perhaps for my first time as an adult — this past Sunday I willingly and voluntarily didn’t watch a Bills game to completion. Quit with maybe five minutes to go.
As a fan I understand the impact of key injuries. I can handle losing. Getting outplayed. Too-cute play calling in scoring situations. Even stupid mistakes like missed coverages, bad kicks and dropped balls. Typically, I still have fun watching. Bad days happen. And I can accept the occasional heat-of-the-moment penalty, or penalties that are designed to send a message.
But continued sloppiness and lack of discipline in the form of ridiculous, often unsportsmanlike-like penalties? For not the first time this season? I drew the line there today. This isn’t an aberration. It’s a trend.
The team embarrassed me this week, and more to the point they should be embarrassed in themselves. Football’s just a game for us — we can go to work, hang out with our friends, and move on. But the Bills themselves? They must feel like crap right now — more so than after a typical loss. At least, I hope they do.
Coach Rex talks big and seems to thrive on being the lightning rod, so setting aside the personal accountability of some elite, highly paid athletes who need to take a good look in the mirror, I’ll put this appalling lack of discipline squarely on him. I figured he’d put this development squarely on his shoulders, but that wasn’t the case. He says he won’t change anything “but the result.” I love the sense of energy he’s brought to the team and community…but, let’s see where this takes us.
To me, it’s like he’s got these guys all super-charged with no sense of how to channel that energy. And then when things go bad, too many guys lose their sense of professionalism. As badly as they played, they still had a chance to win. And once again they got in their own way.
Yes, I could easily pick on the lack of offense, the pass defense, etc. But, for me, it comes back to discipline and professionalism. Fix that or ultimately nothing else matters.
On a side note, what’s with that constant train whistle they play in the stadium? I found that incredibly annoying and kind of bush league. That may just be my disgust talking.
Regardless, this particular train — the 2015 season — has left the station. We’re now a quarter of the way through the season. 2-2 is way different from 3-1, especially in the midst of a very winnable stretch of games. They need to win at least 8, and perhaps 9, of their final 12 to have a playoff shot. But first they need to beat the Titans while also proving they’re professionals. And grown ups. I’m predicting they will. There’s too much talent for them not to pull it together next week. I think. I hope!
They’ll need all the good vibes they can get from Little Buffalo.