A View from Calico Jack’s – 9/4/2007

Maybe you’re like me; too often, I don’t appreciate things until it’s too late. I had girlfriends like that. I’ve had vacations like that. I’ve even had meals like that.

I’m determined not to let the Bills fall into that category. But, Lord, they make it hard.

As I approach what I hope will be (by my latest count) the viewing of my 257th consecutive regular season Bills game – granted, I’ve seen a few of them by video tape, but I never knew the outcome in advance – I realize this season could be different from the others.

No, not because we’re in season, what is it, 10 of our rebuilding program. Although, as an aside, I’ll speculate that there are players who’ve actually had fruitful careers and retired since we started “rebuilding.”

It’s because, for the first time, I actually, truly, really believe the Bills could be vulnerable to extinction.

Some of you will say, “What took you so long?” Others will say I’m being too pessimistic.

Hear me out for a moment. I’m writing this at 1:30 in the morning, and too tired and lazy to look up the specifics. But, if memory serves, the Bills were the team that broke the NFL’s consecutive-game sellout streak last year. The Bills were the team that didn’t sell out the Fish home game last year. The Bills are the team opening the season with six games (Denver, Pittsburgh on the road, the Pats on the road, the Jets, Cowboys and Ravens) that, based on last season, are very losable. The Bills are a team with an old, old owner who appears to have no succession plan. The Bills, we hear over and over again, are in a tiny, tiny market.

Combine that with the temptation the NFL no doubt feels to re-locate a franchise to LA or even, ahem, Canada. No wonder Chuck Schumer gets still more photo ops out of meeting with the league about how to save the Bills.

I don’t like this mixture of facts. If you forced me to lay odds, I’d still guess the Bills will stick around for a long time, and that eventually – I hope not soon – a new owner will turn this team around. But, I could be guilty of being an optimist rather than a realist.

My point being, I’m going to really try to enjoy the team this year. I always enjoy them, even when they lose, which they usually do. But, this time, in the moment, I’m going to really try to appreciate what this team has meant to me. I’ve lived in NYC for fully half my life at this point; the Bills are the main thing connecting me to home.

Let’s hope the team has a great year. But, even more important, let’s hope the team has a great future.

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