Why do I cheer for Buffalo sports teams? I do so, because I get double the fun out of it. Since watching my first Super Bowl game in 1990, I’ve been a fan of the Buffalo Bills. For 23 years I’ve seen highs and lows, in fact, I started cheering for them at their peak, and have watched them go slowly downhill from there. Now they are the perennial underdog and for the last few seasons, always seem to gel as a team the moment they are mathematically eliminated from the Wild Card spot. It is because of this fact, that as a fan of the Bills, I also get to cheer for another team, my “play-off team”, the Green Bay Packers.
Yup. See the Bills haven’t made the playoffs since 1999. That’s a drought older than my oldest child, who’s now a teenager. Pretty sad. Regardless of their on-field performance, I am just not ready to give up on them, wont ever unless the team moves. However out of tragedy, comes opportunity. The Bills can’t make the playoffs, haven’t made the playoffs. So I get the opportunity to cheer for another team, one that actually does get into the playoffs year after year, the Packers.
Should the Bills finally make it to the playoffs, I can cheer for them both, as one is AFC and one is NFC. The only time I really have to worry about having to choose, is if they both made it to the Super Bowl. Given Buffalo’s team last season, that’s going to be a while.
Moving to the Sabres. Cheered for the Oilers until Gretzky went south. Cheered for Boston after that until Ottawa got a team (Toronto’s still waiting for that0. However, I’ve been a fan of the Sabres since going down to a few games when I went to college in Oakille back in 1996 and 1997. That was a great time. Dominick Hasek in goal, Mike Peca playing center, great hockey. Ted Nolan behind the bench too. It was a great atmosphere in Buffalo, fun hockey to watch. Not overpriced nonsense like Toronto’s dogs-breakfast of a team that fans are stupid enough to shell out money for. Buffalo hockey was fun and affordable. It had personality, grit.
Fast forward to ’99 and their run at the cup. Buffalo had a great season, made it to the finals, they were the underdog (I always cheer for the underdog), and they were robbed by Brett Hull (Screw you HULL!). The team was still the underdog and didn’t do bad under Lindy Ruff, not bad at all. But they haven’t made the playoffs, in a few seasons, and so, I have a backup team too, or a “playoff team”, the Ottawa Senators. The Sens have made the cup finals, they also had Hasek on their team, and are a small-market team where they make an effort to put a good product on the ice (unlike the Leafs).
So with that I get the best of both worlds, I can cheer for my fun, teams, my die hard teams, which if they make it to the playoffs, great. But then I get to cheer for teams that actually try to go somewhere in the playoffs (sorry Toronto).
In reality, I wish I only had to cheer for one team, but so far the Bills and the Sabres haven’t made that easy for me.