Boys (and chicks, sup!), they finally did it. The Bills and most importantly, Bills Mafia, are in the playoffs! Now before I get to far ahead of myself, let me give you this disclaimer: I am a Packers fan first and foremost, but I have always been a Bills supporter. I am not one of these Johnny come lately’s who have only recently witnessed Bills Mafia and the flaming tables and decided this would be a fun team to root for. Not me. Card carrying member of the Mafia for a decade plus. How you might ask?
Well I loved Jim Kelly and he was a really neat guy. He autographed some stuff for me at a pro bowl when I was a kid, and if you think I’m super impressionable now as a dude who is almost (allegedly) 30, you should have seen me as an 11 year old kid. It hit the mark with me. I remember watching ridiculous Flutie comebacks with my dad. He was small and crazy and fun as hell to watch. Flutie was too. Lee Evans, who was one of my favorite Badgers was drafted there, and I thought he would be good! Then Twitter got invented by some nerd in Silicon Valley and the exploits of the Bills Mafia began to grow and grow to the levels it has reached today.
But the team lost. Alot. Sure there a few 9-7 years sprinkled in among the shit, but it was almost comical at times the ways they would lose football games. I will never forget the game where the Bills were up by 21 at the end of the first quarter, then the Pats scored 49 unanswered points in a meaningless game for both teams where the Pats already had home field advantage locked up, yet played every starter because Belichick is Satan. The Bills were the kings of consistently starting out 4-2 or 5-3 only to finish 7-9 or 6-10. I seriously think that if there wasn’t an even shittier team on Lake Erie, the Bills would receive the same public scorn that the Browns do. You could just as easily play the quarterback game with the Bills as you do with the Browns. After the 99′ playoff year with Flutie, it was Rob Johnson (?), Alex Van Pelt, Drew Bledsoe, J.P. Losman (I thought he’d be good!), Kelly Holcomb, Trent Edwards (I thought he’d be good!), Ryan Fitzpatrick (keep gettin’ them checks, Ryan), Brian Brohm, EJ Manuel (I thought he’d be good!) Bad Thad Lewis, Jeff Tuel, Kyle Orton, and Matt Cassel before finally landing on the passing efficiency gawd Tyrod Taylor. That’s maybe not as many wasted first rounders and shitty veteran QB’s as the Browns, but its pretty close! That’s what makes the decision earlier this season to bench Tyrod against the Chargers so maddening. For quarterbacks with more than 20 starts for the Bills, Tyrod is the only one with a winning record since Flutie. He doesn’t throw interceptions. He has greatly cut down on his fumble rate. He is super efficient. He had (gulp) Rex Ryan as his head coach and somehow had a .500 record during that time. His number 1 weapon in Sammy Watkins (I thought he’d be good!) was traded and Matthews was acquired. He is just as injured as Sammy was. Then they acquired Benjamin. Yes, they brought a guy with a weight problem to the wing capital of the world. And after all that, we had Sean “I believe in Tyrod” McDermott give the shittiest excuse ever for starting ‘he who shall not be named’. It was mind blowing, was counter to everything the team was doing on the field, and a flat out embarrassment. But the team pressed on, won my favorite football game of the season against the Colts (because of the snow guys, not because ‘he who shall not be named’ suffered a concussion and we got Tyrod back), and straight piss pounded Miami. Twice.
So here they are at 9-7, ready to square off against the Jaguars in one of the weirdest playoff match-ups in recent memory . I’m not gonna bullshit you, the AFC flat out stinks this year. Any other year this would have been just another regular old 7-9 Bills team. But it’s not any other year. 2017 had proven that in just about every aspect. And as I sit in my shitty apartment and stare out at negative -10 degree weather, I can state without any hesitation that Hell has indeed frozen over. The Bills are in the playoffs. Consider the wagons circled.