I’ve had recaps partially written the last few weeks. I promise. But then Wednesday would predictably roll around, too much of the post would be left to do, Bradley Gelber would incite unrelated rage in one way or another, my kid would poop himself, my wife would be justifiably mad at me for one thing or another, and I would give up. If I had any real sense that those recaps would have been good, or that anyone truly missed them, I would apologize. I do not, and you have not. Alas. Maybe you just come here for the podcasts, which is totally understandable as they are awesome, but even that proved too difficult this week after Scizz and my effort at a Halloween evening recording was ultimately unusable – a weird electronic distortion of our otherwise silky smooth voices, creating something way too close to the sound created by the device that creepy motherfuckers use on the phone whilst stalking/engaging in international espionage/playing pranks on their teachers/murdering teenagers in some suburban wasteland of the late 90s. We're trying again soon.
As for my writing, I got a new job a few weeks back, and before that I was steadily seeking employment with a level of anxiety that made spending too much time writing here seem foolish at best and, at worst, unconscionably dismissive of my duties as bringer-of-bacon to the homestead. All of which is to say that while this little internet playground we have here at DGWU Sports has been left largely free of the heavy tread of my #hotsportstake gait, it is all for very good reasons.
But while I have a few moments in between assignments at the new gig, let’s touch on a few of the things that I would have posted about previously but for my career, marriage, kid, and intoxication.
This would be much less infuriating if the Bills were good in a way that made me feel any confidence. They are not, so here we are.
I didn’t recap the Patriots’ visit to Orchard Park. I was fresh off of my job offer, my start date steadily approaching and my time to shoot hard drugs into my arm waning fast. The game was pretty ugly all around, with predictable appearances from the always dependable cast of characters that we know and love such as “Tom Brady passing for 350+ yards and 4 TDs,” “Doug Marrone being inexplicably terrible with clock management and also a huge fucking pussy,” “CJ Spiller being essentially omitted from the Bills’ offensive plans,” (I’ll take that pun, too), and, brand new this year, “The Bills absolutely shutting down the run, to no avail.”
I fucking hate the fucking New fucking England fucking Patriots. Also, everyone involved with Turtle Boy Sports can swallow a hand grenade.
I don’t think the Bills are a particularly good football team. They’re ok, which is to say that they’re better than last year and the year before, but still a long ways away from good. I said it on the Happy Endings podcast a week or two ago, and I still believe it – the failings of the offense and the propensity of the coaching staff to be big fucking wieners will combine to prevent the Bills from capitalizing on what may be their best defense in over a decade.
The win over the Vikings will sit poorly with me for a long time, I fear. No, not because CJ and Fred both went down with serious injuries and left the backfield functioning on a much lower plane, but that too, really. That Vikings game will probably sting because, like the Lions game two weeks prior, the Bills put another one into the win column and let the undeniably unreasonable hope of a fan base well up after a game which revealed a stunning laundry list of faults. I’m of the mind, year after year, that maybe it’s best for the inevitable to be revealed, in its stark sadness and wretched contours, as early as possible. The happiest Bills seasons for me in the last decade have been those that ended the earliest. Those that let us know not to hope sometime in September or October.
That win against the Vikings, for a team that’s quality remains to me highly suspect, did nothing more than push the inevitable end date far too close to Thanksgiving. I mean, fucking seriously, the last thing I want to be thinking about while I’m eating 10 pounds of turkey and associated carbohydrates is the possibility that the Buffalo might be playoff-bound. No thank you.
Also: the next time Doug Marrone sits on two timeouts with 50-60 seconds left while an opposing kicker lines up to attempt a 55 yard field goal, I riot. It’s two weeks later and, still, no one has been able to explain that move in a way that doesn’t make me want to push Marrone down an elevator shaft. Few things make me seriously violent, but Saint Doug performed a miracle and found one without even trying.
As bad as it was, and as frustrated as I was to see the Bills squeak out a win against a team they should have handled easily, the last drive was a series of delicious miracles that I would like to bottle and sell for all the doubloons. It was a last ditch effort by a team staring at 3-4 with all-too-few opportunities for easy wins remaining on their schedule. It should not have been necessary, but nevertheless set the stage for a trip to New Jersey that I will never forget.
This was a game that I was convinced would be a loss for the Bills, especially after the pool of good luck was so thoroughly abused vis a vis the boot of Alex Henery and Teddy Bridgewater’s inability to get plays off in time. The last two years, I attended the Bills’ visits to MetLife stadium with early season optimism born, respectively out of a lingering love for Fitzpatrick and a new fondness for EJ Manuel after seeing some impressive stuff from him at training camp. The results of those two games being what they were, I was dead-set against going to the game this year. Adding to the list of cons were (1) the mid-season cold weather; (2) the price of admission for a guy fresh off a four month bout with unemployment; (3) the fact that most of my expat crew in NYC was planning to skip it as well; and (4) the reality that the Bills were far-and-away the better team heading into Week 8 and, superstitious as I am, I was not interested in seeing Buffalo embarrassed by the worst Jets team since, as it turns out, the 90s.
Thank God I ultimately went.
In the end, it wasn’t until about midnight the night before that I decided to make the plunge, and even then it wasn’t until Jets season ticket-holders started giving their tickets away that I finally caved.
Professional football played 15 miles west of a city that routinely charges $4 for a cup of coffee, $1000 for a studio apartment, and $1,000,010 for a handjob and a million dollar apartment, was being offered, en masse, for free.
This is funny to me.
Now, I got my seat from a good buddy and happily joined him and his amazing Jets-loving family for the tailgate, but the trend of free seats being offered to anyone who would take them was widespread. The Jets are a truly horrible football team this season, the only solace for fans being that they have been let off the hook early (see above). I can only assume that the organization itself will start offering deals like “$20 for pair of tickets, plus $20 worth of concessions” in the hopes that maybe people will accidentally get too drunk to know that they have ordered $50 of food.
I could go into reasons that the Bills were disappointing, despite winning by 20, but if I’m being honest I was having way too much fun to notice anything other than all of the double rainbows and unicorns frolicking across the field for three hours. I got shockingly and delightfully intoxicated at a sporting event in which my squad curb-stomped a hated division rival. I tailgated with hilarious people who loved fun things and having a great time as much as me. I drank a whole bottle of wine straight from the bottle like the classiest of Essex County Dandies. I hot-boxed a van (twice) with adults of various generations. I threw popcorn at myself because I thought the Jets fans behind me were hogging all the fun. I hugged strangers, took a nap on the sidewalk while a 50 year old woman attempted to feed me sour cream and onion potato chips, giggled at the state of Jets fans after seeing Geno benched in the first quarter, and reveled in the thing of sports as community. On the road. With people that hated the standing Buffalo on my head and the Zubaz stripes down my legs, but were willing to look past all that and enjoy the day for what it was.
Maybe it’s just me, but it’s hard to see much wrong with that.
Here we sit, our squad with five wins and three losses, above .500 after eight games, sitting in a position far too rare and far too unappreciated at present. Thanksgiving is twenty-four days away and the Bills, as flawed as they are, might just find themselves in the mix, playoff dreams still on our minds.
In the meantime, the Chiefs and the Dolphins may bring the familiarity of hopeless Buffalo Bills football right back into focus soon enough, so I’ll be getting my thanks in early. The air is crisp, the wind chilled, and our Bills are still giving us reasons to want this season to last as long as possible.