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Mike Schopp's Blog



Schopp: There's nothing like an underdog

I'm going to be 40 in six weeks and like many of you I'm still waiting for my first major sports championship. (Yes, be advised that for this article the "major sports" are the following: football, hockey.)

I'm in no position or mood to be greedy. A Sabres team that wins the Stanley Cup by slowing their sport to a halt will work just fine. A Bills team of troublemakers and malcontents would, in the end with trophy in hand, still suffice.

But these aren't ideal scenarios. Can Buffalo beggars also be choosers? If so, give me a high-scoring Sabres team with tons of grit and personality, and even perhaps a local hero or two to captain the ship.

They're very far away from winning the Super Bowl, but this Bills team right now is the perfect team for the job.

The Land of Misfit Toys from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" has nothing on these guys. It's the general manager -- a scouting lifer never before given a chance to, if not make all the big moves, at least speak at the podium. It's the coach -- a rubber ball bouncing from job to job in relative obscurity. It's the quarterback -- a late-round Ivy Leaguer whose leading stat was his SAT score and not his passer rating. And so on.

These Bills are a perfect fit for us.

Over the last few years it has sounded to me that many fans around here had come to accept our teams' second-class approach. We can't have the great players, we figured, so let's do our best to espouse the virtues of the guys we have. It's a sort of rationalization. As this Bills season approached we sounded just the same.

There is no substitute for talent, but this team so far has not only won both its games -- it's impressed by how capable it's been. There surely are some teams that are so good that Ryan Fitzpatrick won't evoke Jim Kelly comparisons when he faces them. But how many of those teams are there, and more to the point, how many of them are on the Bills' schedule? Footballoutsiders.com's Aaron Schatz, who before the season predicted that the Bills would probably win 7-8 games, says history shows that an offense this prolific through two games is likely to hang out in and around the Top 10 all season.

Translation: These guys should beat some people.

But right now just how good they are, how capable, is unclear. What is clear is that this band of underdogs is very appealing to a town that is comfortable with nothing else. 

Now go win some games. For crying out loud, I'll be 40!


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Topics : Sports
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Locations : Buffalo
People : Aaron SchatzIvy LeaguerJim KellyRyan Fitzpatrick




 
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