El dueï¿½o de los Bills de Buffalo, Ralph Wilson, muestra su anillo de miembro del Salï¿½n de la Fama de la NFL el 1 de noviembre de 2009. Wilson falleciï¿½ el martes, 25 de marzo de 2014. (AP Photo/Dean Duprey, File)
Bulldog:The Buffalo Bills are not about winning and losing today. They are not about tax breaks, luxury boxes nor keeping up with the Jerry Joneses.
The Buffalo Bills are not about winning and losing today. They are not about tax breaks, luxury boxes nor keeping up with the Jerry Joneses.
The Buffalo Bills are about becoming a fan. They are about sharing an interest and long car rides on Sunday afternoons in October.
The Bills for me are largely about my dad.
He only ever took me to one game, a 16-13 loss to Cincinnati in 1973, the year Rich Stadium opened. But we watched on TV every week, at least when the games were on. In those days, that largely meant road games. These games are remembered in my family for his getting frustrated, swearing and stomping his feet, and occasionally being banished from the living room by my mom.
That probably sounds worse than it really was.
The home games? That's where the car rides come in. Thinking back on it, there is no way I was aware of it as any kind of strategy to allow for him to listen to the Bills game on the radio. I'm pretty sure now as I write this that it was. I can imagine my mother telling him we're not going to sit in the house on a Sunday listening to the giant cabinet stereo they bought at Lucki Urban. It's too nice out and besides, the Bills stink.
Ok, so how about a nice ride out to Lockport to get some apples? All back roads there and back because, you know, this needs to take about three hours. Or maybe a nice picnic at Emery Park. Just make sure the batteries in the radio are good. Burgers on a grill, throwing the football around at halftime, maybe even some good pop, not the cheap stuff.
This, as much as anything, is my childhood. Sure there were lots of rides to and from hockey practice and listening to Johnny Cash records. The Bills games though, they were the thing.
Funny, of the dozens of games I experienced this way, the one that stands out is from 1978 against the Giants. Terry Miller went for over 200 yards and I think I remember this so well because it was the first season without O.J. Hearing Miller have such a huge day gave me hope that everything would be okay even though the Bills had traded away their best player.
These memories for me, more than Super Bowl runs or going to the stadium with friends as I got older, are what I treasure. My dad is 80 now and we almost always talk about the Bills when we get together.
This is why I sometimes get emotional talking about the Bills. Their existence is more than wins and losses, triumph and heartbreak. The Bills are my childhood, a bond with my dad.
The Bills are a way to mark the time that you hope will never run out.