By ROD PENNICA
Permit me to state the obvious - the Buffalo Bills stink. Now, I know the following will sound a bit braggadocious but here goes. ... I am the only person on the planet who knows exactly why they stink. By the end of this piece you will agree that I've got it right. First, some background.
The Bills have stunk up the NFL for much of the last 13 seasons. Every post season we Bills' fans wring our hands as we try to figure out how to not stink next year. The proposed fixes are always recycled uninspired bilge that can be summed up thus; get new personnel on and off the field. The recently announced coaching changes and Ralph Wilson's relaxed grip on the team won't help either, guaranteed.
Now I make no pretense; I am an admitted football dunce. I'm barely a football fan; I've watched only four Super Bowls (of course, it was those four). Yet every year I confidently make a bet (for bragging rights only!) with my pal, Bob Scudder who is a die-hard Bills fan. Each year on a wall in his hardware store we scribble our predictions for the next win-loss record. Every year, like a football savant, I win. I win because I know the true source of the problem. It has nothing to do with game plans, coaches, personnel or ownership. The Bills have only one problem which I alone understand; the problem transcends the earthly and is instead a truly cosmic one.
It is as simple as this; the football gods are really, really ticked off.
Want proof? Flashback to Nashville Tennessee, Jan. 8, 2000. You wince as you remember that wild card match against the Titans. In the final seconds with the Bills in the lead and a post-season advance within their grasp, enter the football gods and the illegal-as-heck "home run throwback." Now ranked in the top five most controversial calls of all time, the so-called Music City Miracle put a nail in the Bills' season and was a mere foretaste of the unyielding misery Bills fans would experience over the next 13 seasons.
So, what exactly stoked the ire of the football gods? What was so darn special about those final seconds in Nashville? Brace yourselves, folks. That infamous kick in the gut occurred in the final seconds of ... the Fredonia years! To the great displeasure of the gridiron gods, the wizards of One Bills Drive had already planned to move summer training camp from Fredonia to Rochester ... and the Buffalo Bills have ever since dwelt in Loserville.
Lest you think I'm nuts, the stats bear me out here. How many winning seasons started in 19 Fredonia years? Eleven! How many in Rochester's 13 years? One. The Fredonia years gave birth to five conference championship games and initiated an amazing total of 23 postseason matches which included 19 playoff games four trips to the big show. It is inarguable that Fredonia was the "chosen place" for the Bills. And exactly how many post season games can Rochester claim? Zip. Sorry, Rochester, but your camps have produced a dreadful string of snoozers and losers. Bills brass should take note.
Are the Bills now the biggest losers in the NFL since moving camp to Rochester? I don't know but it darn sure feels like it. Will it rise to the level of a sports curse? I think it already has.
Sadly, the looming changes at One Bills Drive are just another round of futile attempts to fix the unfixable.
Even if they saw the folly of their ways and asked to come home to Fredonia, would they be welcomed to return? I really don't know. But it sure is fun to think about because the Fredonia years really were, for Bills fans everywhere, the glory years.
By the way, a word on my annual "bet" with Bob Scudder. I must confess just how easy it is to whip him in our annual predictions. Incurable fan that he is, he always picks the Bills 16-0.
Rod Pennica is a Fredonia resident.