If losing is an art form, the Bills can certainly make their claim to being Michaelangelo. (Perhaps the Bengals are De Vinci after their horrific last second debacle on Sunday, but Bills' loss tonight was equally bad. I think in Bill Simmons' meter, it's called a stomach punch game.) I mean we were winning all night- a game nobody thought we could win - and we blew it with an incredibly bonehead play at the end. When the announcer tisks as the kick-off returner decides to bring the ball out of the end zone late in the fourth quarter while you're protecting a lead - and then the return man promptly fumbles and sets up one of the NFL's all-time clutch quarterbacks 30 yards from the winning score - I mean, the pain! Would it have been better to have been blown out?
So, let's rank this one in the pantheon of heartbreaking Bills losses:
1. Loss to the Giants in the 1991 Super Bowl - that kind of set the tone for all the misery that has followed.
2. The Music City Miracle - That was the last time the Bills were in the playoffs
3. That Cowboys loss on Monday night two years ago - I was at the Mannechor watching the Yankees get eliminated by the Indians in the playoffs on the other screen.
4. Tonight's fiasco.
5. The Browns loss at home last year - especially significant to me because of where I live.
Alright, the fifth one might not be included as one of the toughest losses of all-time for any team, but the other four certainly are. In each instance, twice on Monday Night and twice in the playoffs, the Bills managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in front of a national audience. What have we done to deserve this? (and this gets me back to my question about why am I a fan - I like that explanation about the rituals of fall). I feel like we are cursed by some sort of Greek god, like perhaps we harmed or insulted one of Zeus' children at some point and he has damned our team to public failure. Right now, I feel like Raskolnikov in the beginning of Crime and Punishment when he is wondering around St. Petersburg in a half-coherent, feverish state. I keep telling myself I don't care about this stuff, but then the season starts, and I realize my hopes get irrationally up for some glory for the Blue and Red. Then, they even tease me by taking the hated Patriots to the brink, only to blow it and practically hand the Patriots the game on a sliver platter. Woe is me! Woe is the city of Buffalo, Western New York, and all the sorry-ass Pollack Bills fans all over the world. Say it ain't so Joe Ferguson, Cribbs, or whoever you are....