As a long suffering fan of the Buffalo Bills, I watched the hoopla surrounding the New England Patriots unfold. I don’t have much in terms of special feelings toward the Patriots or Tom Brady, just a worldweariness of watching Brady beat the Bills at the time. It’s a sort of oh, geez feeling when you get to that part of the schedule. Folks looking for edges is nothing knew in sports. Hell, Gaylord Perry kept the Cleveland Indians interesting with his twisting of the rules in the 60s and 70s (and that wasn’t that easy).

How many defensive backs coated themselves in stick’em to annoy receivers before that was outlawed.

I think the thing that gets most of us isn’t that Tom Brady and the Patriots cheated. They did. They didn’t need to, as they are pretty good, but they dieI think the aloof, above the law arrogance and noncooperation is getting the rise out of people.

Brady and the Patriots basically kicked the Indianapolis Colts all over the playground during the AFC Championship game and they would have been them without any help, but….

It’s a game and ultimately isn’t going to matter one iota want anybody thinks. All the commentators in the word can vilify Brady, Belicheck and company and it won’t matter as they have drown out everybody by putting their superpower rings in their ears.

I’m enjoying reading all the give and take. There was cheating going, but I’m sure the Patriots aren’t the only ones looking for edges, they were just dumb enough to get caught.

But we’ll let Brady have the last word.



Holiday Leftovers

So, I passed on Black Friday nonsense, and on Thankgiving? I celebrated with a couple of stops laden with good food and laughs that are more valuable than any flat screen sale.

I heard the argument made that since movie theaters and restaurants opened on the holiday, why couldn’t retail stores? It was the big box folk who did? And one depressing watch of the news saw people fighting, pushing, shooting, brawling over stuff we don’t really need. One talking head from one of the major chains said something that 15,000 people came to his place over 11,000 who showed at midnight the year before, so that justifies it. Bizarre. If they are open, people will go, even though tv deals are probably a little better closer to the Super Bowl. One day, you’d hope people would realize that being the first to get something doesn’t really come with a prize. Preferred the good times of my non retail laden Thanksgiving.

Elsewhere, fanmageddon (Leaf fans visiting the Sabres) occurred to highlight Black Friday. Neither team is going much of anyplace this season, but there is always atmosphere when the two meet up. The Sabres prevailed with a good game, and mostly because they dressed better (normal jerseys). I worked as an usher for the affair in the Student Surge section where a few students were surrounding by an affable section of chemically serene Leaf fans. One of whom spent the latter portion of the third period talking to me. I sort of like that as you are just talking, it’s okay to be a bit of a hockey nerd. Even though he went home disappointed, we fistbumped in our brilliance as we discovered what the Buffalo Bills need to do in Toronto. If we are going to play there, let’s open that roof. The stadium up there has a retractable dome, so retract it, and let’s get some football weather in the room. Might feel more like Bills home game with some Bills wind chill up in that joint. Genius, right?

Anybody notice, a big box credit card is the sponsoring entity of Small Business Saturday?

Going out to one establishment, but bringing my cash as I’m thorough like that.

Might stop by the real job on the way back because two valued colleagues are celebrating a special occasion.


They’re one!

Pay dirt

Now, wasn’t this nice.


(from the Buffalo News)

A nice reminder that football can be fun. While the first part of the Bills/Panthers game was lacking in much, you certainly couldn’t say that about the end. While one game isn’t indicative of anything (Any Given Sunday), the idea that the Bills have a quarterback to build up and around is a nice thing.

We get a fun season, that would be great. Anything beyond that would be a pleasant surprise. Look at office morale on Monday afterwards. That’s a good thing. Winning probably sold a few of those cool old school jerseys too.

20 Years Ago Today…

Daryl Talley dared his coworkers to play.

Remember when football was fun.

The Bills and Oilers was blacked out. I think the game eventually sold out but not fast enough for TV. For whatever reason, I was tending to stuff around my west side apartment, and never left the stereo as Van Miller called the comeback for the ages. Each of the youtube clips below gives you a look as to what it looked like. There is a great column in the Buffalo News today that recalls the “greatest Comeback” as it unfolded.

When they pulled it out, it was like VJ Day. The armistice was signed and the Moon was defeated.

Courtesy the Buffalo News
Courtesy the Buffalo News

Fiscal Cliff Notes

As I write this, it looks like there might be a deal to avert the tax increases on the fiscal cliff crap that has been hanging over us all. Good, I guess, it just strikes me a little nauseated that a group of people doing the “people’s business” take so long do actually do any of it.

Personally, with no Wile E. Coyote signs available (Gruesome, Isn’t It?), I resent the whole lot of them. The entire body got a pretty small, but ill timed raise over the weekend. When you consider that the raise covered more bickering time than actually work, any set of siblings is eligible for renumerations.


Should we be at all concerned that a Kardashian pregnancy got as much air time on the Today show as the Fiscal Cliff discussions?


Course, these goofs thought Ann Curry was the “problem.” Um, no.


I watched the Redskins Cowboys game on Sunday Night Football last night. Both teams have Gordon Gecko-like owners, but the pep band that plays at every Redskins game was fun when the home team finished off the game with a win. And yeah, it was sort of fun seeing the Cowboys go home a-poutin.


You never like seeing anybody lose a job, but I appreciate how classy Chan Gailey was in his brief remarks to the media. You had a feeling something had to give. There isn’t a need to blow the roster up, but the Bills have some holes and need to use what they have better. I’m sure Mr. Gailey can settle back into offensive coordinating somewhere soon.


Given pro hockey’s absence, I nearly answered the call to work the sold out Rochester Americans game at our downtown sports palace last week. Tempted, but I had plans.


A little night music

Welcome to 2013

Blacked Out

As a long time Bills fan, the sensation is semi-familiar. I got to admit that it is no surprise that a game against a really awful team when ours isn’t exactly winning friends and influencing people isn’t sold out and available on tv. The Bills have been a bit bewildering lately and the Jaguars are flat out awful. And the way it’s been phrased on the sports reports is that the fans are less than loyal for not selling that game out, that selling out games at the end of another crappy season shows that we are fickle and don’t care.

Craptastic opponents, less than inspiring gameplans, losing more than winning? Do good and folks celebrate, turn out, represent yo, but somebody’s got to take the first step. The Bills chose not to participate in the 85% capacity to lift blackouts and had they done that, the Jaguars game might be on tv, selling ads, gaining viewers, inspiring fans. We ain’t sheep, build something and we will come.

I loved watching Stevie Johnson chase that Indianapolis interception return down last week and force a fumble. That’s soul.

Whole team plays like that and maybe you got something.

Might be good enough to televise

No, we “Chan’t”

I had to look it up. October 10, 1971 was the exact day. My dad took me to my first Bills game. I have a few vague recollections of that day. I think we had decent seats, could see everything real good, and the Bills were systematically demolished by the Baltimore Colts and there was a regular series of Bills being helped off the field. We went with neighbors and my mom’s biggest concern was that they might misplace 7 year old me. Turns out the neighbor misplaced his 18 year old son. All were safe and sound as none of us were on the field that day. I had a brief moment of deja vu to that game watching this year’s model getting undressed by the San Francisco 49ers.

(from the Buffalo News)

Now, your team is your team and all. But you’d like some glimmer of fun. In the Bills’ three losses this year, they’ve been blown out, kicked around the playground, had their pants pulled down and laughed at and that is no fun. I’m not sure I can say what the duke boys are thinking, but the supposed new and improved defense can’t seem to stop, well, much of anything. So, something is broken there, among other places. Training camp had that sense of antipation, but the three losses were against real teams. I didn’t think they were Super Bowl bound this year, but it would be nice to rise off the mat a bit, have a little fun. The last hint of respectability was over a decade ago and the last real glory days were 88-93, 94. Been awhile/

You’d like the stories about new stadiums, leases, etc to be drowned out for a week or two by a big win instead of the current trend.

This should be fun, right?

The Church of Baseball

Despite being a Mets fan, I still enjoy the old ball game. Despite the Buffalo Bisons‘ supplying the parent club with just enough talent to run for the bus, it remains one of my favorite wastes of time. I think my Dad and I might have discovered a baseball version of Mystery Science Theater, as a nice amount of snark can brighten up diamond miscues. While what was left for this year’s Bisons mostly celebrated their time downtown instead of a decent record, it is still fun. Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News found this about the Bisons time at the Rockpile and I thought it merited a further showing.

It was kind of cool to see. Almost 40,000 came out to send the Bisons off downtown. That was an interesting place to see a game to be sure. The archways of the old stadium remain as part of the Wiley Sports Complex and I think that was mostly because they couldn’t get them down. You do remember your firsts, and my first time in that building was watching the Johnny Unitas led Baltimore Colts dismantle the Buffalo Bills.  When the hardly mentioned Double A Bisons started up in 79, I think, the place got an entirely different ambiance. Plays at first were often obscured by the smoke coming from the rib stand on the first base side of the stadium.

I still have one of the Joe De Sa batting practice home runs I picked up off the ground in the party tent in left field, having left the other 5 or 6 for other attendees.

Had its charms, No?

“In the arms of the Sabres”

Out of a twitter conversation Saturday Night, following the Buffalo Sabres‘ loss to the St. Louis Blues, came the notion of things being so bad that pretty soon Sarah McLachlan will be filming a sad song (does she sing anything upbeat at all) commercial about our hometown team. You can almost see it, instead of orphaned puppies, a series of shots of orphaned pucks and empty nets. The camera cuts to the attractive Ms. McLachlan with Nathan Gerbe on her lap: “Won’t you please help?”

I mean even the Buffalo News feature columnists have noticed. The guys in sports can’t keep the badness contained, it’s spilling over into other departments. The tough part is that with Mr. Pegula and his wallet arriving, the level of optimism got wratched up in well, June, but the cast didn’t change dramatically. Now, we could smile for the first time really since 2007, but the true soul of the team got exposed during the long, overly examined loss to Boston in November and the boys in blue and gold haven’t been the same since. That is most problematic as the promise of some success usually was the balm for wounded football fans drowning in the Bills‘ madcap escapades.

Now, Mr. P doesn’t want to rush to judgement, but as the Walrus said, the time has come. The season is swirling around the proverbial drainpipe and the status quo ain’t working. I wonder what this current stretch could do the young folk like Gerbe or Myers. The promise of the first few weeks of October is a distant memory

“In the arms of a Sabre, skate away from here
From this dark, cold dressing room, and the scorelessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your losing streak
You’re in the arms of an Sabre; may you find some goals here”

This team is bad, scary, bad

Black out Black Eyes

Buffalo Rising tweeted about there not being enough outrage over tv blackouts in taxpayer subsidized stadiums. There is a valid point there, but I think we’ve all been beaten into submission. While watching my own employer treated like the stinky dinner guest during a Legislative tomfoolery a few weeks ago, I can only imagine the battle royal waiting for when the Buffalo Bills look to various governments for the latest modernizations for the stadium that has inspired no development in its 30 years of existence. The Bills Chief Executive duly noted that the Bills could buy the remaining tickets to end a blackout, but never have and aren’t about to start because “they don’t want to devalue season tickets.”


Since he apparently thinks we’re idiots, let me retort. The lousy product devalues season tickets. An extended losing streak and most of them blowouts tends to temper enthusiasm, slow merchandise, extinguish interest and breed apathy. You put a decent, competitive product forth and everything gets better: players want to play here, attendence (As even the Rob Johnson era Bills demonstrated) goes up, viewership on tv goes up which triggers more ad revenue, and hell, you even sell more merchandise.

But, when the team has been as 1971-era depressing as it has been of late, there should be a little more forward thinking. I mean every Erie County resident already has a little financial skin in the game. If the Bills swooped in at 12:59 on Thursday, I bet nobody going to the Stadium would feel devalued. The team could get a public relations coup with a Christmas ticket giveaway to fans who can’t swing the ticket fee. Channel 4 gets a Tebow game and ad revenues for the team, CBS locally and nationally go up and if they win, some Bills merch might get peddled on all those Boxing week trips to the mall next week.

If you televise it, they will still come.