I very rarely report on local sports even though Buffalo's sporting venues are where much of my free time is spent. As a season ticket holder for both the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, I invest a lot of my time and money in these two entities.
This Sunday, the Buffalo Bills will kick off the season away against The New York Jets. It's just a "game" people tell me on a daily basis, but the Bills are more than just a team in Buffalo, they are a way of life.
Like so many people in this area, my love of sports was passed down from previous generations. Both my Grandpas and my Dad were die hard fans, and it didn't take long for me and my brothers to follow suit. Sundays were always spent in front of the television and the Super Bowl was more than a game, it became a holiday where special food was purchased and we were allowed to stay up late.
Every season I start out with a pretty high level of what I like to call "reserved optimism". There were years when I honestly thought they wouldn't be good, but my optimism carried me through, at least the first half of the first game. Being a Bills fan is a roller coaster of emotions. Over the past few seasons there have been times when we started out great: 5-0 one year, then beating the New England Patriots to take us to 3-0 early last season, and most of Buffalo had us playoff bound (myself included). Slowly as things started to spiral out of control both of those years, and in other recent years, the "same old Bills" attitude many Buffalonians have came out from hiding.
This season feels different to me. As I listen to player and coach interviews, I get a different vibe from this team. They sound like they are more comfortable with the system. They talk as though they are more confident in themselves and their teammates. Management has invested in the team and made key acquisitions throughout the off season. During the preseason games there were glimpses (very short ones) of some incredible plays and drives and it leaves me extremely hopeful for this season. Even some nationally known media personalities have picked the Bills to make it to the playoffs this year.
So while I won't make any bold predictions on the season, here are my Bills expectations for 2012:
I expect them to win more games than last year.
I expect Fitzpatrick and Stevie to give us more moments where we rewind our television sets to see passes/catches over and over again.
I expect Freddy to break through tackles and find the holes en route to a Pro Bowl season.
I expect the defense to be top 5 in the league.
I expect the offensive line to continue to drive me crazy.
I expect the cornerbacks to have difficulty.
I expect they will be playing "meaningful" football far into the season.
As I wake up Sunday morning, my life will feel complete again. For the next 17 weeks (at least), I'll wake up on Sunday and know that I get to spend a few hours watching the team I love, with the people I love. I'll reconnect with friends I haven't seen enough over the summer and won't be able to keep up with the amount of text messages I receive/send. I'll reach out to the ever growing Bills Mafia family and make new friends as I tailgate away at The Ralph and tweet during the games. I'll laugh, I'll cheer and I'll probably cry too!
So here's to another football season in Buffalo! Let's Go Bills!!
|Bills Home Opener 2011|