An Open Letter to Bills Fans Between the Ages of 21-35
Dear Bills fans between the ages of 21-35,
I can't really pinpoint the exact first game I watched the Bills play. It was likely 1998 or 1999. I do know it's when Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson were the two quarterbacks (yes, that famous quarterback controversy). I do know my first vivid football memory, however. It was the Music City Miracle game in January of 2000...
I'm a 30-year-old Bills fan. I was born early enough to be alive for those Super Bowl years, but far too young to watch or remember them. I literally started watching this team just as the famous 17-year playoff drought started. I remember my dad and older brother jokingly saying, "everything was going fine until you showed up!"
I'm proud of the Super Bowl years and the history of the franchise but there's a whole generation of Bills fans (in their 20's and 30's) who missed all of those glory years and got mostly mediocre or plain bad football. If you're in that age bracket then chances are you didn't know what winning football felt like...that is, until now.
I didn't watch 51-3 vs. the Raiders. I didn't see the AFC Championship win over John Elway's Denver Broncos. I missed the Comeback Game. My football knowledge and nostalgia comes in the form of Drew Bledsoe being blown out by his former team. Watching J.P. Losman miss open receivers. Witnessing Trent Edwards have continuous three-and-out drives. Enduring E.J. Manuel getting benched for Kyle Orton.
I think it's easy to not think about those people that are diehard Bills fans but because of the year they were born, they only knew of losing.
That's why what the Bills are doing this season (and to an extent, last season) is so special on so many levels. After looking for 24 years, we finally have a franchise quarterback who can be the face of the franchise for the next decade. A complete roster with a potent offense and a good defense that dominates games.
I keep having to pinch myself watching games this season. It doesn't seem real. The natural instinct for a 30-year-old Bills fan is to expect a play to get called back or for a letdown game, but even through (minor) adversity, the team seems to get better and better. The Patriots knew what the Bills would do on Monday night and you know what, it didn't matter; Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and the rest of the offense could do anything they wanted. That's when you know you have a good team. No, not a good team, a GREAT team.
The best part is the lack of stress watching these games. I think the Bills can win the Super Bowl this season but if they fall short, we still have next season and you know what, Josh Allen will still be the quarterback and Stefon Diggs, Devin Singletary, Matt Milano, Tre-Davious White, and Tremaine Edmunds will still be here.
The Bills have the best team in the AFC East and arguably the best team in the NFL. They also have a top 3 quarterback in the NFL. That's the first time in my lifetime I've experienced any of those things and there are thousands (millions?) of Bills fans my age who can say the same.