There’s always next year

As Bills fans born in the ‘90s, we have all said this famous phrase for years.

We are the ones who aren’t old enough to remember the four straight Super Bowls and the
high-flying Jim Kelly-run offense. We have seen all the highlights, but it’s not the same.

We have been witnesses to several horrible decisions, drafts and seasons.

There was the gigantic bust of No. 1 draft pick Mike Williams in 2002, who was quite possibly
the largest, but softest player on the field at all times. The mid-2000 drafts gave Bills fans the
likes of Willis McGahee, Lee Evans, Roscoe Parrish, Donte Whitner, Marshawn Lynch, Paul
Posluszny, James Hardy and the most recent bust, Aaron Maybin. Among many others no
names.

Then there’s the whole other situation of the quarterback play that has squandered Buffalo for
so many years. From Rob Johnson…ugh. To Drew Bledsoe (past his prime) to J.P. Losman to
Trent Edwards to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Doug Flutie was fun for a couple years, but he was never the
franchise guy.

When I was about 10 or 11, I went to a game against the Miami Dolphins in an absolute blizzard
in Orchard Park – the best games to go to against the Dolphins, of course. Dolphins running
back Ricky Williams rushed for over 200 yards, but the Bills came out on top thanks to Bledsoe
throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns and Travis Henry had a big game as well.
I was also there for the 31-0 beating of the New England Patriots at the Ralph. Never forget
Sam Adams.

Of course there has been much more bad than good. The 5-1 start in 2008 followed by losing
eight of the next 10 games. That included a contract extension for then-head coach Dick
Jauron, immediately after the 5-1 start, yikes.

There is the fact that Buffalo has not had double-digit wins since its’ last playoff appearance in
1999 and had seven different head coaches since Marv Levy.

Despite all of the losing seasons and fast starts that spiraled downward quickly, this generation
of fans has always stayed loyal and proud to be a part of the Buffalo Bills organization. Parking
lots are always filled, tailgates are always rowdy and Ralph Wilson stadium is always loud.
Bills fans have just witnessed the last possible former player to make it into the Hall of Fame, in
Andre Reed, in a long, long time.

Now, it’s up to this era of Bills players to make way for a new beginning.
All of the change going on within the Bills organization due to the death of former owner Ralph
Wilson looked to be a cause for concern several weeks ago. However, in light of recent reports
about several high-profile people with interest in the Bills (Donald Trump, Terry Pegula, Tom
Golisano) things seem to be in the process of looking bright in Buffalo.

Several people including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have been outspoken about wanting
to keep the team in Western New York.
With the help of an organization like the Buffalo Fan Alliance to keep the team in Buffalo, the
youngest generation of fans in Buffalo should be hopeful about how the future looks for their
beloved team.

The goal of creating an innovative financing mechanism to boost the team’s Buffalo viability in
exchange for simply guaranteeing to keep the team in Buffalo, is a huge step toward giving Bills
fans something to be proud of for the future.

Even former players have gotten on board with the BFA. On the advisory board are players like
Andre Reed, Joe Delamielleure, Billy Shaw as well as well-known adopted Buffalonian and NBC
News correspondent Luke Russert.

It is efforts like this that our generation of Bills fans has not wavered in our opinion of the Bills,
despite the suffering we’ve had to endure in our lifetime.

To sign an open letter to help keep the team in Buffalo, go to buffalofanalliance.org.

Written by Ben Gaughan

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