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Trust Me, It Gets Better

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I grew up in Lakewood, NY rooting for the Buffalo Bills and was lucky to attend three of their four Super Bowl appearances while working for a TV station in Syracuse.

 

Technically, I was there as a member of the media, but I was a diehard Bills fan at heart and the games were devastating.

 

Super Bowl XXVI:  Washington 37  Buffalo 24

Super Bowl XXVII:  Dallas 52  Buffalo 17

Super Bowl XXVIII;  Dallas 30  Buffalo 13

 

The Bills became a national punch line.  When Buffalo blew a halftime lead in their final Super Bowl loss, Letterman did a "Top 10 Things Buffalo Bills Coach Marv Levy Said at Halftime."

 

#6  "Hey, Kelly. Leave some champagne for everyone else!"

 

#3  "Okay, boys--get out there and start sucking"

 

At the time it sucked to be from the Buffalo area.  Some Bills fans (including my beloved mom) actually said they hoped the team didn't make it back to another Super Bowl because they couldn't stand the heartache.

 

I guarantee that they don't feel that way anymore.

 

Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, and Coach Levy have entered the Hall of Fame in Canton, and the Bills of the early 90's are widely considered the best team in NFL history that didn't win the big one.

 

As a fan, I have nothing but great memories of those teams and my Super Bowl adventures.  As horribly as the games turned out, I remember the thrill of seeing the Rose Bowl for the first time, the spectacle of watching 100,000 flashbulbs go off at the opening kickoff, and the pride I felt in rooting for a team that kept bouncing back after excruciating losses.

 

I know that's how we're eventually going to feel about the Bearcats.

 

In the short term, the Big East bashing will sting, and we'll have to put up with rival fans (think they enjoyed the Sugar Bowl in Louisville and Columbus?) who will attempt to diminish the 'Cats 12-1 season and back-to-back BCS bowl appearances.

 

(If Buckeye fans lay it on too thick, you can remind them that OSU lost to Florida for the 2006 National Championship by the same 27 point margin that UC lost the Sugar Bowl).

 

But at the risk of getting too "Oprah-ish," don't let anybody steal your joy.

 

If you were among the 20,000-plus that made it to New Orleans, remember what it was like to see red-and-black everywhere you looked in the French Quarter.

 

Remember the inspiration of Mitch Stone and how our team rallied around him.

 

Remember Armon Binns making the most important catch in UC history while playing with a separated shoulder.

 

Remember your heart skipping a beat when the clock briefly hit zero in the Texas/Nebraska game.

 

Remember the rags-to-riches rise of future NFL quarterback Tony Pike.

 

Remember the greatness on the field and the grace off of it displayed by Mardy Gilyard.

 

And yes, remember Brian Kelly.  He gave us a wonderful ride.

 

And the ride is not over.

 

Take it from a Bills fan.  A lousy night shouldn't ruin a phenomenal year.

 

I'd love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

 

And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

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4 Comments

Thanks for the perspective, Dan. A very good point.

heartbroken... Thanks for the Bandaid :)

The Bearcats will be back.

Dan, great article. I'm an OSU alum living in Cincinnati, and until this season cheered for both the Buckeyes and the Bearcats. However, the animosity shown towards us in this city this season has been ridiculous. So now I could care less about the Bearcats, who are not a rival.

But that doesn't make me happy about Florida stomping all over another Ohio team on the big stage in a similar fashion as 3 years ago. UC fans, don't let the haters bog you down because like the Buckeyes, try and try again and you will succeed. And let's face it, we're all looking forward to UC v. OSU in 2012 now thanks to the classless comments from some of each school's undesirable fans. Until then, best of luck.