The Buffalo Bills fresh start still isn’t official. Nothing will really change until the perpetual postseason outcasts beat the Patriots frequently enough to call the conflict a rivalry. After failing to maintain transition-related excitement, their new owner already has a losing record against the division’s one consistently functional franchise. The unpleasant certainty against an opponent shouldn’t dampen the euphoria of the sale being made official. But a thorough change would be nice.
New employees should express gratitude to the new owner by trying to impress him. They had better play like they’re out to keep their jobs, mostly because they are. Terry Pegula didn’t cut people at halftime to let everyone know there’s a new sheriff in town. That said, the boss is looking to maximize performance before deciding to hold over workers.
We never have to wonder if erstwhile New Jersey Generals owner and present sore loser Donald Trump would finally get to ruin a football team in the fall. But it’s not ungrateful if fans of a team that’s staying in town ask for a more responsive secondary or less tentative C.J. Spiller.
A dizzying season and year took the traditional disoriented plunge. One giant holdover from the previous regime sadly remains getting toyed with by the Patriots. As has often happened, great individual stands went wasted for the Bills when the division’s bully demanded their lunch money.
At least the offense remembered that, by rule, the tight end can catch. Scott Chandler’s involvement was a promising development in a game without many of them. While the nature of the position may lead to going weeks without being utilized, he remains there if needed. Meanwhile, heavyweight Jerry Hughes played like a title holder in an effort to singlehandedly collapse the pocket or buy time for cornerbacks. As with the 30 yards he sustained in penalties for doing nothing, the result wasn’t his fault.
It keeps getting harder to remember this was once a semi-competitive rivalry. The loathed Patriots are now up 67 to 41 over the Bills, with one annoying tie in 1962. But Buffalo was only two games under .500 versus them through 2000. Hmmm, which competitor moved up the roster after that? The figurative consultant should be hired based on what he’d do to make Tom Brady sad.
As a devastating reminder, the Patriots are now at 25 wins in 27 chances against the Bills since the former’s present quarterback was installed. Even with two of those triumphs going to Matt Cassel, the inability to even win one out of five against this era’s Patriots is long past tiresome.
Buffalo’s 11 straight losses from 1981 to 1987 to their Massachusetts competitor seem like a trivial interval compared to now. Semi-old-timers miss the days when the curiously red-clad rebels were an annoyance, not a juggernaut. The possibility of a clean slate beginning in the season finale at Foxborough can’t clean a permanent stain. Twinkly Brady painfully reminded us that he’s not done. Either way, his inevitable diminishment is irrelevant, as he already has a plethora of accomplishments even if he complied with my voodoo spell and retired this week.
That doesn’t mean we have to like him. The only thing more unpleasant than his insufferable grin is his record. The Patriots have already established their legacy even if it isn’t perpetrated though this season’s end. By contrast, the Bills can only hope the squinty whiner won’t win the division for the second time since he’s been starting, again factoring New England’s second-place result in his 11-pass 2008. Unable to modify the past, Buffalo can merely seek to change the trajectory. The alteration has once again been postponed due to timidness in the face of an intimidating foe. Throw it to Sammy, already.
This squad could have used the official coronation of the franchise’s savior as a pretense to start over. Fan Number One’s remarkably humble speech offered a chance for his fellow backers to forget about previous struggles. With every Pegula-related announcement in mind, the Bills have had an uncommon quantity of new beginnings. Sadly, seizing them all is as hard as stopping Gronk in single coverage.
The noxious spell remains. The Bills can only stop moping about losing to one team they’re sick of seeing and move on to another they’re only facing for the 13th time. This team can please their nice owner by taking out frustration on the Vikings. He’d appreciate them ruthlessly going against his character.
Minnesota is having the sort of season where outsiders don’t know who will be the quarterback without looking it up. On the other hand, we are certain Adrian Peterson is too busy causing trouble for himself to do the same to opponents. The heartless NFL is about taking advantage of teams with relatively worse circumstances.
It was tiresome a decade ago for the Bills to wish for help because they can’t conquer the Patriots, particularly because it’s never worked. Now, they have to wait for December 28 to see if they can get a split with their first win at a stadium that opened in 2002. There are nine games before yet another chance to not let Goliath ruin the underdog’s story. The perpetual struggle feels like a biblical lesson. The second owner may have developed patience as a fan, but he’s positioned to do more than wait for improvement.