BillsMafia: Are You Ready To Go “All In” On the Buffalo Bills?

I left off this ‘hot mess’ (otherwise referred to as my blog) last week by asking you to think about whether or not you are “all-in” with the Bills this season. I got a few great responses, but it’s time to poke at all of you again.

The voices in my head have been blasting non-stop theme songs with an assortment of implicit messages, and it’s time to get real. As I’ve stated many times, these are no longer your mother’s Buffalo Bills. The season ahead may well be one of the most interesting in the history of the team.

I still marvel how the “culture” of the Bills franchise was transformed the minute the Pegulas bought the team. It is amazing to see how spending money changes perception. Buffalo is experiencing a magical moment in time right now, and many like myself probably didn’t think they would ever see this kind of transformation happen.

rex bisonWho would have ever thought we’d be watching Rex Ryan throw out the first pitch at the Bisons opener? If someone two years ago told me this is what we’d be talking about this week, I’d think they were psycho.

Which brings me to an important point to launch this week’s ‘wyobabble’. One of the most underrated aspects of our psyche is our ability to go “psycho”. We have to stop thinking in a binary paradigm. Being ‘psycho’ isn’t all bad.

The behavioral state of psychosis is often defined as a “break with reality”. However, having an alternate reality may be underrated in terms of how it may enhance other aspects of your life. In our society, we seem to have a tendency to vilify alternate states of reality without thinking about what good can come from them.

Those who know me personally are already laughing as they read this, because this is precisely the kind of garbage I spew on a regular basis. However, it has come to my attention from a variety of sources that I have to come clean and let the world experience my sardonicism for what it is. It’s worthy noting that although there is a sense of bitterness often associated with a sardonic view of the world, whatever element of bitterness that existed in me was extinguished long ago. However, the “grinning in the face of danger” part of the definition makes up for it tenfold.

So what does this have to do with going “all-in” with the Bills this season? A lot, as it turns out. This new Bills narrative of building a champion NOW is like smoking crack for someone like myself, whose psyche is laden with sardonicism.

Seems like most Bills fans would probably have more confidence running a space ship on Pluto than BILLieve that their team will win the Super Bowl this season. It’s like there is some unwritten rule that teams that haven’t made the playoffs in 15 years don’t deserve to win it all right away. That would be crazy talk, right?

Huh? Who wrote this rule that as a fan you’re not allowed to believe that your team can go from the basement to the penthouse without stopping on any other floors along the way? They won nine games last season despite Doug Marrone doing everything humanly possible to screw them up.

This twisted line of thinking about the benefits of being psycho started after recently chatting with another Bills fan from out of state. They asked me if I thought the Bills would make the playoffs this year. Feeling playful, I just blurted out that if we’re “going there” and “going all-in”, why not go for the whole enchilada?

What started out as a joke after that conversation started gathering steam in my head (never a good thing). So I told another friend (and Bills fan) on the phone that I was visualizing the Bills winning the Super Bowl this season. He laughed and thought I was joking at first.

The more outrageous it seemed when I said it, the more the ‘psycho’ inside me challenged that assumption that it’s not supposed to happen that way. Is there some sort of rule of etiquette that suggests that because the team you love hasn’t made the playoffs in 15 years that it’s somehow inappropriate to assume they could win it all the next season?

After my husband overheard me making a few of these types of “ridiculous” comments on the phone, he asked me if brain-rot was setting in before my 60th birthday this summer. I’ve already been warned that turning sixty was going to result in my brain not only turning to mush, but that it would start acting out in weird ways.

The elders that warned me about this weren’t kidding. It’s like getting tapped on the shoulder and then slapped on the face. However, the big difference at this point in life is that even a slap into ‘reality’ only serves to make some of us even more bold in our thinking and responses.

Professionalism, rules of etiquette, behavioral mores are all variables that affect how we move through our world. Most of the time we conform to ways of thinking based on personal experience, but we also learn not to appear too grandiose or “inappropriate”.

In doing so, we often end up stifling the more creative part of our psyche. That’s the part of us that believes anything is possible, like the Bills winning the Super Bowl this season. As outrageous as that seems, is it really that far from becoming a reality?

I keep getting a very strong feeling that the fate of the Bills is about to change as rapidly as the culture changed regarding spending big money on free agents when the Pegulas bought the team. Why wouldn’t a championship be a reasonable consideration for the Bills this season after the most expensive off season in the history of the team?

You can bark out all the stats you want that would build a solid case against the Bills winning a Super Bowl this season, and you may be right in the end. However, here is where I ask you… again… are you “all-in” or aren’t you?

The Pegulas are presenting many challenges to Bills fans regarding previously held assumptions. They have blown us out of our comfort zone, for sure. The genie is out of the bottle, and we can’t go back to the old days of wallowing in this legacy of losing that defined us as a fan base for decades.

One of the great things about going “all-in” with the Bills is that this type of thinking can affect all aspects of our lives. Challenging ourselves to think differently instead of being bound to unproductive ways of thinking can be massively liberating on a number of levels.

So, I decided one way to cope with the seismic level of culture shift going on at One Bills Drive is to figure out what I can learn from it and apply those principles to other areas of my life. For example, the Pegulas have shown the rest of the world that a certain amount of risk-taking (spending money on players) is a necessary part of achieving spectacular success.

Some say they are throwing good money after bad in an attempt to buy a championship for both the Sabres and the Bills. I believe one of reasons the Pegulas became self-made billionaires is that they knew what they wanted and they built a bold plan to achieve it. They are “all-in” with everything they do.

That type of attitude can be infectious. I challenge Bills fans to identify any point in time during the Bills history when free agents were more excited about coming to play for the Buffalo Bills. If you look at the comments made by every single free agent that has been signed, their description of their experience with the Pegulas is quite remarkable.

One of the more intriguing interviews I ran across on buffalobills.com this week was an interview done by Percy Harvin on the day the off season training program started at One Bills Drive. This interview underscored exactly what I’m referring to about being bold. Check it out.

percyIn this interview, Percy Harvin echoes what every free agent that has interviewed with the Bills has said about the Pegulas. Check out the way Mr. Harvin speaks about the feeling he got when the Pegulas picked him up in their jet and flew to Buffalo together. It’s exciting to see how players are reacting to the Bills new owners.

The Pegulas made it clear that they value people who value themselves and are considerate of others. They are rebuilding both the Sabres and Bills as organizations emboldened to do whatever it takes to secure a championship as fast as possible, but to do so with kindness in their hearts.

They show us the meaning of loyalty by reaching out to players like Richie Incognito, someone I would not have given a prayer’s chance in Hades to pull off a life turnaround. Although the jury is still out on his success or failure re-entering the NFL, I’ve been very impressed with his sincerity about not screwing up this chance to get it right this time.

EJ Manuel told reporters, "God works in mysterious ways."
EJ Manuel told reporters, “God works in mysterious ways.”

That little lesson taught me to remember what EJ said when recently asked about Doug Marrone, “God works in mysterious ways”. That statement became a personal reminder to step out of my ossified cynicism, and trust that good things are coming for the Buffalo Bills and Sabres.

Indeed, what is happening in Buffalo provides a great opportunity for fans to figure out what it means to them to be “all-in”. I decided to use this opportunity to be bold, “all-in”, and suggest that we not ‘settle’ for the Bills just making the playoffs this season. Why not dream big and bold?

What’s there to lose by visualizing the Bills winning a championship this season? That I might get ridiculed and called a fool? That would be one of the nicer characterizations ascribed to me by people over the years.

After 15 miserable years of Bills fan-hood, why not step into the floodlights instead of standing in the shadows? Remember, Trent Dilfer has a Super Bowl ring.

In fact, it is the same ring Rex Ryan wears. The most remarkable thing about Buffalo Bills fans is their undying loyalty to their team despite decades of heart break. Now the cycle of despair has been broken, and our team has become a hot destination for the best players in the league.

Don’t be afraid to be bold, BillsMafia. We are about to embark upon the mother of all football seasons. Let’s have some well deserved fun while our beloved team shocks the world. Barring injury issues, this team is stacked to win it all even with a big question at the quarterback position.

I’d love to have this blog become more interactive. In fact, I’d like to use it as a record about how we are transforming ourselves as a fan base, just like the team is expunging their past decades of failure.

Please post your thoughts in the comment section below, and let’s document our thoughts as we move through this incredible season ahead.

P.S. Remember when the Philadelphia Flyers had Kate Smith as their team “Mama”? Well, I woke up this morning with a vision of our “Kate Smith”… Anjelica Huston. She was sitting at a dinner table with a Bills sweat shirt on, just as she was featured in the movie “Buffalo 66”.

Anjelica Huston = our Kate Smith. She should be invited to attend a Bills game and launch our new era in Bills history. Furthermore, when the Bills win the Super Bowl, she should be riding in the parade in full Bills regalia. What say you, BillsMafia?

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BuffaloFAMbase.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynMundyWYO.