An overnight success story took two decades. Aside from outsiders occasionally noticing our agony, the Buffalo Bills only seem like they advanced instantly. Those who cheer for historically competent franchises are not acutely aware of every moment passing like those lucky enough to endure semipermanent melancholy. People don’t even realize when they’ve dodged the worst pain, which is why gratitude is so tricky. It sure was lucky the bus didn’t hit me.
Grab your seats as soon as the cinema reopens. Previews are over: this franchise’s latest installment already began. Note the run time, as you’re going to want to cherish every minute with these characters.
Time is never spaced evenly. Those savoring every moment like a lobster bite note how long it took to advance this quickly. Football was mostly agonizing just a few dozen games ago. As a reminder, Nathan Peterman played in 2018. And EJ Manuel was 2014’s first starter. It’s easier to be thankful when challenging times are so recent.
This is no time to relax. Get out there and enjoy life like it’s a second dessert. Progress means fearing regression. The Bills have to fret about chances disappearing as quickly as they were thrust into contention.
I regret to inform fans that the title contention phase will not last as long as the drought. Stupid balance never tips in our favor. Good things don’t stay because the best way to learn something’s value is to lose it. While that reality seems cruel, it’s better to already know than be a Patriots fan who realized cheering for Tampa meant their chance already passed.
Brandon Beane plays Tetris with the roster. He has to fit in whatever pieces show up in the queue even if they don’t form a satisfying continuous row for now. The shape game is extra hard when each piece subtracts from a finite budget. A true video game professional knows where to stick the squared lightning bolts everyone hates. If the game were all straight lines, it wouldn’t be fun.
Calculating just how to make the most of contracts aligning is basically the job description. All a general manager can do is attempt to to time deals so they overlap. Be thankful you get to live at the same time Josh Allen plays with Stefon Diggs.
It’s not to instill panic among fans whose Instagram pictures from the Bills returning at the airport appear on their grids without scrolling. But the timer ticks relentlessly. Allen’s rookie contract is expiring like an open two-liter. He’s going to be able to splurge on a large loganberry at Mighty Taco once he’s paid closer to what he’s worth.
Structuring a deal so pain arrives later sounds like me with life responsibilities. But spreading around payment can extend merry times even if it resembles drinking a screwdriver with breakfast to forestall a hangover. Shrewd general managers stretch the budget with a coupon. Redeem while you can. The Seahawks peaked under Russell Wilson’s initial deal. Coasting on memories isn’t a playoff tiebreaker.
An ironic quandary brings stress between games if you thought there was an offseason. Football is a sport where one player is far more crucial to victory than any other and also where winning is unlikely because of the fantastic percentage of the artificially-limited salary that ends up given to that same player. Being great takes a special quarterback along with an arsenal of weapons teams can’t afford because of his salary requirements. It’s impossible for any team to win ever. How do any do it? Thank the Jets for technically signing 22 NFL starters.
We all get so few chances to demonstrate what’s gained. If the lack of opportunity outside of the athletic world feels stifling, think of poor football players nervously tapping coffee tables while waiting to show how hard they’ve worked. It’ll take the better part of a year to see if they can build on demonstrated improvement. Prosperity only seems to arrive quickly.
Even stellar careers usually only peak for a couple seasons. Jim Kelly’s 11 years in the NFL are treated as this club’s age of miracles. Everything we admire about his play was accomplished in 160 games. Sports offer a reminder to appreciate anything going decently before the chance disappears.
Football is ultimately about getting the most out of semi-eternal youthfulness. At least players seem younger longer. This unfortunate decade has at least seen the rise of players extending careers beyond what were once considered impenetrable geezer boundaries. Take how Drew Brees is possibly finally retiring now that he’s 127 years old. And Aaron Rodgers’s youth football coach was Teddy Roosevelt.
Athletes interested in maximizing performance for as many seasons as possible are no longer hydrating with Old Grand-Dad. Making play calls through gritted teeth holding a lit cigar is from a tougher age for living it up precisely because chances were so limited. Ideally, Allen’s career is in its infancy and not adolescence.
Bills backers hope their favorite team joins in on thee trend of players with impressively long careers. Management has spent what only appears to be an uneventful offseason preparing for cap calls. A few players will have to be content with earning less if they want to remain in the Mafia. The forever part of membership doesn’t always include a paycheck.
Would you accept a little less money for a lot more glory? Winning football is a form of richness even if most retailers won’t accept it. But enlightened ones will. Think of the unlimited tab in every Erie County tavern for members of the first team to finally win it all. Some things are worth more than currency, like honor and ale.
Editor’s babble: Thanks, as always, to Anthony Bialy making us keep our dictionary handy with his mind-expanding contributions to our blog. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.