I have to admit…I don’t exactly get the butterflies when it comes to getting the NFL schedule like I did as a kid. Back then, I never understood the formula of who the Bills would face and frankly I don’t even think there was one. Example: San Diego went like 13 years between playing the Bills from 1985 to 1998. How was that possible if they were in the same conference?
With not knowing the formula, there was always an excitement/mystery for me when the schedule came out because you really didn’t know who the Bills were going to play outside of your division teams and 4 random NFC teams in a division that had 5 teams.
Of course, things changed in 2002 as the NFL divisions realigned and it was easier to understand who the heck the Bills were playing because the math for each division was even. I could pretty much tell you 14 of the 16 teams the Bills will play in 2017. So, the mystery is pretty much solved and the butterflies are gone.
For some, I get why there is excitement.
Some people may want to see the schedule because they can see how many nice weathered games they can go to as opposed to cold weather games. Some could be coming into town for the Holidays and want to watch a specific game around those days.
However, as an ex-pat who won’t have season tickets unless I move back to Buffalo, it makes no difference to me…except to see if we are on primetime…and when there’s no primetime games, it becomes a kick in the nuts for me.
As much as I enjoy going to McFaddens or a sports bar to watch Bills games, it gets a little played out after the 8th week in a row of doing this. I’m 34 and my liver and tolerance for bumping into people at bars aren’t as high as the good old days. Sometimes, you just want to lounge on your couch in your underwear and be able to watch the game rather than sitting at a loud bar every week.
However, besides comfort, I’d be lying to you if I didn’t get a sense of satisfaction with being the only game airing across the country. Yes, I know you must be thinking it is the sad, played-out narrative of wanting reassurance from the national folks.
Let me say this..I don’t care if some jackass reporter in Miami says we are the armpit of America or that Brady hates our hotels…What I do care about is being able to watch our team more than 20 seconds on Sportscenter and if getting to that point means getting on primetime, then let’s get on there!
Maybe I’ve watched one too many promos about how special it is to play on MNF or being sick of having D-list announcers from CBS call Bills games.
There’s just something about the pageantry of being in primetime. I envy other teams who get to be on primetime 4-5 times a year. I’m not blaming the NFL for only giving us 3 MNF games in the last 13 years. Primetime games should be slotted for the better teams and God knows we aren’t on that level and haven’t been for years.
However, I can’t piss all over fans who are disappointed how we can’t play at night because I’m annoyed as well. I think its different for those who aren’t living in Buffalo and are Bills fans. The only visual connection I ever get of Buffalo -besides visiting it- is on TV during a Bills/Sabres game.
Night games just look so awesome on TV and the pregame hype gets to me, especially since the Bills hardly get any sort of coverage outside of the (716). I’ve always maintained that being an ex-pat can suck when it comes to Buffalo sports coverage. I can’t just turn to my New York City office mate or watch the local news to get hot takes about the Bills. On primetime, you get those takes and I can actually walk into my office the next day and be able to talk to people about the Bills MNF game cause they probably watched it.
And if it isn’t the hype or an olive branch to talk to someone about the game, it’s the ambiance of the game itself.
As much as that Cowboys/Bills game broke my heart in 2007, I’ll always remember being in my small bedroom in a 4-bedroom apartment in Manhattan with my 2 other roommates and watching the game. What stuck out to me (Besides the awful ending) was the open of the game itself
I got somewhat emotional when I saw the blimp shot of Ralph Wilson Stadium, followed by the fireworks going off and then the director cutting to the fans just going ape shit. Maybe I was homesick at that moment, but I really felt like I was there and it felt big time to me. Maybe the game was better Mic’D because it wasn’t the D-list CBS Production crew, but it was so F’N loud.
Maybe the dusk settling added something to it, but it just felt more homely for me watching. I felt proud. I felt I was viewing a beautiful painting. It was an ultimate crescendo of sorts with the hype and then the fireworks and darkness added to it.
I felt like I was seeing an old friend for the first time in years and everything just looked heavenly in the dusk on my 27 inch TV.
In the end, I can’t just place my finger on one element for why my view of primetime games are so stoic. Maybe my view is based on not seeing enough of Bills primetime games, wanting national recognition, wanting to watch a game at my apartment, and being an ex-pat.
Whatever it is, I get the disappointment of being shunned by the TV and NFL Folks. We can only hope one day the Bills can change it around by winning, which would probably lead to winning a primetime slot or two.