Welcome to the fifth of a series of posts on my friends’ favourite teams (here is the first one just in case you missed it). Most of my friends don’t share my penchant for masochism–I’m a Bills fan–except for this one sucker. He’s as legit of a Bills fan as you can get in Canada–he’s been to Charlie The Butcher. As a celebration of our inferior vintage, I bring to you our shared misery regarding our favourite teams upcoming season.
This is Alex Koustas, fellow tortured soul.
When did you first realize you were a Bills fan?
The first NFL game I watched was Superbowl XXV. (Ed. Note: this was also my first Super Bowl. FYI: this was the first of the four Super Bowls the Bills lost in a row.) Even my non-football liking family was watching the “local” team–they liked football a lot in the following four years. (Ed. Note: Alex is from St. Catharines, a stone’s throw from Buffalo.)
When did you first realize you were a Bills fan? What’s your ace in the hole that proves your fandom?
I own a pair of Bills coloured Zubaz pants, which, I probably would be wearing on game day. I own no other piece of merchandise because none other is necessary. These perfectly encapsulate the nostalgia for the Golden Years in the late 80s and early 90s and the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of the city of Buffalo. (Ed. Note: The ‘je ne sais quoi’ of Buffalo is the lack of ‘joie de vivre.’)
Ryan Fitzpatrick or Trent Edwards?
1998 Dodge Caravan with a blown engine or a 2003 Ford Windstar with no breaks? Neither one works, but I’ll take Ryan since he has a higher resale value. (Ed. Note: TRENT EDWARDS FOREVER!)
Describe to me your thought process from the time the Bills fired Chan Gailey and hired Doug marrone.
Chan Gailey was in way over his head. He just made bad calls on the margin that cost the team points over the season. I can’t honestly say Marrone is much of an upgrade, I don’t follow the college game enough but you figure there will be some growing pains.
If you could have one rival NFL player dissappear Jimmy Hoffa style, who would it be?
Dan Marino’s tan. (Ed. Note: As much as I love Ace Ventura, I almost hate it just as much for involving Dan Marino and his top-of-the-line spray tan.)
Any self-respecting fan of a team–not including Patriots fans because they have no self-respect–usually feels nervous about their team, regardless of how good they are. As a Bills fan, I imagine you always have something to be nervous about. What makes you nervous about the Buffalo Bills this year? Try to narrow it down as best as you can.
Let me put it this way. Championship teams have no “ifs”, playoff teams only have a couple soft spots and marginal teams have a lot of “ifs”. For the past decade the Bills have been a team of many “ifs” “If this goes right and this pans out and if the Jets bomb and if…” and of course as is the case with many things in life things rarely all go well at the same time. Apart from the D the big “if” this year is EJ Manuel. If the running game holds up and if he can get back to speed on the playbook fast enough and if the offensive line can give him some protection we could see a good season. You get my point. (Ed. Note: I get your point—fan suicide is my only option.)
What about the opposite? What makes you irrationally optimistic about the upcoming season? I know it’s tough as a Bills fan. Try to think of something.
Everything. Buffalo is a town that isn’t mentioned often in the general discourse of the American public apart from a Charlie Murphy story on Rick James or another celebratory Patrick Kane cabbie beating. Every Bills game is an event for the city. Win or lose the fans are out having a better time than any other group before the game. They take pride in having a team when there’s little else left in the area and it shows. The Bills will win a few games, they’ll likely lose a few more but in the end the fans always go home happy and what more can you ask for out of a sport? I am irrationally optimistic that the quality of wings at Buzzies has held up and that I will merrily consume them by the bucketload with the great people of that town. (Ed. Note: Way to capture why the Bills have fans, despite being a moribund franchise. Do you wanna know the terrifying truth? Or do you want to eat some delicious wings?)
What’s your prediction for the season?
Bills go 6-10, EJ shows some signs of improvement at the end. Hope springs eternal for the next season…as it always does. (Ed. Note: Bills/Patriots Week 1. The rivalry–that shouldn’t be considered one–begins anew.)
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