Somebody Pinch Me: We Have Two Good Teams?

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The pace of things in the Buffalo sports world has picked up. Of course we had a frenzy of activity in the spring and early summer with Pegulaville and the excitement of free agency. Then the slog of the dog days of summer and nearly no hockey news was upon us. Throw the NFL lockout in the mix and the lack of sports had some of us turning to other interests like, oh say, spending time with family, or learning a new skill or meditating for hours on end with the goal of attaining oneness with the universe.

Perhaps for some Bills and Sabres fans this last one actually happened. For how else could it be that we have the prospect of TWO competitive teams at the same time? How else could we have two teams that are not just competitive and entertaining but could possibly make the playoffs?

The last time both the Sabres and Bills were both this good was around 1998/1999. The last time the Bills made the playoffs was over 10 years ago. TEN YEARS MAN!  And while the Sabres have gotten over No Goal and found postseason success, the Bills have yet to get past the Music City Miracle. The Chan Gailey/Buddy Nix era is upon us, and while it hasn’t proven yet to be of the caliber of the Levy/Polian caliber the reasons to believe are evident.

Buffalo sports fans even have reason to believe that a championship will be delivered. Pegula has not only said so but put his money where his mouth is. Ehrhoff, Regehr and silent h’s aside, Pegula has put his stamp on the Sabres and is willing a Stanley Cup to Buffalo. (Perhaps he too meditated over the summer, chanting “om” over and over again, envisioning the Stanley Cup in his mind’s eye. Hey, he could’ve watched The Secret or What the Bleep Do We Know.)

It still feels a little early to think about a championship for the Buffalo Bills. Perhaps we’re just way too giddy about having a team that’s competitive, a quality coach that actually inspires players to play with heart, and a real honest to goshness actual offense that can move the ball in chunks either on the ground or in the air. It’s still difficult to believe at times, but yes, the Bills are a real team. At this point, after enduring the frustrating Wade Phillips era, the equally disappointing Gregg Williams Era and the maddeningly boring Dick Jauron era, having a fun football team to watch that could at least go .500 is something that most Bills fans would take.

If the Sabres miss the playoffs there will be riots in the streets. Ok, that’s quite a bit of an exaggeration because as we know Buffalo doesn’t quite roll like that, yet the expectations are pretty high.   Conversely if the Bills miss the playoffs, it’s the same old, same old – par for the course. The thrill of the Bills winning in exciting fashion is still so new that getting even a sniff of the playoffs is excitement enough. Well, for me at least.

With the economy in the tank and no sign of things changing soon, at least we can take solace in our sports teams and be entertained. We have a lot to be thankful for and a lot of quality sports ahead of us. Go Bills, go Sabres, and of course, LET’S GO BUFFALO!

 

(On a somewhat related note, Yahoo has a piece called “There’s no place like Buffalo in NFL“. It’s a great feel-good writeup that should give any WNYer the warm fuzzies and any non-WNYer a good insight into the sports culture of our area. Thanks to @BrianBund for the link.)

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