It's been a long time coming for Buffalo fans. The last time the Buffalo Bills were in a playoff game, there was a different president and the Colts were still a member of the AFC East. The last time they hosted a playoff game was in 1995, 13 years in which the majority of Buffalonians have forgotten the team altogether. Far removed from the early 90's powerhouse, the small-market Bills are finally poised to return to their winnings ways.
The outsourcing of both a preseason game and a regular season game to the metropolitan Toronto area will provide the Bills with an increased fan base, as well as higher intrigue among older fans who have stopped "Billieving." It is a common argument in Buffalo right now that this agreement is just the city of Buffalo's way of pushing the Bills' first step out the door. On the contrary, all this move does is allow the Bills organization to run their operations at a slightly more reasonable net gain.
The 2008 schedule brings with it a reason to be optimistic in itself. The Bills play non-division teams with a combined record of 73-87 in 2007, and only three of those ten teams made the playoffs. Last season, the Bills were facing ten opponents with a combined 82-78 record in 2006. They will go from having one of the most difficult non-division schedules to one of the softest.
Every indication tells us that the Bills will once again be the second-best team in the AFC East. Though the Dolphins have revamped their team, pruning some of their older players such as Zach Thomas, they still have a lot of questions to be answered, most glaring at the quarterback position. The Jets have Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens still on the roster, seemingly heading to a quarterback controversy in Gangrene Land.
Once again, it will come down to the final four weeks of the season for the Bills, which will pit them against all three of their divisional foes as well as the Broncos, who may also be in contention for a Wild Card position.
The 2008 campaign is officially underway after the end of the draft, and for the first time since Drew Bledsoe was signed over from the Patriots, there is a definite buzz in Buffalo.