Is it possible we all knew at some deep level that the K-Gun would not bring the Lombardi trophy to Buffalo?
It would have been too predictable, especially the first year. The Bills dominated the league throughout the season, beat the Raiders by a half century in the Conference Championship. It only stood to reason that things had been too easy.
It might work for Pittsburgh, Miami, San Francisco, or Dallas, but in Buffalo, where two pleasant winter days in a row make everyone assume they will pay dearly for it later, things just can't go that well forever.
The more dominant the team is leading up to the postseason, the quicker and harder they can expect to fall.
If they also dominate the postseason, then expect it all to unravel in the final game.
That's not to say that Buffalo will never win the big one. It's to say that it's highly likely the team we expect to win will eventually self-destruct, and just as likely that a team from which we expect little will surprise.
If you accept that premise, then this could be the year. Any year could be the year.
Remember the Sabres of '96? They were just a motley crew, really—a team of no-names, at least at the onset of the season.
Next thing you know they're winning as if they're the Red Wings. Next thing you know, they're in game six of the Finals and almost pull it off.
Aha! You say, almost!
Yes, but my point is that Buffalo tends to love the teams that come from nowhere, from the ashes, gems gleaned from the league scrapheap, if (and that's a big if) they are able to coalesce and overachieve.
But it really does make sense from a cosmic perspective. An underdog town should be redeemed by an underdog team. A sleeper. An overachiever.
The Bills were too good to be from Buffalo in the Kelly era. Everyone knew it. And that's why it didn't work.
Flutie could have—I'm convinced, would have—led us to a Superbowl victory if Wade Phillips hadn't ditched the one who got us to the dance in favor of the Surfer. It is that kind of team, the team Flutie led, that will get us there, if we ever do win the whole enchilada.
Now don't accuse me of being down on Buffalo. If you've read the body of my work you know that there is no greater Buffalo booster than I. But part of self-love is an honest self-appraisal. Buffalo is not a flashy high-rolling town, so we shouldn't expect to win when we have a flashy high-rolling team.
So what does that say about T.O.? You could say he's more Hollywood than Hamburg. More South Beach than South Park. Well, yes and no.
He's a reject from the Hollywoods of the world. And even the Philadelphias.
He may come with self-applied glitz and glitter but in every real sense, at least in his chosen profession, he's fighting for his life. So yes, T.O. fits the Buffalo mold, or at least he can fit in, if he chooses to accept his lot and his last best chance.
But will it be this year? That depends more on the coaching than anything. With the right coaching—with someone with a mentality like Bill Cowher, for instance, maybe even Turner Gill—the team we have today is just good enough to play over their heads and long enough to surprise everyone all the way to a Super Bowl victory.
But can Jauron pull it off?
One thing is certain—either he will, or he'll be gone and we can hope to God the next coach is an alchemist.
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