I don’t like to gamble. I cringe when my father hands me a scratch ticket for a holiday. My toes curl when my boyfriend drags me into a casino. Despite my superb football picking skills, I’ve never been tempted to place monetary bets on a week of picks. Maybe it was my penny pinching childhood. Maybe it’s because I think the existence of Native American run gaming facilities has significantly affected the social and economic status of Native Americans for the worse. When it comes to gambling, I can’t see the reward outweighing any risk.
However, I am going to take a gamble here. I am going to start writing with frenzy regarding this five week old football season. I am going to start writing with this frenzy because if I do, and the Bills, by some grace of G-d win the Super Bowl or at least get to the AFC Championship Game, I will be able to cash in. How many people are going to be blogging Bill-Simmons-like about the Bills 2007 season in a format that could easily and quickly be compiled in a digestible sports commentary book format? And how many are going to have that edge of being a Bills fan in non-Bills country?
Ka-ching, people. Ka-ching.
So we’ll start today.
Tomorrow is the first Monday Night Football Bills game held in thirteen years, and someone forgot to tell Western New York that Monday Night Football lost its revelance with the introduction of Dennis Miller in a three man booth, and lost any it had remaining when ABC sent it to ESPN. (To give you a crazy perspective, this will be the first time a Monday Night Football game will be played in Western New York in my little — well, my just started seventh grade — brother’s lifetime. He was born a month and a day after they last hosted a Monday Night Football game.) While I was home in August, my fellow Bills fans on the shuttle to Bills training camp were talking about if they had tickets to the MNF game, if they knew anyone else who did, if they were going to go party in Orchard Park even if they didn’t have tickets, if they had gotten a hotel for the night or would be driving back to Rochester right after, and if they had taken the next day off from work already. I imagine that keg orders for Genny Light for tomorrow are at an all time high, and more authentic Buffalo Wings will be consumed than at any time ever before in the history of the Buffalo Wing. (And, on a related note, do yourself a favour and pay homage at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY at some point in your life. Trust me, you’ll thank me. Just don’t go late at night, and not alone.)
I know the fine NFL schedulers set it up this way specifically, that the first Monday night game in Orchard Park in thirteen years would be against the Dallas Cowboys, the Bills’ enemy for so long. But couldn’t they have made it against the Jets, or the Dolphins? Someone the Bills could trounce, or at least squeak out a win over? But no. The Bills have to face Mr. Tony – I’m the new Tom Brady – Romo and the 4-0 Cowboys. As my father says, the NFL is out to torment Western New York, is against Western New York, and will do anything in their power to make sure the Bills are never popular and are always a laughing stock. (Some people say my father is a conspiracy theorist. Those people would be right.)
I’d love to proclaim right here, right now, that the Bills will squeak out an upset, that Trent Edwards is the new Tony Romo, and that Western New York will be largely unproductive until Friday at the earliest because of the hangovers caused by the celebration. Unfortunately, I’m a pessimist, and I know better. It’s too early in the season — the Bills can’t perform such miracles until it’s Week 10 and they need to win out the schedule and have everyone else in the AFC lose the rest of their games to make the playoffs. Yes, Edwards has been given an abundance of time in the pocket because his offensive line actually likes him, unlike they do for J.P. Loserman (and for those of you who say “That was just the poorness of the Jets’ defense, I ask you to look back at some of the Bills-Pats game, where this is also evident against a Pats defense that cheats — and not just by taping other teams sidelines.) Yes, Lee Evans finally woke up from his season long nap. Yes, Marshawn Lynch might not be fabulous, but he’s getting some of the job done, and he complains less than Willis McGahee did. And yes, the Bills have that underdog, hard working, sympathy vibe going on.
But it’s the Cowboys. And I swear Jerry Jones has some sort of bewitching power on the Bills, so that they always lose in his team’s presence. It’s been this way since 1992. If it was anyone else — I mean, even the Patriots! — the Bills would have a chance to ride the sad wave of sympathy and good effort to a close game. But it’s the Cowboys, and the Bills are going to look like wanna-bes on national television.
So the Bills marketing department can distribute all of the Billieve terrible towels they want Monday evening. The tailgaters can consume more Honey Brown, Genny Light, Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue than a UB frat party. Wegmans can run out of their Buffalo Wing platters. All day tailgating can take place, helped significantly by the fact that it’s Columbus Day. But the Bills still won’t win. And I’ll watch anyway. (Especially for the increased Tony Kornheiser Binghamton references that are bound to occur.)
Despite all this, someday the Bills will win again, and they’ll make some inspired playoff run, and I’ll be ready to go, the Bill Simmons of Bills fans. Because if he hadn’t written during those uninspired, so called cursed, bad Sox years, he wouldn’t have been able to cash in when they did win. And the Bills are the new Red Sox. So it’ll all work out for me in the end. Just you wait.
Or maybe I should just get over my dislike of gambling and just play the lottery instead. That might be an easier way to get rich.