Who knows when Buffalo’s Comet will visit us again.
January 2, 2018 7:44 AM   Subscribe

"The Buffalo Bills haven’t made the playoffs since the 1999 NFL season. Had they missed out again this year, their postseason drought would be old enough to legally purchase cigarettes, and it would likely smoke those cigarettes in order to take the edge off from all that Bills football. Buffalo’s barren stretch is the longest such streak in North American sports, but, after a series of wonderfully unpredictable events on Sunday, it finally ended." posted by everybody had matching towels (20 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
As a western New Yorker, let me just say, don't worry. It shall amount to naught.
posted by triage_lazarus at 8:03 AM on January 2 [6 favorites]


As a lapsed Buffalo fan, I'm stunned. They started strong, as they have done several times recently, leading to the "Will the Bills finally make the playoffs?" talk around week six. Then they faded, as they always do, leading to the "Will the Bills be able to limp into the playoffs?" The answer is usually "no."

What made this year look to be poetic was that they were so close to being good and then the new coaching staff decided it was the perfect time to make The Dumbest, Most Inexplicable Decision in Recent NFL History. Buffalo's QB for the last few years is Tyrod Taylor, a pretty good QB and the best they've had in twenty years. He's not a star, but he's above average. This season, the new coaching staff grew frustrated with him and benched him. That wasn't entirely out of nowhere -- he had had a few not-great games. But of course, there were stupid reasons that also drove the decision: Taylor's strengths are those that the current coaching doesn't think are the right ones; he's a holdover from the previous regime; black QBs are kept on ludicrously short leashes. What made the benching eye-wateringly dumb was that the backup was a rookie they'd drafted in the fifth round, some dude named Nathan Peterman.

Peterman soiled the bed in historic fashion. Buffalo lost a winnable game he started in large part to a performance so bad that Satan himself wept at the horrors. The coaching staff yanked Peterman and put Taylor back in, but it was too late.

As the season wound down, I kept expecting the Peterman decision to be the reason they failed to reach the playoffs yet again.

That it wasn't is an act of singular grace by the Football Gods.

Blessings upon Saint Vince.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 8:06 AM on January 2 [10 favorites]


And so Steven Haushcka’s playoff streak continues.
posted by chrchr at 8:30 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Here's more on the Tyrod Taylor thing from the excellent Mina Kimes late last year. As a fan of Taylor (Tygod, T-Mobile, etc) I had to roll my eyes when my dad told me he was seeing Peterman jerseys on folks at Wegmans during the preseason.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 8:36 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Buffalo Bills, re-funked. How do you like them apples, Mister Berth?
posted by pracowity at 8:36 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Peterman soiled the bed in historic fashion. Buffalo lost a winnable game he started in large part to a performance so bad that Satan himself wept at the horrors. The coaching staff yanked Peterman and put Taylor back in, but it was too late.

I really want to emphasize, for the casual fan of the sport, how incredibly, mindbogglingly bad this particular 30 minute stretch of football was. Peterman threw 5 interceptions in half a game. Throwing the ball to the other team is worth about ~-4 points for your team. An average team scores 21 points in a game, which means that Peterman managed the incredible feat of outscoring the league average in own-goals. It's roughly equivalent to running the first lap in the wrong direction in the Olympic mile, or landing an uppercut at your own jaw in the second round of the prize fight. For reference, over in Kansas City, Alex Smith (himself no titan of the game, but a very serviceable quarterback on a generally-good team) has just quietly finished his fifth season in which he threw fewer than five interceptions in a year.

Peterman put together what is very plausibly the worst 30-minute resume in the history of professional sport, and Buffalo (Buffalo!) somehow rebounded from that to break a 20-year playoff drought. Sure, they're probably going to get obliterated in the first round of the playoffs, but you never know what's going to happen in January. It makes my central New York side a little misty-eyed. May you best Jacksonville next weekend, noble Bills. Then maybe Tom Brady will miss his flight back from Maui and you can squeak out a win in Foxboro.
posted by Mayor West at 8:44 AM on January 2 [10 favorites]


Peterman threw 5 INT’s in a half. Tyrod Taylor threw 4...all season.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:49 AM on January 2 [4 favorites]


I'm a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan. I was there for the Superbowl glory years. That seems so long ago. *sighs* That being said, even I have to admit that I'm impressed. The Buffalo Bills somehow managed to pull this off this season and they're in. I no longer live in Dallas and as a Canadian I'm closer to Buffalo geographically, so that might be playing a part in my wanting to root for this team. I'm happy for all the Buffalo fans out there.

I still think Philadelphia is going to win this year. Also, fuck the Patriots.
posted by Fizz at 8:49 AM on January 2 [3 favorites]


I grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania during the Bills v Cowboys era, and oh, boy, this warms my heart. Year after year, we cheered for the Bills, and year after year, we wept bitter tears; because of them, I learned what disappointment really is.

I live in southwestern PA now, and not bleeding black and gold is heresy, but I’ll be cheering for the Bills for as long as they last.
posted by punchtothehead at 9:37 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Buffalo lost a winnable game he started in large part to a performance so bad that Satan himself wept at the horrors.

The game Peterson lost was to the LA Chargers, also going to the playoffs and they were beat just as badly the week the before by the Saints. Tyrod should probably play a little riskier every now and then, so the fact that he threw only 4 interceptions (while scoring close to 50 points less than the LA Chargers (for example, same record as the Bills) all season means he never really took any risks or made any brave throws (which I'm blaming the coaching staff more than the player). Tom Brady for example has 7 4-interception games.
posted by The_Vegetables at 10:15 AM on January 2


And so Steven Haushcka’s playoff streak continues.

In another one of the more inexplicable decisions of this year, the Seahawks let Hauschka go as a free agent in order to save money. They signed Blair Walsh instead.

Walsh's poor kicking cost the Seahawks 3 games and a playoff spot. Hauschka is going to the playoffs as the Bills' kicker.

The game Peterson lost was to the LA Chargers, also going to the playoffs

Nope, they missed out.
posted by dw at 10:53 AM on January 2 [3 favorites]


Nathan Peterman's no Colin Kaepernick, that's for sure.
posted by the painkiller at 11:22 AM on January 2 [4 favorites]


Blair Walsh also won the Seahawks a playoff game a couple years ago when he missed a game winning field goal as the kicker for the Minnesota Vikings.
posted by chrchr at 11:56 AM on January 2


In a way, I'm disappointed that the Seahawks didn't get into the playoffs. As a lifelong Minnesotan, I was expecting the Vikings to lose to the Seahawks in the divisional round on a 56-yard no-time-left Walsh field goal.
posted by Ickster at 1:46 PM on January 2


Nope, they missed out.
Oh man, I wanted to see the team with no fans make a run for the title. At least Buffalo has fans.
posted by The_Vegetables at 3:22 PM on January 2


Oh man, I wanted to see the team with no fans make a run for the title. At least Buffalo has fans.

They'd have some goddamn fans if they hadn't left the city to move ninety miles up the freeway. Not that I'm bitter or anything, nosirree...

Anyway, in my continued state of 'anyone but the Patriots and the Cowboys plus sure ok I'll root for the Texans if they manage to win >1 game' the Buffalo Bills sound great to me. Go team!
posted by librarylis at 5:41 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


"Tyrod should probably play a little riskier every now and then"

Yeah, but see above re: short leash. If he takes a risk and it backfires, he's back on the bench.

"left the city to move ninety miles up the freeway"

Also a fear that Bills fans are familiar with.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:25 PM on January 2


"The Buffalo Bills are the best team in the league" - Joe Pera
posted by knile at 8:42 PM on January 2


Buffalo Bills fans give $170,000 to Dalton foundation
Giddy Buffalo fans are making donations to Andy Dalton’s foundation, their way of thanking the Bengals quarterback for his role in the Bills’ long-awaited playoff appearance.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:16 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


ha, yeah, when I put that in the post it was only at $22,000 or something. It's currently over $250,000! The guy who caught the pass from Dalton, WR Tyler Boyd, put out a request for donations to an organization covering sports-related costs for kids in low income areas around Western PA, and Bills fans have more than doubled their stated fundraising goal of $20,000.

Also: The Jacksonville Jaguars (ending a lengthy playoff drought of their own) donated 1000 tickets to Sunday's game to Puerto Ricans and refugees who resettled in the Duval area. “The Jaguars’ first home playoff appearance in very long time is an event that should be shared with as many people as possible, across all spectrums, who call Jacksonville their home,” Khan said.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:59 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


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