I still remember it like it was the other day. The Buffalo Costs took a playoff lead with 16 seconds left on the clock, and after that … they blew it.
You might believe I’m describing in 2015’s divisional playoff in between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Costs. I might have been, however in this case, I’m in fact describing the 1999 AFC Wild Card video game in between the Tennessee Titans and the Costs. The Costs would not make the playoffs for another 18 years after this loss.
The Costs are, regrettably, the only group in the last thirty years to lose not one, however 2 championship game after taking a lead with less than 25 seconds staying on the clock.
A lower fan base may have deserted their group after losses like these.
What you require to understand is that you do not end up being and remain an Expenses fan since it is simple. You end up being and remain an Expenses fan since in the words of previous Buffalo Head Coach Marv Levy: “When it’s too hard for them, it’s perfect for us.”.
In 2015’s loss versus the Chiefs made Costs fans like me a lot more excited to see the Costs lastly win a Super Bowl.
And when you took a look at the stats a couple of weeks earlier, it appeared like that optimism would pay dividends.
Heading into Week 17, the Costs were connected for the very best record in the AFC. They held the tiebreaker over the Chiefs for a first-round playoff bye and house field benefit throughout the playoffs.
Then, it took place: the minute in which football took a rear seat and even the most difficult of males ended up being noticeably psychological.
The near death of Costs security Damar Hamlin in front of a nationwide tv audience is most likely the most shocked I have actually been viewing a live occasion unfold on tv given that the September 11 attacks.
The occasion had numerous parallels for American audiences to the unexpected collapse of Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen due to heart attack at Euro 2020 had for global ones.
However for nevertheless terrible Hamlin’s near death experience was– like Eriksen’s subsequent healing– the days later have actually been a lot more uplifting.
His fantastic survival and healing, together with how Buffalo and, actually, the world rallied around him, embodied Levy’s words.
The NFL wound up canceling the Costs video game versus the Cincinnati Bengals throughout which Hamlin’s injury took place. While that was the right call, it had the negative effects of enabling the Chiefs to have another win than the Costs since Buffalo played one less video game.
The Costs now need to play in the preliminary of the playoff as the Chiefs get the first-round bye.
Still, I feel more positive than I have actually felt in all my years as an Expenses fan. I picture it’s how Buffalo fans felt throughout the 1990/91 season– the one that wound up with the Costs losing on a last 2nd missed out on basket by Scott Norwood to an underdog New york city Giants team (A side note: I’m too young to in fact bear in mind that video game).
Once again, as I stated previously, a lower fan base may have deserted their group after losing like that. Rather, Norwood was cheered at a downtown rally following the loss. The Costs would go on to end up being the first string to make 4 successive Super Bowls … and consequently lose each of them.
So why do I feel so excellent after such disappointments?
Part of it might blind optimism. Part of it might be the high I’m feeling after the Costs beat the New England Patriots last weekend, a video game in which Nyheim Hines returned the opening kickoff for a goal and after that ended up being the very first gamer since 2010 to return 2 kickoffs for a goal.
It seems like fate is lastly on our side. After all, it was 3 years and 3 months given that the Costs had actually returned a kick for a goal; quarterback Josh Allen tossed for 3 goals; and the Costs defense had 3 interceptions versus the Patriots. Hamlin’s jersey number is, naturally, No. 3.
Obviously, I’m not one who generally counts on fate. I’m actually the only “information press reporter” at CNN.
So let’s speak about cold tough statistics.
This weekend, the Costs will play the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card round. They’re preferred to win by double-digits.
After that, the roadway most likely gets harder in the AFC divisional video game, the AFC National championship and the Super Bowl.
I understand, however, we have the very best group. Whether it be ESPN’s FPI, FiveThirtyEight’s Elo or Football Outsiders DVOA, the Costs are the leading group in the league according to the metrics. The last of those indexes has the Costs as just the seventh group in the last 40 years to complete in the leading 5 leaguewide in offense, defense and unique groups.
To paraphrase another well-known quote from Levy, there genuinely is no location I would rather be as an Expenses fan than right here, today.