Filed under: Bills Obsession, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Uncategorized | Tags: Brady Quinn, Buffalo Bandits, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Bisons, Buffalo curse, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Sports, Sports, sports curses, sports superstitions
Buffalo, however, is cursed.
I am not a superstitious person. The idea of a sports team being “cursed” has always been quite ridiculous to me, especially in Baseball (disclaimer: I greatly dislike Baseball) where these teams play like 700 games a year and can’t figure out why it’s possible they haven’t won a pennant in 40 years. But baseball aside, I even used to have a hard time accepting the fact that Buffalo was “cursed.”
So one day I decided I would make a list of things that, taken together, could possibly point to a reason to accept that something out of any man’s control was actually screwing over an entire city. And then I realized what’s been staring us all in the face for years – we’re cursed.
So here’s the list. Some are mandatory, and some just bolster the argument. Each item will contain an example which excludes a city, and some recent (for length’s sake) backing for why Buffalo is still in the running.
1. Your city MUST have good, loyal, supportive fans. If no one cares that you are cursed, then you’re not cursed.
example: Atlanta. Your fans suck, you’re out.
Buffalo: Even though our economy is struggling and we’ve lost about 300,000 people since 1970, Sabres seasons are sold out with a waiting list and Bills seasons are at their highest point since we were in the Bowls, and most games for the season are sold out. That’s hardcore, man.
2(a). NO MAJOR LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS. This includes the big 4 – NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB. This is the one that gets under my skin the most. “Oh we’re cursed, we haven’t won since the last time we won” makes NO SENSE. So, if you’ve already won something, you might as well stop right here.*
*50 year exception given to CFL teams cause there’s only 8 teams. But this is the last time I’ll mention your crazy league because when I do a google search for “CFL,” “compact fluorescent lamp” comes up first.
example: Boston Red Sox.
Buffalo: No major league championships. nada.
2(b). No other team in your city has won either. A sports city isn’t cursed if their hockey, baseball, and basketball teams have all won but their football team hasn’t. Your football team just sucks, deal with it.
example: Chicago, and Boston again. The Celtics had 3 “championship eras.” You’re out.
Buffalo: see above.
2(c)(note). It is not mandatory that your minor league teams or D1 teams have never won, however this is including in the optional bolstering arguments below.
3. Inarguably terrible officiating (obviously, NOT in your favor).
example: Dallas. I hate you.
Buffalo: Besides the fact that Dick Jauron won more NFL challenges last year than any other coach, I will not mention all the smaller mistakes that officials have made over the years, as every team has experienced bad calls (although I’ve found it more prevelant with some teams, or, shall I say, less prevelant with other teams). However, I’ll mention the biggies. This list is not for the weak of heart. Here goes. Music City “miracle,” Flutie v. Pats in ’98, the forward lateral, 1998 Sabres/Capitals series where the caps ran Hasek repeatedly, the 2000 side-goal by LeClair, and of course, the two most hated words in WNY, No Goal. Ugh, I’m angry just writing those words. The only person who has not recognized that was not a goal is Hull himself. And you know he really knows it wasn’t. Jerk.
4. Jaw-dropping, news-making sports losses.
example: Losing teams that were so over-matched to begin with, Vegas didn’t even run lines on them. ( Like, 1985 Chicago Bears over Patriots)
Buffalo: Another painful list, so I’ll keep it short. Wide Right, Music City, No Goal, ’04-’05 UB Bulls Basketball (up by 19, lost at the buzzer), the ’06-’07 Sabres playoff run, and Monday night v. Dallas. I can’t go on. ugh.
5. You’ve lost a team or you were screwed out a team. It’s okay if the team came back as long as it still has not won.
example: anyone who hasn’t lost a team.
Buffalo: NBA Braves left, and the Bisons were beat to MLB by the Marlins, even though they set minor league attendance records right and left. The Marlins’ average attendance for the last nine years is only 16,702.
6. The beginning of the curse is unknown or was avoidable.
example: Boston again. You shouldn’t have sold the Bambino.
Buffalo: Who the hell knows. There are two theories, but I think they’re both lame. There’s one theory that it’s because President McKinley, a mason, was killed here. Lame. Second, a Tuscaroran man cursed the city after he was tripped in order to help a white man win a race, which is why the Bandits can win, because two-thirds of the Bandits’ 1992 championship roster was filled with players living on the Niagara County Tuscaroran Reservation. I think this is fooey, especially because WNY is home to 25% of the East Coast’s Indian Reservations. Why would they want to cause us so much pain?)
7. You’ve had one of your teams for more than 20 years.
example: Jacksonville Jaguars
Buffalo: definitely been ’round for +20.
So, the only ones left in the running after these 7 mandatories include Buffalo, Cleveland, and the State of Tennessee (or, Nashville). Now for the grab-bag of reasons. In order to qualify for “cursed” status, you must meet at least 50% of the following “bolstering” requirements:
1. The forces of nature (wind, rain, snow, heat, etc) have seemingly played against your team.
Buffalo: Bills v. Cleveland in ’07 for a wild care bid. The wind kept shifting everytime the Bills did so that they were always playing into it. Listen to the announcers, even they admit it at the time.
2. Horrendous leadership that won’t go away. This includes owners, managers, and coaches.
Buffalo: This is a tough one to argue because I’m not going to stand here and claim I know the first thing about running a sports franchise. But I’ll tell you one thing, I would have watched the sidelines against Dallas on that fateful Monday night last season, and I would have tried a little harder to keep Drury.
3. ESPN2 has made a “The Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Blame ______” about you.
Buffalo: You Can’t Blame Scott Norwood for the Buffalo Bills losing Super Bowl XXV (season 2); You Can’t Blame The Buffalo Bills for losing four straight Super Bowls (season 4). Also, stay tuned for an “America’s Game: The Missing Rings” on October 2.
4. Financial ruin.
Buffalo: The Sabres went bankrupt and the Bills have to play in Toronto. I’ll not go any further with this one.
5. Facilities that were designed poorly
Buffalo: The Aud (remember the fog game?) and the Ralph’s swirling winds and lack of credit card capabilities in the 300s. And the Amherst Pepsi center isn’t capable of housing a D1 hockey team, so UB doesn’t even get to have one.
6. Superstitions that were interferred with
Buffalo: Thurman Thomas’ missing helmet at XXVI
7. Creepy omens
Buffalo: We may be lacking on this one.
8. Tragedy or near-tragedy within the city’s sports world.
Of course no one wants to contribute personal tragedy to a sports curse, but I think it’s worth at least mentioning.
Buffalo: this is an unfortunate biggy for Buffalo. Clink Malarchuk and the eerily similar incident involving Richard Zednik, Kevin Everett, Hunter Kelly, the untimely death of Tim Russert, OJ Simpson, Tim Horton, etc etc.
9. Completely inexplicable and poorly-timed injuries. Injuries are normal, but you know when they cross the line.
Buffalo: half of the Bills starters were injured last year (okay, only 17) and the Sabres were missing almost their entire defensive core in ’05-’06 playoffs v. Carolina.
10. A lack of a championships among the city’s minor league, non-big 4 league, or D1 teams.
Buffalo: here, the Bisons and the Bandits are ruled out. But the Bulls Basketball Team have been through some deserving times for sure (both D1 and pre-D1), and the very short life of the Braves was none-too-exciting.
11. Non-sports tragedies in the city
Buffalo: I’m not going to name any blizzard, because they aren’t tragedies. But the steel plant closing due to the stubborness of it’s owners against modernizing was pretty detrimental to the city. And Love Canal deserves a pretty big spot here too.
12. Your city started it’s own, separate curse.
Buffalo: “The Comeback Curse.” Since the fantabulous comeback game against the Oilers, teams based in NY have lost all championship finals in which they have faced teams from Texas. It hasn’t been that long but it’s still weird.
13. No end in sight.
Just out of principle I can’t say that there’s no end on sight for Buffalo’s curse. I would even go so far as to say maybe we’ll have one in the next 10 years. So check back with me then, and I’ll let you know how I’m feeling.
So what does all this mean for Buffalo (and Cleveland and Nashville?). Who knows. Maybe we were created to make sports interesting. Maybe we exist so I could one day write this blog post.
Maybe we all just suck. But I think there’s a decent amount of evidence to the contrary.
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