Yesterday, it was announced with little fanfare (and surprisingly few comments from the peanut gallery) that the Bills in Toronto Series was being “postponed” for 2014. Yeah, and the last time I “postponed” a date, I never saw her again. Looks like the writing’s on the wall for the Bills in TO, and as someone who attended every single one of those games–except for last year’s sorry-ass contest–all I hafta say is “It’s not me, it’s you.”
Let’s face it, the Bills haven’t helped themselves by bringing some gawd-awful squads up here. This franchise hasn’t made the playoffs since Doug Flutie was their QB (that was 14 years ago, in case you’re wondering), and their results weren’t much worse in Toronto than they were at any stadium in America–a mere 1-5 in six regular season contests. But it’s not just that they lost those games, but how they lost them: 16-3 to Miami, 19-13 to the Jets, 22-19 to Chicago, 50-17 to the Seahawks… OK, so I quite enjoyed that last loss. But it’s no secret I was sitting on the visitor’s sideline for that one.
When they announced the 2013 opponent as the Atlanta Falcons, I was a little less enthused. After all, I did have a bit of a beef with Atlanta–who knocked the Hawks outta the playoffs on a last-second field goal in 2012–but I figured that the reigning NFC South champs would make Buffalo burgers out of the Bills, who had about as much depth and talent at QB as the Calgary Flames have got in goal. As it turns out, Atlanta’s season went been shitty *inside joke* in a hurry, and they were about as bad as Buffalo coming in…but even with Seattle playing on MNF that week, I opted to sit at home and watch a Broncos game rather than pay money to see that sorry spectacle.
It figures that last season’s game was the highest-scoring Bills contest in Toronto, with the so-called home side losing 34-31 in overtime. That could actually be considered exciting–if either team had anything to play for. But the biggest complaint afterwards wasn’t about the Bills giving up a game-tying TD in the last two minutes, or the piss-poor play of EJ Manuel (18-32, 210 yards, 50.3 QBR); it was about all the fans cheering for the Falcons. Cuz hey, it may be 1,600 km away, but Atlanta’s still on the East Coast, so their fans’ll still travel. And it’s not like the visitors making more noise was a new thing–any Bills fans who hadn’t left by halftime wanted to puke, not shout, in that Seattle game. In fact, Bills center Eric Wood went on local radio afterwards and said stuff like “[Toronto]‘s a bad atmosphere for football. I mean, nobody wants to play there. I guess for opposing teams it beats the hell out of going in somebody else’s stadium and dealing with a bunch of crowd noise.” Really, he could’ve been talking about any Bills in Toronto Series game there…except maybe their lone win over Washington.
Now, there are some–including The Mayor of This CityTM and his First Brother–who think that as a world-class city, we deserve a world-class team in a world-class football league. Well, the Bills may play in the NFL, but they haven’t been a world-class team in 20 years. And as I’ve said before, Toronto’s just not that big into football. I mean, the Argos haven’t brought a decent crowd out to Rogers Centre since Doug Flutie was their QB.
Speaking of which, it’s probably just as well that I won’t hafta pretend to be a Bills fan once a year anymore. Even after dropping a lotta weight these past few months, I just barely fit into my Flutie jersey…