Madden 2010: Ending the Culture of Losing

If losing consistently and painfully is a virtue, consider Buffalo the holy land.  Buffalo has it all: crushed hopes and dreams, extended periods of consistent losing, chronic mismanagement and fat shirtless guys with bad facial hair.  For those of you who may not be aware of the particulars, here is a quick rundown.

MLB. Buffalo (along with Denver, Miami and Tampa) is named a finalist for one of the two expansion teams to be awarded in 1993.  A few months and a few million dollars later, the city of Buffalo is left holding a rejection letter, while fans are left with a AAA Mets farm team and a handful of buy-one-get-one-free bleacher seat coupons.

NHL. 1975 Stanley Cup finals: Sabres center Jim Lorentz becomes the only NHL player to ever kill an animal during a game when he high-sticks a bat to death.  The Sabres go on to lose to the Flyers.  The following 24 seasons saw the Sabres earn zero stanley cup appearances and one near death experience with a goalie.  One “No Goal” and another Stanley Cup finals loss later, the Sabres follow that up with a lockout, an owner indicted on multiple felony counts and yet another decade of mediocrity.

NBA. The expansion Buffalo Braves play 5 seasons of uninspired basketball.  In an attempt to increase revenue and expand the fan base, the Braves move a number of games to Toronto (sound familiar?). Losing money hand over fist, the Braves were sold in 1976 and became… the Clippers.

Last, but not least: Buffalo also has the Bills.

1964-1966: Buffalo becomes the first team to reach the AFL championship three years in a row, winning two.  In 1968, the Bills finish with the worst record in the league.  Drafting first overall the following year, the Bills select one Orenthal James Simpson.  The rest, as they say, is history.

1990-1993: the Bills become the first team to reach four consecutive superbowls.  One “wide right”, and three blowouts later, the Bills also become the first team to lose four consecutive superbowls.  Four years and four middling seasons later, Jim Kelly retires and the dynamic duo of Wade Phillips and Doug Flutie are brought in to save the franchise.  The Bills make a valiant charge into the playoffs, only to have the Tennesee Titans introduce “Music City Miracle” into NFL lexicon.  The Bills have yet to make a playoff appearance since.

But fear not Buffalo fans, there is hope.

In a new weekly piece, I will take the Buffalo Bills through a real-time Madden 2010 season to capture the electronic glory that your real teams have failed to provide.

When first asked to tackle this piece, I was understandably reluctant.  It’s the Buffalo Bills.  On All-Madden level.  With fifteen minute quarters.  Would I even be able to get past midfield with Trent Edwards at quarterback using Dick Jauron’s playbook?

The tipping point in deciding to take this gig came when I read an ESPN article titled “The Culture of Losing in Buffalo”.  I’ll save you the time googling it: ESPN thinks that Buffalo is full of losers who enjoy losing.  The Buffalo Bills will never be able to beat the Jets, let alone the hallowed New England Patriots.

I hate the Patriots.

Game on.

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