Oh, no! Not again! Not them !
What did we do to deserve this?!
Listen! When you go to the movies, do you want to see the faithful sidekick get the girl? Want to see John Wayne losing the war? Want a leading lady with buck teeth? A serial where the hero really does fall off a cliff?
Well, the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl is cut from the same script. It's not even an adult western, an anti-hero flick. It's baggy-pants comedy. A part for the Three Stooges, the Keystone Kops. Charlie Chaplin Goes to the Super Bowl.
They should carry a cane and have shoes too big with holes in them and a dirty derby and torn clothes. They do a pratfall every year. But they keep coming back for more. It's a cartoon.
Every year, it's like going to answer a knock on the door and there stands your mother-in-law with her suitcase in hand. The Bills are America's mother-in-law.
The price of Super Bowl tickets just took a nose-dive. In addition to everything else, the game is a rerun. I mean, didn't we see this plot last year?
Of all the matchups we could have had in the Super Bowl, this one is the least dramatic. Hey, we could have had Joe Montana against his old team and Steve Young. We could have had an all-Texas shootout at the OK Corral--Houston vs. Dallas. Billy the Kid vs. Wyatt Earp.
What do we get? The same old story.
The Buffalo Bills have gone to three consecutive Super Bowls. The cumulative score is Buffalo 60, NFC teams 109.
Can't we get an injunction? A restraining order?
I don't know what Minnesota's gimmick was, but Denver's trick was to get its opponents in the rarefied Colorado mile-high altitude. The Broncos would lose maybe one game every two years in the mountains. Then they'd get down to sea level and turn into pumpkins. They lost Super Bowl games 42-10 and 55-10. They weren't games, they were track meets.
Buffalo's gimmick was to get its opponents at zero degrees. While they were blowing on their fingers or trying to keep icicles from forming, Buffalo ran up the score. When the Bills got to Pasadena or Tampa, they thawed out. In Buffalo, they were the Abominable Snowman. In Pasadena, a puddle on the Rose Bowl floor.
They're the kind of guests, when you see them coming, you lock the doors and turn out the lights and pretend you're not home.
But enough carping. They know they're not America's Team. Their fans hung out a sign "We're Back! Deal With It America!"
OK, let's deal with it. The score last year was--what? Dallas 52, Buffalo 17?
Here's what we have to do: Play the Pollyanna. Write copy like:
"The mighty Buffalo Bills, who fell only 35 points short of winning their first Super Bowl game in three tries last year, brought a smile to every fan's face when they qualified for their fourth straight chance this year. Their win caused dancing in the streets as far away as Tonawanda and Olean with some sporadic cheering in Utica.
"An official at City Hall told Channel 2 that the rumor someone had asked the team to remove 'Buffalo' from their logo and substitute the 'Bad News Bills' was not true.
"The city did recommend to the league a series of changes for this game that might be in order:
"1. Buffalo would need only five yards for a first down while Dallas would need at least the standard 10--and if ahead at the half, at least 15.
"2. Touchdowns would count only three points if scored by Dallas but nine if scored by the Bills.
"3. Dallas' quarterback would be required to throw passes left-handed.
"4. If the Buffalo quarterback is sacked three or more times, he is entitled to football's version of the penalty kick--in other words, the Cowboys are taken off the field and Jim Kelly gets a free throw for a touchdown.
"5. Emmitt Smith is required to play in leg chains, and after he has carried the ball or caught the ball five times, he is ineligible.
"6. Michael Irvin has to run pass patterns backward.
"7. Cowboy Coach Jimmy Johnson must wear a muzzle or go read a whole bunch of Tom Landry sayings.
"8. Cowboy owner Jerry Jones has to furnish Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson with a complete copy of the Dallas playbook with all the plays and the order in which they will be called. "
If none of this works, well, it just goes to show you the Bills' motto is probably correct: If at first you don't succeed, you probably never will.