When you go through 13 years of losing, it becomes pretty hard to find redeeming qualities with the team you cheer for. You can talk about the booze, friends, love for football and camaraderie for reasons to go to games all you want, but winning is what really matters and keeps you going to games with a smile on your face that wasn't put there by a chemical solution (Beer).
Like it or not, the sports world we live in now happens to be one where the ultimate judgment for individuals are based on wins/losses. If your team loses and you happen to be in a market that isn't sexy enough to outsiders, you are going to be forgotten no matter how good of a player you are. Tony Romo in Jacksonville is vastly different than Tony Romo in Dallas.
You get my drift?
For the Bills, there's only been a handful of guys who are viewed as great players and would get a lot more credit if they were playing for winning franchises. Unfortunately they are stuck in the wasteland of Buffalo sports. And I'm not talking about guys like Spikes or Fletcher or T.O., who all had a cup of coffee here, I'm talking homegrown guys who actually had talent and not just some sort of bum that fans gravitated to because they used the hash tag Billsmafia.
Chris Kelsay was kind of viewed as that guy until he retired, but because he was a lousy player, it just didn't pack the same punch for me. I want to cheer for guys who are actually good at football.
Our current diamond in a rough is someone who was a selection away from maybe going to Pittsburgh, New England or New Orleans. A pick there or pick here, maybe you aren't going through the same hell Bills fans are going through in thinking that nothing good will ever come to the football team. Instead, you'd be shining your Super ring and getting plenty of airtime on ESPN.
That man is Kyle Williams...and he's my generation's version of Fred Smerlas.
I didn't grow up watching Smerlas, but I know the guy was the Bills best player prior to Jim Kelly coming to town. He made multiple pro bowls and was a fan favorite, yet, the team was a fricken disaster in front of him for most of his long career. He was the poster boy for those teams for being a fun guy who could play his ass off, except, he was in football hell.
While I wouldn't say Kyle is on the same par as Fred Smerlas in terms of personality, he's a pretty funny guy. He has kind of a big kid quality to him in just the way he presents himself. A country boy with a mix of "Ah, shucks", right?
Like Smerlas, Williams is also a nose tackle and as of today, he is the longest tenured player on the Bills (Actually, it is Lindell, but I don't care about kickers and he'll probably get cut) and with that, he has the distinguished honor of having the most losses of anyone on the team.
For the record, his teams holds a record of 37-59 and have beaten only 6 playoff teams over that time. You can only imagine how many sad locker rooms Kyle had to go through after those 59 losses. Man, 59 losses? Does Peyton Manning even have 59 losses for his career?
Try waking up everyday at your job, knowing that you are the best employee there, but you are going against fortune 500 companies and you are just working your ass off at a mom/pop shop with a bunch of guys that can't cut it.
That's Kyle Williams' career.
Sadly, this has become kind of a time honored tradition..Eric Moulds to Lee Evans to Aaron Schobel and maybe the future will consist of CJ Spiller and Stevie Johnson being the heir apparents to losing.
I don't want that.
I don't want that for Williams.
I want the streak snapped and it would be special if player who bled with the fans when it came to losing could feel the thrill of getting that 600 pound gorilla lifted off their back like us. Every man should get a first crack at love in their life and that's the same parallel to a football player being a part of a playoff team.
That's why you play the game. To win.
It would be so awesome if the Bills made the playoffs and you know Williams would be one of the first players you'd want to hear from in the winning locker room because he's been through the torment. I remember when Nate Clements cried after he made the playoffs with the Bengals for the first time in his career a few years ago.
I remember when I started watching the Bills, Smerlas had left to go to SF and NE, and that year was the first time the Bills got to the Super Bowl. The narrative at that time was "Poor Fred. Just bad timing and the story of his career." Can you imagine what he was feeling when the Bills finally made it to the SB and he wasn't there?
That must have been a kick in the nuts.
While playoffs are an extreme loooooooooooong shot, I just hope that some of our top players can at least taste them here while being able to play at a high level.
I can't think of a player that deserves it more than #95. I'm sure if he tears up if they make the playoffs, it will be a something along the lines of the water washing away the self-defeat once and for all.
Yeah..I want that feeling too.