From True/Slant on September 15, 2009:
Patriots Win Makes Terrell Owens & Nation Sad
My in-laws have a home in Cape Cod and I spend at least one week a year with them, which happens to be this week. It’s wonderful here, but I found myself behind enemy lines, as it were, watching the New England Patriots take on the Buffalo Bills at a little restaurant in Truro, Massachusetts. It was one of the more subdued experiences of my sports viewing life.
Despite my fondness for the region, the fact that this game meant nothing to me, that the Bills mean nothing to me, I wanted the Pats to lose. I wanted this very much. And I wanted their fans to suffer.
In the interest of full disclosure, I really like New England, the actual place, not the NFL franchise. I like Cape Cod beaches, Dunkin Donuts coffee and Nantucket Nectars. I love Ted Kennedy, Boston’s North End, Sam Adams beers, Click & Clack of “Car-Talk” fame, and Wellfleet oysters. I rooted for Larry Bird and Carlton Fisk. And it’s true that rooted for Big Papi, too. I’m even fond of Howard Dean and spent one of the more fun afternoons of my life hauling in lobster traps on a boat near Portland, Maine. It should also be noted that I hate the New England Patriots and have written about it at great length elsewhere, snarking on Hoodie, the smug, handsome quarterback, their Gordon Gekko wannabe owner, and the red, blue and silver uniforms. (Hello, your name references the birth of the United State of America? How’s about you go back to the old red, blue and white? )
To sum up, the things I love about New England are pretty much every thing but the Patriots who I hate very, very much. And I am not alone. The dislike for this team? It is everywhere. And it goes deep.
And so, surrounded by Pats fans (and anxious to observe them in their own habitat), I quietly rooted against the Patriots, futilely hoping the Bills would find a way to hold them off. It is my decided opinion that Patriots fans have not suffered enough and that Bills fans have suffered tenfold more than their share. Of course, as these things go, the Bills lost, adding just one more layer of suffering for Buffalo fans watching their team blow it.
I think that if you cut a Bills fan in half, you can count the rings of suffering, like counting the rings of very old Oak.
Up by 11 points with about five and a half minutes to play, the Buffalo coaching staff thought it wise to abandon everything they had done heretofore (which had worked beautifully), change tacks to cede the short passing game to Tom Brady who then proceeded to pick them apart into bite sized Buffalo bites and pull his team within five points. But the game was still there for the taking. All the Bills had to do was not turn the ball over, which of course, they promptly did on the ensuing kickoff as the Leodis McKelvin fumble ensured the primacy of the Patriots and the hopelessness of the Bills. As they say, it was just the Bills being the Bills.
For 55 minutes, the Bills outplayed the mighty, imperious Patriots, holding the unstoppable New England offense in check. Only to screw it up. My heart broke a little for Buffalo fans who I’m sure felt like they’ve been here, in this exact spot — on the losing end of an imminently winnable game, watching a choice opportunity slip through their grasps.
It’s sad, really. So sad, in fact, that it occasioned the inaugural Sad Buffalo Face of the TO era.
The Sad Buffalo Face is unique to Buffalo (hence the name) and while other fans have reasons to be sad or mad or dejected, the Sad Buffalo Face is unlike any other franchise face. I have this friend who is a Bills fans and at least 10 times a year, she makes her Sad Buffalo Face. It is the face of dejection. It is at once surprised and resigned, both injured and beyond hurt, full of longing and utter despair. It is a face that says, “How did we end up here again?” while at the same time saying, “I knew we’d end up here again.”
The Sad Buffalo Face always makes me think, there but for the grace of god go I — I could have been born a Bills fan.
Welcome to the full Buffalo experience, Terrell. I think we’re going to be seeing a lot of his Sad Buffalo Face.