One of my earliest memories is of my dad going to a Bills playoff game – no doubt the January 1, 1967 loss to Kansas City for the right to face the Packers in the Super Bowl.
Reading that article today is an amazing time capsule back to that time, when Buffalo was a top 20 market for spending and television … and that was without counting the Canadians across the border.
It also highlights some bit I didn’t know:
Buffalo expected to get an NHL team in 1966, but instead St. Louis got a team they hadn’t even applied for.
Buffalo expected to get a National League baseball team in 1969, but the franchise was awarded to Montreal instead.
The Bills were considering moving over new stadium issues in 1969 – to Seattle!
The (football) Bisons of the All-America Football Conference, as one of 3 profitable teams, expected to join the NFL with Cleveland and San Francisco, but the third slot went to Baltimore.
The article implies that the St. Louis, Montreal and Baltimore deals were all dirty.
The article also discusses the stadium plans at that point. The choice was between a location downtown, or one about 5 blocks from where I grew up (near what is now ECC North). I was cognizant of enough in the 1970’s to recall the lawsuit and settlement when Rich Stadium was ultimately built in a third location.
The article makes no mention of the Buffalo Sabres, who would be playing 20 months after publication. Only that the ownership group would apply for a franchise the next time the NHL opened the doors.
It also makes no mention of the Buffalo Braves, the NBA team that couldn’t make a go there in the 1970’s (maybe because they stunk). They also started playing 20 months after the article appeared. Eventually they landed as the Los Angeles Clippers (and they still stink).
There’s also no mention that Buffalo did have a National League baseball team in the 19th century, or an NFL team in the 1920’s.
JT forwarded me this article. It’s about how Buffalo built a state-of-the-art stadium, and then filled it with record crowds to show their commitment to getting a major league baseball expansion franchise.
Buffalo still has the stadium, but 4 other cities have the clubs.
Lots of good links in the article, including an obscure video shot at the stadium from when the Goo Goo Dolls were still just a local band. Even better is this local news piece from the night before the stadium’s first game:
At the time, the reporter makes clear that getting the team wasn’t an if but a when.
And, check out that 80's hairstyle and oversized leather jacket on Mindy Rich!
I am going through this with a co-author right now. His vision was to use raw data put out by the NHL. My reality was that this data was over 1,000 observations on over 1,200 games. I went with the script:
Now that it’s done (thanks to Trevor MacDonald) I know I am way out on the right of this chart.
Not a very interesting story: career criminal does 17 years for murder and gets out 10 years early for good behavior.
But the backstory is interesting.
The pitcher was murdered outside of spring training. He would’ve made the team.
Another utility player found his killer because he’d networked with a loser while bombing out of spring training years before, then they went nosing around bad neighborhoods listening for gossip, and they got the tip they needed from a thug.
FTNItK: Jeremy Lin is a point guard, who got no scholarship out of high school, went to Harvard (and majored in economics) where he was the best player they’d ever had, but still went undrafted, and has been a benchwarmer for most of his first 2 seasons in the NBA. He started getting a lot more playing time this month, and has burned up the courts. He is the first Chinese-American player in the NBA, and some think prejudice has worked against him.
It took me a few days to realize the similarities between Super Bowl XLVI and Super Bowl XXV.
Team A goes up by a bit in the first half, including a safety.
Team B end the half with a 85+ yard touchdown drive.
Team B starts the second half with a 75+ yard touchdown drive, completing a 14 point swing where Team B runs over 20 plays for more than 160 yards without Team A having a meaningful possession.
Team A makes it closer*, but is behind at the 2 minute warning.
Team A can go ahead with a field goal, and win the game if it can run out the clock.
The difference? This time Team A scored the touchdown but left time on the board and had to defend against a drive with a low probability of success. Twenty-one years ago Team A ran the clock down (like the Giants wanted to do this time), but missed the field goal to win the game.†
Here’s the irony: the Giants won the first game as Team B and the second as Team A.
* This time the Giants put up two field goals but didn’t retake the lead until the end. In Super Bowl XXV the Bills put up a touchdown to retake the lead, but the Giants answered with a field goal.
† Mercy smiled on Bills fans this time around. I never heard mention once that the Giants professed strategy of running out the clock and kicking the field goal to win had been tried and found wanting in another super bowl game.
And yet … there it is … the mid-winter heartache of Buffalo Bills fans everywhere … the annual reminder of Scott Norwood missing the field goal to win Super Bowl XXV.
Better yet … the book being reviewed isn’t about football, and doesn’t mention Buffalo at all outside of the caption.
Instead, the book is about how important it is to people to lay blame, even when it is inappropriate.
And, in defense of the article, the caption to the photo points out (correctly) that Norwood probably shouldn’t be blamed too much by Bills fans:
In Super Bowl XXV, the Buffalo Bills—who had scored 95 points in their first two playoff games—were held to 19 by the New York Giants. Still, kicker Scott Norwood took the blame for the one-point loss when he missed a 47-yard field goal in the closing seconds.
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