I've gotta say, Stevie J being at the Bills new Jersey unveiling Friday night at One Bills Drive has become the final reason why for me, the Joker has become my new favorite Bill. The event is provided for only the truly die hard, hard up for football kind of Bills fan. And he's at it?!? Wow!
Guys like Poz, Whitner, Byrd, Schobel, Evans and even Kyle Williams have all "missed the mark" when it comes to one important ingredient critical to success in the ultimate team sport IMO. Passion. When you have it you embrace everything around you that will help you to succeed. That includes loyalty, love of city, love of team and more. Stevie being at this event epitomizes his passion to a tee. Nobody told Stevie he should be at the event. He didn't have a sports agent call him on the phone to say that he should because it would be good for his next contract negotiation. He didn't have a coach call him to tell him this would set a good example of what a team leader does. Hell, if anything he may get in trouble from the league BECAUSE he went! But he HAD too, because he absolutely, positively loves the game of pro football. And the team and city he plays for. (Heck, he might even bought a jersey after the event just so he could go home to sleep in it:)
The guys I mentioned that don't have this trait do of course have skills that can lead them to be very good football players. So please don't get me wrong. But I don't believe you can say they have this kind of very rare, very underrated characteristic - that all the great sports teams have. Whether that passion is to be great, to be a winner, or to lead your teammates to victory, it doesn't matter. The fact is a team needs it. Great teams have it. And our Bills team needs it in abundance.
I just haven't seen it around here. And it's bothered me, even though I don't believe I even understood what it was that bothered me up until today. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I was too spoiled growing up watching the desire of players like D. Talley, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, Andre Reed, Jim Kelly, Steve Tasker and Kent Hull - leave absolutely everything out on the field. Every game. These guys played hard, then partied even harder. They loved the Bills. And they loved BEING a Bill. They played their hearts out for this city. And nobody told them that they had to. Not an agent. Not a coach. No one but themselves, to each other. Their passion or desire was clearly seen after every win...and after each painful loss. And it just haven't been around here in Buffalo in a long, long time.
Until now. Here's hoping M. Dareus, CJ Spiller, Shawn Merriman and Ryan Fitz' all join Stevie J in realizing how wonderful their opportunity is to be a professional football player in the National Football League. Embrace the city and logo you play for. And exude true passion to be great. Only from there, will we begin to reverse the curse that has been on this team since it was ripped apart, ironically through an unveiling of that ugly, hopefully buried for good jersey that was shoved on us over a decade ago.
So Cheers to you Stevie J!!! Keep it up!!! And make BILLS PASSION thrive!!!