It's been 11 years to the day since the Buffalo Bills have appeared in a playoff game. As the playoffs get under way this afternoon, let's take time to reflect on ourselves as Bills fans in this lost decade-plus.
On January 8th, 2000, the Tennessee Titans' Frank Wycheck threw a questionable lateral to Kevin Dyson ending Buffalo's 11-5 season. The Bills, led curiously by quarterback Rob Johnson and not Doug Flutie, had just taken the lead on a 41-yard Steve Christie field goal. Christie's kickoff would become one of those rare NFL plays that gets its own nickname. The improbable became reality and Bills fans, though they didn't know it yet, would be in for a very long wait.
Eleven seasons is an eternity. Before these last eleven seasons, Buffalo made the playoffs 10 of the previous 12. This fruitless run is the longest streak in team history by a country mile. Even the 1970-era Bills earned a playoff spot in 1974 at 9-4. They were promptly dispatched by the Pittsburgh Steelers but that playoff oasis in the middle of a 13-season drought gave Bills fans something. Plus OJ Simpson was special and even if the team wasn't great, he was.
When I sit down to watch the playoffs later this afternoon I won't be thinking about how the Bills haven't seen the tournament in over a decade. I'll be watching awesome football. I encourage all Bills fans to do the same. Take a weekend and enjoy great football.
Take heart, Bills fans. Some day the long nightmare will be over and we will once again be in it to win it.