Last week, I wrote about the four-part documentary series airing on ABC and ESPN detailing the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
I proceeded to move on with my life, not expecting to hear anything about it again. I'm a cord-cutter (a concept that wasn't even a glimmer in anyone's eye during the actual trial), so I haven't watched any of the series, and I didn't figure many people would care too much. After all, the story is over two decades old, and everybody has more or less formed their opinions on the ordeal. Is there anything more to be said?
Apparently, there is. Yahoo Sports' Eric Edholm wrote a terrific piece on the relationship between O.J. and the city of Buffalo, especially as it relates to the change of the dynamic after the arrest and trial. I'm not going to re-hash it, but there are some points I wanted to throw out there.
In the piece, Edholm writes, "There are scores of Bills fans now who were not even alive when Simpson played; they only know him from the trial or the recent TV series." That stood out to me, as I am one of those fans. I was born well after he retired, I was in grade school when he was tried and acquitted, and now I'm almost 30. I have no real memory of the pre-trial Simpson aside from watching "The Naked Gun" as a kid and not understanding any of the jokes, and there's a growing segment of the fandom that wasn't even around for that era. In four months, anybody who was born on the day of Simpson's acquittal will legally be able to drink in the United States.
The lack of memories, though, speaks to the relationship between the man and the city. O.J. was never a big fan of Buffalo, its weather and stark contrast to Hollywood, and it doesn't seem the city grew on him the way it did to so many other players who passed through; he was more Rob Johnson than Jim Kelly. Buffalonians can be thin-skinned when it comes to their perception among the outside world; I know I feel a little twinge of frustration whenever anybody knocks the city. The fact that Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas settled down there absolutely ingrains them into the fabric of Buffalo to a larger extent than Simpson could.
The fact that some still consider him the greatest Bills player ever underscores that point. He was a dynamic talent on the field certainly worthy of the first overall pick, yet he was passed over for the all-time Bills team by a second-rounder who never led the league in rushing. It helps that Thurman Thomas was a generational talent in his own right, but if Simpson had endeared himself to the city a bit more he would easily have that spot (not that it likely matters to him). For the record, I'm fine with calling O.J. the fourth-best Bill of all-time, but I don't have a problem with anyone who wants to put him higher.
In the end, I think it's hard for us to get too worked up about him anymore. I'm honestly surprised there's been enough media coverage to sustain two pieces about the man. It's been time to move on for a while now, though. I'm done with him, and I wouldn't be surprised if you are as well.