Admit it. At one point or another in your life you have changed something because of a superstition or a supposed jinx. Whether it be going around the block to get home because a black cat crossed in front of you at your turn, or having to eat the same exact meal in the same exact spot during a Buffalo Bills winning streak, we don’t want to tempt fate.
Then there are those of us, like this author, who continue to do things that don’t turn out so well. What I’m talking about are my choices over the past 20-plus years when it comes to jersey purchases for the Bills.
A rational person would say, “A jersey you purchase has no effect on a player or team.” I would tend to agree. However, when evidence continues to mount saying the players whose jerseys I purchase see drastic changes in their on-field careers one way or the other, something must be awry.
Starting with my earliest jersey, here are the careers I altered one way or another.
1. Bryce Paup
When Paup joined the Bills in 1995, I was 9 years old and had never heard of him. So after his monster ‘95 season in which he tallied 17.5 sacks and won NFL Defensive Player of the year, I of course had to have his jersey for the 1996 campaign.
I’m sorry Bryce. Paup only remained in Orchard Park for two more years, during which he totaled 15.5 combined sacks. He played three more years in the league before retiring. So, after my jersey purchase, he had 25 combined sacks in five years.
2. Antoine Winfield
In terms of productivity, this one wasn’t bad. Winfield was a fantastic corner for multiple years. The problem with this jersey purchase is that he left for Minnesota 5 months after I purchased it.
I have always been drawn to corners and safeties (Deion Sanders was my favorite player growing up), so when I was deciding on a jersey for the 2003 season, I honed in on the former Ohio State Buckeye (my favorite college). He was young and I knew his contract was going to be up, but I figured there was no way we let him walk in his prime.
This is when I realized Buffalo during this time period didn’t pay top dollar for free agents, even the homegrown ones.
Winfield of course went on to play nine solid seasons with the Vikings. So this jinx had to do more with him leaving town then productivity.
3. J.P. Losman
I really thought I nailed this pick.
I had held off on the Losman purchase, because I didn’t want to get burned again. Then 2006 happened when the Tulane product passed for more than 3,000 yards and had 19 TDs. He was on ESPN, the Jim Rome Show, etc. That was enough to convince me he was our answer at franchise quarterback.
Then 2007 happened.
We drafted Captain Checkdown, who the fans loved for some reason. Losman only started seven games in 2007 and two in 2008 and none after that.
4. Tyrod Taylor
This one may be a controversial addition to the jinx list, but hear me out.
Tyrod looked extremely promising in 2015, his first year as a starter. He had a great touch on deep passes, made plays with this legs and just added excitement to a team that needed a spark. I figured heading in to year two, with the backing of the team and a full year under his belt, he would take that next step and become a Top-10 signal caller.
Will I never learn?
In the following two seasons, Taylor saw his yards decrease each year, his passing TDs decrease each year, and was eventually benched for Nathan Peterman (we know how that turned out).
As you can see, there is a history of me being the kiss of death for Bills players. I learned my lesson this year and purchased a Bruce Smith jersey. He can’t be jinxed on the field.
I also purchased a Tremaine Edmunds jersey.
Don’t hurt me.