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Opinion: Much to be thankful for in 2022 with the Buffalo Bills

Let’s take a step back and appreciate everything that the Buffalo Bills are right now

Cleveland Browns v Buffalo Bills Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Studies done jointly between a University of California, Davis psychologist and one from the University of Miami showed that happiness correlates significantly with gratitude. It is for this reason that I enjoy Thanksgiving so much. I don’t overly enjoy much of the traditional Thanksgiving food, and I’m not particularly fond of the origin of American Thanksgiving, but those are topics for another time (or perhaps never). But the spirit of Thanksgiving, a day where we take a moment to look around our lives and take inventory of our blessings, has always greatly appealed to me much because of that correlation with happiness. Most surveyed would agree that happiness is a goal of theirs, but far too often we fail to recognize happiness as a lagging indicator of a behavior. We instead view it as a lagging indicator of strictly circumstance, and so chase ideal circumstances to obtain the happiness we seek.

But as all celebrating families sit down to their turkey dinners, complete with any number of yellow- or brown-colored side dishes, we who have a rooting interest in the Buffalo Bills have things for which to be thankful. So before your know-it-all uncle begins waxing poetically about how you’re all tired because of the tryptophan in the turkey (it’s not that; it’s the over-eating and the carbs), allow us to take stock in that for which we are grateful. From me, to you, a list:

Organizational function

The infamous “privy” press conference with Doug Whaley was one of many organizational low points during the Bills’ 17-year playoff drought. Doug Marrone and Mike Mularkey resigning from one of 32 of their dream jobs were moments that stung, but the embarrassing perception of organizational ineptitude exuded from that post-Rex Ryan media availability had the Bills franchise in a state of league mockery. Fast forward five years, and the Bills are a picture of stability and organizational competence, praised by national pundits for the way they go about handling their business. Completely separate from any wins on the actual playing field, the Bills are run like an organization should be.

A franchise quarterback

Josh Allen has been in somewhat of a slump recently. The idea that he may be the 2022 league MVP is in the rearview mirror as we approach Week 12 of the regular season, with Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, and an unlikely AFC East foe in Tua Tagovailoa fighting it out for the award. But the Bills went through a lot of frogs before they found their prince. That’s the most apt metaphor, because Bills Mafia “kissed” them all: Drew Bledsoe, J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyrod Taylor... the fan base dove headfirst into the idea that each one could be “the guy.” They weren’t, though. While the man known as “Fitzmagic” was throwing tragic late-game interceptions, Allen was the same age as Fitzpatrick’s jersey number, making his way along the path that would eventually lead to him getting drafted by the Bills. Allen is unquestionably the franchise quarterback now and in the future of this team, and having that box checked hasn’t been the case in a long time.

A new stadium deal

Whether or not you believe the specifics of the stadium funding deal were good or bad for the region or the taxpayers is immaterial to the point. Whether or not you wanted a dome is also irrelevant. Having a new stadium agreed upon that keeps the team in Orchard Park, NY, where so many memories have been created by so many people, is something for which to be thankful. The Bills have been part of the fabric of the community for generations of people, ranging from Western New Yorkers who live 10 minutes from the stadium, to fans in Europe who stay up until the wee hours of the morning just to watch their American football team and see the place where they once made a hallowed pilgrimage.

The Bills are well-run, have a franchise quarterback, and are set to be in their rightful place for a long time. All of these developments occurred fairly recently, and none of them should go without overt recognition. After all, gratitude is highly correlative to happiness—and we want the “Shout” song to sound joyous, don’t we?

...and that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I’m Bruce Nolan with Buffalo Rumblings. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @BruceExclusive and look for new episodes of “The Bruce Exclusive” every Thursday on the Buffalo Rumblings podcast network!