Holy moly! Can I milk a premise, or what? I mean... uh...
After a long and arduous journey the Buffalo Rumblings fan base has selected a single play to define the Buffalo Bills’ 2022 season. This year I asked you to visualize the prior season as a literal book and vote for a play that would make for fitting cover art. One that captures the essence of the story inside. As we have, the Rumblings faithful didn’t let me down. Except that one guy. You know who you are. With little further ado, the Play That Defines the 2022 Season is...
Our Home Conference champion wins the whole thing, taking down the Josh Allen-to-Stefon Diggs connection that secured a victory on Thanksgiving over the Detroit Lions. Despite our Away Conference champion steamrolling through the playoffs, it was no match for the Nyheim Hines magic.
What makes this play so special? As is tradition, I turn to Buffalo Rumblings commenters to express what the champion play represents:
- 13SecondsNotForgotten wrote: “The Hines TD was a microcosm of the Bills season. The emotions after Damar’s brush with death sort of exploded into a crescendo as he took it to the house. It was like “Damar’s okay, The Hoodie was on the receiving end, and we don’t care about nothing else!” all came out there. That was our moment. We were all spent after that I think.”
- BoyILoveLongSnappers commented: “It’s gotta be [Hines’] kickoff return TD. I don’t think I’ve ever cried over a play in football; but when he was at the 10 yard line & spread his arms out…tears of joy man. Tears of JOY!
The icing on the cake was that it happened against the damn Patriots AND it helped knock them out of the playoffs.
Plus the whole 3 years, 3 months since last kickoff return & we all know that’s Damar’s number - I’m not a religious man but that felt like divine intervention…
LOVE FOR DAMAR!”
I put the community comments first for a reason. I 100% will never... never make a GIF of the play we all know defined the season. The Buffalo Bills lost three games to pretty fluky reasons by a combined eight points. After the most impactful moment we’ve ever seen in a football game happened, the Bills lost their steam. You can say “strategy” or “coaching” until the cows come home and you’ll never convince me that the reason Buffalo didn’t hoist the Lombardi Trophy was for any reason other than shared trauma.
This play was the very first one after that moment. The two Rumblers above capture it perfectly. Damar Hamlin had pulled through. Collectively we all needed a reminder of why we watch in the first place. We all needed reassurance.
I began this series for the 2022 season asking you to pick cover art for a storybook. As a community you selected a storybook play. After the worst moment I’ve ever seen play out on the field happened, Nyheim Hines and the Buffalo Bills’ special teams unit gave us a moment that literally could not have been scripted any better.
Most “Play That Defines” Champions have celebrated the season and its many little successes. This year accomplishes that feat. But it also celebrates the gift of life. It celebrates the gift of community. If you’re a Hitchhiker’s fans, the best way I can summarize this year’s winner is that it celebrates 42.
Nyheim Hines’ touchdown represents the excitement of the Buffalo Bills’ 2022 season. At 13-3, that’s a strong narrative by itself. But it represents so much more than that too. And to the man at the center of this play, know that this moment will live on in the hearts of Bills fans. Your journey this year is not what we would have wished for you. If you see this, hopefully it brings a bit of joy your way.