Why I Can No Longer Stand the Buffalo Bills

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After living above the Pizzeria on South Park Avenue in Blasdell, my grandparents moved to Lake Avenue in Orchard Park. It wasn’t more than three miles away, but they decided to go to a new parish, one closer to their new home. Our Lady of Sacred Heart sits on Abbott Road just north of the intersection with Lake Avenue, about a mile away from what would soon become Rich Stadium, home of Western New York’s National Football league team the Buffalo Bills.

At the time the Bills still played their games in downtown Buffalo on a field lovingly referred to as “The Rockpile,” (it was officially known as War Memorial Stadium). However, the team Continue Reading “Why I Can No Longer Stand the Buffalo Bills”

The Annual Thanksgiving Mudbowl

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mudbowl-1434436-1598x1062Bring an old weathered football up to your nose, close your eyes, and take a good whiff. Can you smell it? Do images of sweaty muddied gruff men, caked with sweat and blood, move in slow motion within your brain? Do your muscles tighten in pleasant anticipation at the thought of the gridiron? If so, then congratulations. You are part of a dying breed, a member of a secret society that long ago closed its doors to new applicants.

Well, not exactly. Those doors  remain open today and they will forever stay open. It’s just that, in an era of prefabricated microwave cooking, no one wants to go through the Continue Reading “The Annual Thanksgiving Mudbowl”

Deeds, Not Words

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you think that title might sound heretical coming from a wordsmith, just wait ‘til you read the rest of this column.

Say what you will about former Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone (I never thought he was cut out for the job), but he did leave one indelible mark in my brain: “Don’t confuse effort with results.” This was one of the bromides that he posted on the walls of the Ralph Wilson Fieldhouse for all his players (and Bills fans) to stare at. In a nutshell, it’s what Yoda told Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back: “Do or do not, there is no try.”

We’re all told to try our best. That’s fine. But we need to accept that it’s not good enough. When you try something, the result is you either succeed or fail. That’s all there is to it. There is Continue Reading “Deeds, Not Words”

A Whole Greater than the Sum of Its Parts

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Now that we’ve marked the boundaries of Greater Western New York, the fun really begins. First, we can delineate the counties included. Greater Western New York contains 17 counties. These represent all the counties west of or touching the correct Pre-Emption Line. Those counties are:

● Allegany             ● Chautauqua
● Cattaraugus      ● Chemung
● Erie                    ● Genesee
● Livingston          ● Monroe
● Niagara              ● Ontario
● Orleans              ● Seneca
● Schuyler            ● Steuben            ● Wayne               ● Wyoming            ● Yates

We should note that Pre-Emption Line marks the western border of both Seneca County (maybe, depending on who owns Seneca Lake) and Chemung County. The Line slices through the counties of Wayne, Yates and Schuyler. As it stands, the eastern borders of Wayne, Seneca, Schuyler and Chemung form a fairly straight line from Lake Ontario to the Pennsylvania line. OK, maybe it’s not quite straight enough to convince an officer you’re not unduly influenced, but it’s close enough.

What exactly does this constellation of the 17 western-most counties of New York State tell us? I discovered this particular hidden gem while preparing for a January 2004 Continue Reading “A Whole Greater than the Sum of Its Parts”

Will Bush Use the No-Huddle?

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the February 7, 1991 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259The following might have been more apparent if the Buffalo Bills would have won the Superbowl, but the concept holds nonetheless.

In the week prior to each of the three playoff games in which the Buffalo Bills participated, sports reporters from across the nation asked Head Coach Marv Levy if he intended to use his quick scoring no-huddle offense from the outset. With a poker face, Levy regularly answered, Continue Reading “Will Bush Use the No-Huddle?”

Throwback Bills Fans – What’s it Mean?

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A funny thing happened on the way to the Bills game this past weekend. Actually two funny things, which, in of itself, was a funny thing. Not once, but twice, while Bills_Win_2010.10.14_300ambling on down the New York State Thruway, we saw a car pull over and a well-padded passenger disembark to visit some nearby woodlands, soon to be wetlands.

I hadn’t seen this scene in quite some time. At first, I wondered what would cause an obviously well working auto to suddenly yank itself to the shoulder of the road. After another slug of my Snapple, a thought popped into my head.

How far had these “relievers” been traveling? How much did they have to drink? Was there any doubt they were going to the game?

Once we got to the game – and despite the repeatedly failed attempts by the Bills to Continue Reading “Throwback Bills Fans – What’s it Mean?”

Misleading Headline? Baseless Buffalo Bills Bashing? Or Both?

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With friends like these, who needs enemies? It’s bad enough we find our region at the butt end of many late night comics’ monologues, but why does the local 1244775_46838866_glass_half_empty_300media have to gratuitously chime in, too?

Did you see the article “Buffalo Bills struggle to make dent on national TV map” in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle in Sunday, September 19th? Placed on the cover of the sports section, it featured a map of the continental United States. The country, bathed in red, was speckled with smaller splotches of various other colors. A beautiful graphic, you would think the D&C would have been proud to have included it in the on-line version of the article. Alas, they didn’t and the article suffers.

But this isn’t about vivid art in a hometown newspaper. This is about the reckless Continue Reading “Misleading Headline? Baseless Buffalo Bills Bashing? Or Both?”

Surprise! Buffalo Bills Score in Nielsen’s New NFL Ratings

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When you look for smart business reporting, you look to the Wall Street Journal. Likely to have been Sergeant Friday’s (“just the facts, ma’am”) favorite 100_3118_Bills_vs_Bengals_300newspaper, the WSJ sets aside all numbers and focuses squarely on cold, hard numbers. So, when this truly national paper of record offers a story (“Dallas Cowboys Are NFL’s Most Popular Team,” Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2010) spelling out how all 32 NFL teams rank in terms of popularity, you can be sure of one thing – no one gets extra points for rabid enthusiasm. It’s all about the bottom-line. And, unlike Forbes, this bottom-line is more than just money, it’s eyeballs. For the first time ever, Neilsen – of the famous TV ratings – ranks the NFL teams by incorporating both TV coverage and internet buzz.

So, where do you figure the Buffalo Bills – perhaps currently the worst team in the NFL – fall in this survey? It shouldn’t shock you Ralph Wilson’s team doesn’t find itself in the Continue Reading “Surprise! Buffalo Bills Score in Nielsen’s New NFL Ratings”

Has the NFL Provided the Answer to Promoting the Greater Western New York Region?

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I had lunch with a marketing and advertising professional in Buffalo the other day. When I told him about my crazy idea to promote the greater Western New York 3387853924_7f3e7c9a36_cattle_branding_flickr_no_known_copyright_restrictions_300region, he told me it was crazy. I expected that. What he told me next I didn’t expect. Yet, I can see why it happened.

A couple of decades or so ago, some members of the Buffalo-Niagara community decided to join forces to promote their two communities. They initial suggested to do so under the banner “Western New York” since the local media commonly used that term to describe the area of Erie and Niagara counties (and sometimes even Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties). The grand poobahs of marketing gathered together and rejected the notion. “Everyone knows Continue Reading “Has the NFL Provided the Answer to Promoting the Greater Western New York Region?”

D&C Writer Disses Western New Yorkers

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Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. — Teddy Roosevelt

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A few weeks ago, a columnist from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle wrote a piece titled “Winter as Metaphor for Community’s Woes.” If you’ve read the column and you’re a true-blue Western New Yorker, you’ll immediately see the column itself as a metaphor for our community’s woes.

The writer, while acknowledging the obvious diminution in our region’s stature, meekly states “The decline we’ve seen is not a character flaw; it’s the result of economic forces beyond our control.”

Actually, the statement reflects the major character flaw many die-hard residents of the western frontier of New York State see in our neighborhood – too many people, especially those floating merrily in the ether of high profile, fail by wallowing in self-pity rather than seizing the reins of self-improvement.

Continue Reading “D&C Writer Disses Western New Yorkers”