In this series of articles, I am going to attempt to help new fans of American football select their team of choice in the NFL as they begin following the fast growing sport. The teams have been split into four categories for your benefit;
Bandwagon teams – These are teams that the bandwagon fans are quick to jump on; teams that will likely have a lot of success in the coming years. Bandwagon teams do not have to have a rich history, but they do need to be able to win now. These teams will mostly have very talented rosters, and without a doubt they will have a talented starting quarterback. You’ll be interested in picking one of these teams if you don’t like watching your team lose.
Almost bandwagon teams – The name speaks for itself. These are teams that always have a chance to be successful, but who have not managed it consistently enough in recent years to merit a bandwagon following. Some will have great quarterbacks and poor teams, while others might have the rest of the team but not the quarterback. Whatever the case is, they show a lot of promise…
Optimists – These teams don’t look like they are capable of winning a Super Bowl any time soon, but in the uncertain climate of the NFL you never know. At least a few of these teams will likely make the playoffs in the next couple of years.
Tragedists – This is the basement of the NFL. These teams show little quality and little hope, and only fans interested in adopting the most desperate and tragic of franchises should look to find their new team here.
We all have our own special reasons for choosing a sports team. For anyone living outside America, geography doesn’t really come into it. We look, instead, at popularity of the team, style of play, colours, logos, mascots, individual players or anything else that peaks your attention. I myself landed on my NFL team (the New England Patriots) purely by accident. They were playing in the first game of American football that I ever watched on TV, and knowing nothing I selected them as my team simply because they had “England” in their name. It can often be that simple.
Not knowing what each of you will look at in deciding your team, I have tried to provide as much detail as possible. Today, we will be looking at the teams in the tragedists category…
Colours: Royal blue and red
Mascot: Billy Buffalo
Stadium: Ralph Wilson Stadium
Home City: Orchard Park, New York
Super Bowl wins: 0 (4 appearances)
Records over last 5 years: 28 wins, 52 losses, 0 playoff appearances
Best Players: Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus
Bio: There isn’t a whole lot I can tell you about the Buffalo Bills that will endear them to you. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999, a fourteen year stint of misery which no active NFL franchise can match. It has been particularly bad recently; the Bills have put up five consecutive double digit losing seasons and finished bottom of their division each time.
The Bills did have a successful period in franchise history, but even that is the most depressing form of success you could imagine. From 1990-1993 the Bills appeared in and lost four consecutive Super Bowls, their only four appearances in franchise history.
Buffalo has some talent on its roster. They have a strong defensive front and a dynamic running back in CJ Spiller. Their quarterback EJ Manual was a first round pick in 2013 and shows a little bit of promise. With New England quarterback Tom Brady a matter of years away from retirement, the AFC East division might be up for grabs and the Bills have enough talent to take it. History, however, would warn you against aligning yourself with a team that seems to have embraced losing as a way of life.
The Bills should be the preferred team of fans with any Canadian connections. The team plays one home game in Toronto each year to continue to connect with its northern neighbour fan base.