As a fan, or pretty much in any aspect of life, one should learn to handle their expectations.
Going into a situation with realistic expectations can help you avoid the roller coaster highs and lows of life and sports fandom, but when you’ve been cheering for a bad team for so long, it gets harder to manage those expectations.
As a fan, you just want to win so badly that you ignore logic and what you know, and let yourself slip into that hopeful mindset despite your brain setting off every alert and panic alarm to the contrary. It’s our own fault, really, that losses hurt so badly when cheering for a bad team.
And so here we are, Buffalo Bills fans. Sitting just one game out of the AFC Wild Card picture, the Bills were technically in it even if they were never really in it. Yes, they had the NFL’s easiest schedule ahead of them, but they still probably needed to win out to have a real chance of capturing that last spot, and I don’t think any of us saw them doing that.
So, naturally it hurt when they lost a huge game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in the most Buffalo way possible — two late fumbles turned long completions in enemy territory into Falcons’ possessions going the other way, and eventually, an Atlanta win.
What else did we expect at this point? The Bills have only been breaking our hearts for decades. Even when they were good on the field, they were equally good at ripping our hearts out. It’s just become more of a weekly fixture over the last 15 years.
Some day, they’ll stop doing this. Some day, they’ll win something. Some of us won’t be there for it (and at this rate, I feel like I won’t either despite my recently turning 28 years old), but it will happen.
Until then, it’s just about managing the expectations.