If NFL football was my first love, it was partly because it was the only sport that never aired past my bedtime when I was a kid (cept for the Monday niter). Was I ever a Buffalo Bills fan? For a couple seasons, yes, when Doug Flutie was leading the team to the playoffs, before being inexplicably benched for Rob Johnson. I’ve still got my Flutie jersey, actually, and it still fits–barely. (I think it’s a medium…)
Anyways, I bought into the Bills in Toronto series when it was first announced, opting for the three-game ticket package. Aside from a close, competitive exhibition game against the Steelers in ’08, the Bills hardly delivered on my somewhat-considerable investment, totaling 13 points in losses to the Fish and the Jets. (My assigned ticket rep, who called me at work to ask if I’d be renewing, summed it up when he said “At least they scored a touchdown last year.”) This season, sensing that the Toronto natives were getting restless, the organization threw us a bone by bringing Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts to town.
Unfortunately, it was another freakin’ exhibition game, which meant that both teams’ starters, Manning included, only played the first quarter. Peyton’s numbers weren’t that impressive–completing 8 of 15 passes for 91 yards–but he threw a beauty touchdown over the middle to tight end Jacob Tamme to cap off a vintage Colts scoring drive. He also threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, a great shoestring catch by Bills DB Terrence McGee, before being replaced by Curtis Painter with 30 seconds left in the quarter. Twas hardly the stuff of legend, but a fleeting glimpse at one of the all-time greats, arguably the best quarterback of the past 10 years–and there’s not much of an argument for anyone else.
Game was pretty decent overall, with the Bills taking a 24-21 lead into the half. A scoreless third quarter ensued, with the Buffalo third-stringers outplaying the Indy benchwarmers. They added a couple more scores in the fourth to win by 13, but by then I was already gone, off to the Bovine to see Purple Rhinestone Eagle and company, who were much more entertaining than a buncha future CFLers and Arena League rejects.
Not that I have anything against the Canadian Football League, what with my Stamps sitting in first place. Still, this game was more of an NFL appetizer for me, the main course coming in three weeks at the Seattle Seahawks’ home opener. I’ve also got tickets to the regular-season installment, the stock market clash between the Bulls, erm, Bills and the (Chicago) Bears. I can’t say I’ve got high expectations for the November meeting, though. Two Buffalo touchdowns might be too much to ask…
P.S.: Smokin’ Green tonite features tunes from Unsane, Today is the Day and Keelhaul, who’ll all be playing Sneaky Dee’s tomorrow nite. Be sure to tune in from 1 till 3 am at 88.1 fm on yer radio, channel 947 on yer TV or www.ckln.fm on yer computer!