The Bills seem to be everyone's favorite team to either hate, hate on or simply forget-Bills fans excluded. So if that theory holds true (and I've spent enough time at sports bars, games and watching ESPN to know it is) then why are five-yes, count them, five-former Buffalo Bills leading the pack of Fan's Choice nominees for the Hall of Fame's Class of 2011?
Too many people, even the younger generation of Bills fans, have forgotten the Golden Years. The span of seasons where Buffalo had a solid team all around-dependable defense, strong running game, good special teams, capable receivers and a quarterback that acted like a quarterback-which eventually led them on four Super Bowl runs in a row. (Which, by the way, is something no other team in the NFL can boast. Never actually getting that ring doesn't take away from what it took to get there.)
In true Bills fashion, these football players who defined a franchise and made themselves and the years they played together legendary, are once again representing their team in the only way they know how: winners. And now it's our turn to thank them for giving us the years that they did. For giving us the excitement, the disappointment and the tears of happiness (what...an anomaly.) Go to www.fanschoice.com and vote for them to be part of the 2011 Hall of Fame.
As of now, the rankings are:
5) Kent Hull, OL
4) Cornelius Bennett, LB
3) Andre Reed, WR
2) Steve Tasker, special teams
1) Darryl Talley, LB
Out of some 100+ nominees, it's all Bills in the top five, and that is such a testament to what this team truly is: irreplaceable. Try as we might, Bills fans just can't shake something that's in our blood. Through it all, we're still here, loud and proud. To me, that's incredible.
I'm too young to consciously recall everything about those seasons, but I know they existed, I know I was sitting in front of the TV during them and I've seen the re-runs to try to capture what memories I can't conjure up by myself. I'm def going to take advantage of my chance to help any of these guys join the ranks of the other Bills legends already in the HOF (Joe DeLamielleure, Jim Kelly, Marv Levy, James Lofton, Billy Shaw, O.J. Simpson, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Ralph Wilson, Jr.) If you're a true Bills fan, you will too!
Speaking of "true Bills fans," here's a teaser for an upcoming post I need YOUR help for. I want to explore why Bills fans are who they are, why they've stuck by their team through the good and the (more recently) bad. What is it about this team or the culture surrounding it that keeps you loyal? Let me know your thoughts! Tweet me @lysssie with your email address if you're interested and I'll shoot you a questionnaire.