I've been blogging for this site for about 3 years and during that time, if there is one thing I've learned in regards to formulating my takes, it’s that the angles from the fans' perspectives are always the same. Maybe that means I'm a shitty writer trying to develop the same story arcs, or this just happens to be how we are. To me there's like 10 Buffalo sports fan commandments I can come up with…
Thou shall always expect the worst to happen…
Thou shall be emotional when someone calls the city out….
Thou shall always be pissed off…..
Thou shall not like players who are perceived to be greedy and not blue collar…
Thou shall feel privileged to have sports teams….
Thou shall want to feel loved by athletes and national folks….
Bingo…that's the one I'd like to focus on.
It is a narrative that I've used before, about how Buffalo sometimes goes into self- deprecation mode where they are in constant need of reassurance. They want to be loved. They resemble some sort of insecure wonderer whose ears always perk up whenever they hear their name mentioned. It is why most local outlets blast front page "News" of Tom Brady dissing our hotels, or how Buffalo was ranked friendliest city in the North East, and folks eat it up.
At the same time, I think Stevie Johnson is almost a clear-cut copy of us. Think about it…The guy gets criticized for blaming God for a drop against the Steelers and what happens? He gets upset when people make a big deal about his tweet. Same thing happened when Mike Schopp and the Bulldog criticized him for admitting he doesn't work hard in the offseason and in turn he goes on Twitter to berate them. There are so many other examples of it.
The guy wants to be loved and gets so emotional whenever he's called out, or thinks he is letting us down. And in turn, what does he do? He tries harder to entertain us by saying things we wish we could say without having some sort of fallacy to it. He tries to ensue confidence by acting like we belong in the football world by calling out the Pats CB’s or just believing in the Bills' abilities.
He embraces the #Billsmafia. I saw it first hand on Sunday when he made his entrance and he did that little Vulcan bird symbol (Editor's note: Been told that he actually started this symbol in college and it isn't any sort of universal greeting by the #Billsmafia. I can't believe I just typed that). It is a main reason why fans (myself included) are constantly sticking up for him.
He's a fun, engaging guy who acts like everyday is his first day of fame and is enjoying the attention. And that may be the problem here. He is trying too hard to appease our sad fan base, who are begging for a dance like a girl sitting in the corner at prom by herself. He knows it. It isn't his fault. It is just sometimes people try to hard too be entertaining in order to get a good laugh out of others.
Well, I wasn't laughing on Sunday.
That's really the reason for me writing this piece. When Stevie dropped that pass in the 4th quarter, all that fun, super fly guy shit that we find endearing went right out the fucken window. I was pissed off. I was pissed off that he even ducked the media, which I normally never do, because the press corp. usually makes it all about team accountability when it is more about their dumb ass notebooks. But I was still angry at him. On top of that, 72 hours earlier Stevie was saying no one could cover him on NE. I'm totally fine with some banter as long as you back it up tenfold. Stevie didn't do that on Sunday. 3 catches for less than 40 yards and a cool TD? Nice, but I can't let go of that drop.
WHY! WHY GOD? Why does Stevie for whatever reason have to have the biggest drops ever? I mean, I can't recall Andre Reed or Eric Moulds having game changing drops, do you? That's three times now (Pittsburgh game-2010, NY Jets game-2011 and this past Sunday) that Stevie's drops really threw a wrench into the outcome of a game.
I know it isn't all his fault… and there it is… the enabling part. It is NEVER Stevie's fault. Just keep doing what you are doing and have fun. Football is entertaining. Live it up. Fuck old people. And I'm always the first person to say so. Yes, it isn't always his fault, as I think he's a byproduct of being a big fish in a small pond with 55-year-old "get off my lawn" reporters/columnists who cry every time he does something that is considered self-centered.
However, after a while, I have to sit here and wonder if fans’ giving him a pass is what always leads to him being involved in some sort of BS. Maybe he thinks it is OK to say he doesn't work out in the offseason, or that NE can't check him. I mean, he ain't listening to the shitty press when it comes to judging himself, is he? Like a child looking for reassurance from their parents, he wants to appease us… the people who really matter to him.
Maybe he's right. Maybe no one in the NFL can check him, except himself. It just never seems we can close the page on whether he's -excuse me- WE are right about him. It becomes a reoccurring chapter that after a while you get tired of reading. It ends the same way.
We are on one side with Stevie and on the other side are a bunch of haters. Except the side that matters ends up being the losing side because the Bills always seem to suck. I'm just sick of picking one side. I'm sick of sticking up for him when winning matters more to me than finding a player that I can relate to. You can only do it so many times without thinking we are following our hearts instead of our smarts.
I think Stevie is a really good WR and a great guy, but I think it is time for him to walk like a man and not walk like a man leading a flock of sheep.