I've been meaning to write a post about this topic for a long time. The problem was that I just couldn't figure out a way to format my thoughts onto my computer. Well, I think I got it figured out. Let me start out with a history lesson. You see, when I was growing up, I was a die hard Bills fans. They were my first love and for the most part, they were head and shoulders above the other sports team in Buffalo, the Sabres. However, even though the Bills were more popular, there didn't seem to be this "us versus them" approach between both fan bases.
In other words: I kind of felt that we were all on the same page. Sure, there were some people who liked the Sabres more or vice verse, but there was always this sort of bond where you would want the other team to do well. You didn't look at the other franchise as being the ugly, red headed step-child. Sure, you had favorites, but in the end, you wanted Buffalo to win no matter what jersey they were wearing.
I think that sort of thought process still holds up with Bills fans today. As for Sabres fans, well, I'm not so sure.
You see, one of the reasons why I started writing this blog was because I was so sick and tired of listening to WGR crap all over the NFL, and then hold the NHL and the Sabres up as if they were part of the royal family. To this day, hosts like Mike Schopp, always find a way to crap on the NFL. Even after the thrilling playoff game between the Saints and Vikings, he wouldn't shut up about some stupid call that may have had a 20% chance of changing the trajectory of the actual game.
If you don't believe me, all you have to do is listen to WGR's round table they aired the other day. They spoke about the Bills for like seven minutes and nearly spent an hour on the Sabres and free agency. Of course, they exchanged a couple of insults on the Bills popularity in Buffalo. What makes me laugh is that the Sabres aren't going to do jack shit in free agency, so why even bother talking about it? Now, I can list you the reasons why WGR gives an abundance of airtime to the Sabres (Does Flagship station mean anything to you?). However, why must the station and for that matter, other fans always seem to find a way to put down the other sport in order to make their personal favorite pastime seem better?
Now, before you point the finger at me, I'll admit; Yes, I have been one to take many jabs towards the NHL and Sabres fans who think their city is hockey royalty, when it was only four years ago that the city didn't give a rats ass about hockey. Honestly, the reason why I've gone after Sabres fans is because I don't feel like hearing hockey enthusiasts crap on my favorite sport. Eye for an eye, tooth for tooth sort of thing. I don't need to hear Schopp crap on the NFL because he's probably jealous that the sport gets more headlines in June than the Stanley Cup Finals does. Sorry to keep on singling out Schopp, but other people in the Buffalo media have been just as guilty of it.
Now, like I said before, Schopp and WGR have their motives for making the NHL seem as the end all be all of Buffalo sports. Keep in mind that Schopp is the same guy who denounced the NHL after the lockout and claimed that he would never watch a hockey game again, yet, it only took him about 8 months to declare Buffalo being a hockey town, rather than a football town. Of course, that statement came the first year WGR had the rights to the Buffalo Sabres broadcasts.
Now, lets get back to the fans for a second. I truly believe that some Sabres fans have a hatred towards the NFL and the Buffalo Bills. Personally, I don't think Bills fans feel the same way about the Sabres and the NHL. I've talked to a number of football fans who passively watch the Sabres play, and they seem to be of the mindset of wishing nothing but the best for the blue and gold. Now, I've also been in chats and have read other Sabres blogs, where their authors seem to have the mindset of having a Bills free zone and if you mention them, you're going to get shit for it.
I can remember one time when I was visiting family in Buffalo, I was hanging out at Buffalo Wild Wings and there was a Sabres preseason game on TV. Next to our table, there were a group of Sabres fans that were really into this exhibition game. These guys were acting as if they were watching game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
They were going crazy and getting all amped up over some douche bag that wasn't even good enough to make the Rochester Americans. Now, during the game, Bills highlights came on the other TV set and these hockey fans just started ripping on the team and the NFL. They just couldn't shut up with the insults. Now, the insults weren't about the Bills sucking, it was mostly geared towards not giving a crap about the team. After hearing all of that, I couldn't help but think to myself: Dudes, you're cheering for the BUFFALO Sabres. You know, the key word happens to be BUFFALO! Why would you decide to just totally shit on the other BUFFALO team? Not to mention, it was preseason hockey!!
There's a reason why I watch the NHL, it's because the Sabres represent Buffalo. Maybe the Sabres success story after the post lockout triggered most fans to decide that enough was enough and it was time for hockey to be in the forefront of popularity in Buffalo. Sometimes success can make people start voicing their opinions more. Sabres fans may have heard enough about the city being a football town and in the process, they stopped pretending to be the football team's little brother. It's kind of like when Kobe Bryant started becoming an all-star and he didn't want to be considered Shaq's little brother anymore.
Now, I can get into a bunch of reasons why I feel that some Sabres fans hate the Bills. It can be a combination of not liking the NFL to being jealous of the publicity the sport gets. However, like I said in my opening, I find it to be that most Bills fans are more inclined to say "Ah salute" to the Sabres. Now, you may be thinking that I'm making Sabres fans out to be these arrogant types of people, who shove their noses up when they think of some drunk wearing Zubaz, who happens to be cheering for a Bills team that are 2-12. Maybe I am.
I just think that if you were to get a group of Bills and Sabres fans together in one room, it would kind of resemble a high school dance where the girls would be on one side of the gym, while the the boys would be on the other side. I think the boys (Representing the Bills), would try to converse with the girls (Sabres), and would mostly get turned away by the ladies.
Now, I get that I'm probably writing about a small percentage of the Buffalo fan base. I know there are a number of Sabres and Bills fans that intertwine with each others love for football and hockey. I just happen to be really sick and tired of hearing others crap on each other's sports. It's as if we are back in Elementary school and kids are saying that "My daddy is better than your daddy because he's an astronaut." It's like with the World Cup. Now, I'm not a huge soccer fan, but I do happen to think it's kind of a cool sport. However, you start getting all these people who come out of the woodwork, who crap on soccer and at the same time, soccer fans then start putting down the NFL.
In the end: Why can't we all just love the Bills and the Sabres? I love professional sports. If there's a cup or jockstrap involved, I'm watching it on TV (Eh, that sounded bad). Whether it's the Bisons, the Blizzard, or the Blitzers, if they have the name Buffalo attached to them, I'm cheering for them. Sure, you can pick favorites, but do you have to make it a point to shit on the other sport to make your sport cooler? I don't think so.
What do you think? Do you sense an adversary relationship between Bills and Sabres fans? Do you find Sabres fans to be haters of the Bills? Do you think Bills fans are more inclined to cheer for the Sabres? Am I just full of shit?
PS: I'm going to do some small posts dedicated to the differences between Bills and Sabres fans. Some of the posts will be comical, while others will be serious.