I have always been hypercritical of people that change their fandom. Meaning anyone that changes their "favorite" team based off of a variety of reasons. One such person I have always been critical of has been my brother who seems to switch his favorite teams as often as Rita's changes their water ice flavors. We grew up in a small town outside of Scranton Pennsylvania where there no major sports franchises. It was just as easy to meet a fan of New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston or even San Diego. There really is no geographical allegence to a particular area. In Scranton as I was growing up, there was the Red Barons which at the time was the AAA affiliate to the Philadelphia Phillies. I was fascinated with the Phillies around their magical 1993 World Series appearence and instantly became a fan. However, the first team I ever fell in love with was the Buffalo Bills. I started out as a fan of Jim Kelly, the shotgun quarterback that lead the Bills to 4 straight disappointing Super Bowls. I eventually claimed allegence to the Bills and have followed them since I was about 8 years old. My father wasn't much of a sports fan, but was a fan of the Chicago Bears, which growing up in North Jersey really made no sense at all. Later on in life he would learn to love the Phillies as much as I did right before his passing from cancer. My oldest brother can be considered the front-runner. When choosing teams as a kid he decided to like all of the most successful teams. He was a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Red Sox and San Francisco 49ers. My other brother who I like to call the band-wagon fan grew up as a Yankee, Rangers, Celtics and Raider fan. He has since changed his allegence several times before landing on the city of Pittsburgh where he now lives. I always said you can't change your favorites, it is ok to follow other teams but not to change your favorite teams.
Well, I was wrong. The ongoing chain of poor decisions by the Buffalo Bills with regards to players and coaches means I will no longer be identifying them as my "favorite" team. The moves that they make and their lack of competition is a slap in the face to the fans and shows that you can own an NFL franchise and not know what the hell you are doing. Ralph Wilson is the worst owner in all of football. Yes, even worse then Al Davis. Why? Because Al Davis at least spends money to try to make his team better. Chan Gailey was the worst of a crop of coaches that the Bills interviewed (in my opinion) that had a proven record of mediocrity and the Bills hired him. They have been making poor draft choices and free agency choices for several years now. There is a comparison I would like to make which lead me to ultimately disbanding from the Buffalo Bills and moving on. Compare the Cleveland Browns to the Buffalo Bills. Neither town is particularly enticing to free agents. They are both very cold. They have also had a relatively comparable winning percentage since the inception of free agency. The comparison that I like to refer to however is the one that makes my blood boil. The Cleveland Browns have bad luck, while the Buffalo Bills create bad luck. The Browns are trying to become a winning franchise, but the Bills seem to be comfortable being average or just below average every year. Why? Well unlike the Browns, the Bills make money saving moves and poor draft choices year in and out because they know their fans will show up on Sundays. They will show up because they love the Bills. But the Bills have not been a product worth paying to see since 1999. Similarly, the Browns know their fans will show up, however they try to make good selections in the draft and attempt to sign impact free agents every single year. It is my opinion that they are just on an incredible run of bad luck. Their picks are highly regarded but never seem to pan out quite like they had planned. And by the time they do it is time for them to leave through free agency and sign with a team that has a chance. It isn't their fault, but it is the Bills fault that they have the same track record.
So, I am committing what I deemed to be the cardinal sin of fandom. I am changing my allegence. I am apologizing to my brother for criticizing the way he chose his teams in the past. I am being reborn to where my fandom should have been anyway. I am officially a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. I live here, it is all they talk about and I am jumping on board. I may just order my Vick jersey this afternoon.