The Buffalo Bills are a team that likes to fly under the radar. The city of Buffalo, as a whole embraces the “underdog” and “blue collar” approach in seemingly every aspect of life. At the same time, Bills fans have longed for their team to be relevant after nearly 20 years of disrespect from a national level. The Bills started that process of relevance last Thanksgiving with a dominating win over the Cowboys. Weeks later, the Bills clinched their second payoff berth in three seasons on Sunday Night Football, a game that they were flexed into. Some of the Bills’ greatest disappointments occurred in primetime, too. In primetime the anticipation is greater, knowing that the entire nation is watching amplifies the excitement, and ultimately the heartbreaks, as well. The Monday Night Football losses to the Cowboys, Browns, and Patriots in three consecutive years are ones that are ingrained into my memory, as I’m sure is the case with many Bills fans.
Aside from giving fans something to do on their Sunday afternoon and not having to stay up late and drag themselves to work the next morning, looking at Sean McDermott’s record in 1pm games vs. any other timeslot supports the reason why many fans wished every game would be in typical Sunday timeslot.
|Everything else||4-7 (.364)|
Furthermore, the Bills are 2-2 in Sunday 4pm games under McDermott, meaning that they are just 2-5 in games not played on Sunday. The two wins were the aforementioned playoff-clincher last year at Heinz Field and one of the greatest Bills wins of the century: Thanksgiving Day vs. Dallas last year. The five losses are:
- Thursday Night Football @ Jets (2017)
- Monday Night Football vs. Patriots (2018)
- Saturday Afternoon @ Patriots (2019)
- Tuesday Night: COVID Special @ Titans (2020)
- Monday Night: COVID Special vs. Chiefs (2020)
The Bills have not won on Monday Night Football since 1999, an away game against Miami. The Bills can begin to put to rest these primetime demons with a win this week Frankly, if the Bills want to win the AFC East this year, they have no choice but to exorcise those primetime demons. With the Dolphins lurking just one game behind the division lead, the Bills are not going to just fall into the division title, as it looked like they might 4 games into the year. The Dolphins mid-season improvement has made it so that the Bills will have to earn the AFC East the old fashioned way: keep on winning.
For as much as we love the underdog, blue-collar Bills, we also love a winning team. The NFL is better when the Bills are good and it is time for the Bills to announce themselves back onto the national stage, a stage that they left in the mid-90’s. And the truth is, it doesn’t matter if the Bills played all of their games at 1pm or in primetime; they will always be the underdog. They will always be the team that the national media passes on, and the afterthought in power rankings. The Bills suiting up under the lights instead of under the sun won’t change that narrative. But winning under the lights…that will change things for the better. The 1pm Bills are a fun way to spend a Sunday, but they must find success whenever they take the field, even when millions more are watching. After all, the Super Bowl isn’t a 1pm kickoff.
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