Attention, Buffalo. You can have your beloved Bills back.
At least your loyal fans would have completely filled your stadium, The Ralph, for a December showdown with the hated Miami Dolphins.
At least you would have cheered enough to make your team think it actually was playing a home game.
And at least you would have booed the (bleep) out of them after the final gun for another pathetic offensive performance, one that netted just three points and 163 net yards.
As quarterback J.P. Losman said: "It didn't feel like a home-field advantage. It was quiet. It didn't have the noise we are accustomed to for a Bills home game."
Maybe that's because there were so many Dolphins fans in the house.
And they certainly had reason to cheer.
After a dismal 1-15 showing a year ago, the Dolphins now find themselves in a three-way tie for the AFC East lead with the New England Patriots and New York Jets after a 16-3 eye-glazer over the Bumbling Bills.
In this, the first NFL regular-
season game played on Canadian soil, the most exciting moment, even for those of us who are passionate about this league, came when the crowd sang the final few lines of O Canada.
Then came the kickoff. Let the yawn-fest begin.
Interestingly, the announced attendance was 52,134, a generous estimate that was about 2,000 shy of football capacity for the Rogers Centre.
Just 72 hours earlier, organizers said the game was sold out. We're confused. How does that math work?
Gouging the public for an average ticket price of $183 didn't help.
Many who did show up were in Miami's corner. In fact, just seconds before Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington hit tight end Anthony Fasano with a20-yard scoring strike in the first quarter to put the so-called visitors up 7-0, loud chants of "Let's Go Dolphins" were heard. It was the only touchdown of the game.
"I was a little bit surprised," Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown said. "Obviously, we came up here and Toronto is new scenery for us but when we went out and saw all the people in aqua and orange it made a pretty big difference. It didn't feel like we were playing an away game."
Exactly. No matter how the NFL chooses to spin it, this was not Bills home date. Yes, the organization received $78-million US from Rogers to bring five regular-season and three pre-season games to Toronto over the next five years, but, in the end, the fine people of Buffalo and, to some extent, the players, were screwed.
This was the Carolina Hurricanes playing in Greensboro.
This was the Tennessee Titans playing in Memphis.
Would the Bills have won had the game been played in the icy elements of Ralph Wilson Stadium? Probably not. But this much is certain: The soft-armed Pennington would not have been throwing such pretty spirals in the howling winds of Orchard Park.
Said offensive lineman Jason Peters: "It felt like we were on the road."
The road to mediocrity.
How quickly it has gone wrong for the Bills. After a
5-1 start, they have lost six of seven to fall pretty much out of playoff contention at 6-7.
Losman completed just 13-of-27 passes and tossed a costly endzone interception in the fourth quarter. Marshawn Lynch ran for just 31 yards. Dick Jauron once again was outcoached.
Safety Donte Whitner summed it up best when he claimed the Bills had "choked" away their season.
A dismal end to what should have been an historic day.