This region takes its football – and its Buffalo Bills – seriously. Very seriously. It’s not just the smokin’ hot Bills of the past few seasons, who are humble and hungry and trust the process. It’s the legacy beyond the four consecutive trips to the Super Bowl back in the ‘90s. It goes back to the ‘60s when the AFL teams were playing in places like our War Memorial, now the Johnnie B. Wiley Sports Pavilion in East Buffalo. There’s lots of love and loyalty for the Buffalo Bills and the team’s legions of fans.
The 12th Man, the Bills Mafia, that incredibly committed fan base that swaths the community in blue and red for every game day is present to celebrate every victory and feels the pain of every loss just as deeply. It’s a palpable let down on those awful days when the Bills’ season ends. And that’s where we are right now.
What is this feeling?
Sports fan depression is a real diagnosis, and it’s quite common for fans to feel let down and disappointed after a disappointing loss. There are some things you can do to move past the sadness.
- Take a step back. Even the most important athletic match-ups are…games. The emotions behind the activity make it loom large and it’s easy to get swept away in the pre-game excitement and abundant media hype. A good part of your life is not affected, so take a step back to gain some perspective.
- Stay social. COVID has taught us that isolation is a lonely, scary place. Stay connected and engaged with your friends and family. Remember, chances are they are disappointed, too.
- Fill the void. Well, just because we’re not moving on doesn’t mean that we have to stand still. Plan a spring vacation. Pour over those seed catalogues and think about your garden. Re-engage with a hobby or an activity that can occupy your Sunday afternoons for a while. Find something you enjoy and do it.
- Talk about it. There’s lots of Monday morning quarterbacking and armchair coaches with their own take on what happened. Commiserate, reconstruct the good moments (Holy mackeral, when Josh uses his legs, I mean, come on…), and start anticipating what next season can be like.
- Monitor your social media. There’s a lot of agita lurking there, in places that are usually more uplifting. Stay away from the finger pointers or the vitriolic demands that players should get fired now. Everybody messes up sometime. As Josh Allen said in the post-game press conference, “We win as a team and we lose as a team.” Follow QB1’s lead.
- Wait it out. Sports fan depression usually doesn’t linger. After the shock wears off and you’ve talked it through with your personal team, you should start to feel that “we’ll get ‘em next year” optimism. Or in the words of Josh Allen, it just fuels the fire.
- Be Kind. Seriously. Your team had a bad day at work. You’ve had them, too. Nobody calls you out publicly when you do something not-quite-right on the job, so please be respectful. Show support by picking up one of those cute Pawson Knox pups in Wegmans that support the PUNT Pediatric Cancer Collaborative or engage with the TEN Lives Club which is pet charity of a Bills plays who is taking his share of licks on social media.
If you’re still out of sorts after a few days and you’re not sleeping or feeling like yourself, reach out to Spectrum Health. Counseling can help you restore your perspective and help you remember that the season opens on September 5, and it will be time to circle the wagons again. Go Bills!
Executive Manager for Community, Government, and Development Relations