A View from McFadden’s – 10/9/11

“Vote,” blared the ESPN.com headline this past August: “What city is the sports capital of the world, Philadelphia or Boston?”

Ignoring, for the moment, whether most of “world” cares about American sports teams, the entire premise of the question requires rethinking.

Boston? It’s had a great run, but the Red Sox’ monumental collapse probably precludes choosing them – and then, of course, there was the Bills’ tremendous, Brady-shaking victory over the Pats a couple of weeks ago (four interceptions. Remember?)

OK, so I guess the choice is Philly, by TKO (technical knockout – nothing involving Takeo Spikes). But, wait, the Phillies – bandied about just a few weeks ago as perhaps an all-time great team, were eliminated in the first round of the MLB playoffs! And then this past Sunday, yet another QB – Michael Vick – also threw a personal all-time high four interceptions as the Bills’ defense dogged him all day (couldn’t resist) – or, at least in the first half. Had the poor guy chasing his own tail (sorry again).  Bills 31, Eagles 24.

On another note, did anyone catch the Sabres carving a path – through Europe! – to begin its season 2-0?

Welcome to Buffalo – the sports capital of the world!

OK, maybe a little premature. But, we’ve got to feel a lot better than we did a year ago, as the Bills were on route to an 0-8 start.

Remarkably, but not surprisingly, nearly every mainstream media headline I’ve seen refers to the Eagles losing rather than to the Bills winning. My favorite: “After loss to Bills, time to admit the Eagles just aren’t that good.” As if losing to the Bills is, by definition, a clear sign that your team is in a downward spiral.

As usual, the Bills likely drove fans to the medicine or liquor cabinets. Or both. The week one blowout of the Chiefs aside, every game’s been a nail biter, with the Bills either rallying or allowing the other team to rally.

There are a lot of things to savor about this one:

  • Fred Jackson’s performance…once again. He should at least be a small part of the MVP conversation (although I’m convinced Peyton Manning is proving himself as the true, perennial MVP – it’s unbelievable what the Colts are like without him)
  • The (re) emergence of the Ralph as a place where opposing teams shouldn’t want to play
  • Donald Jones’ perfect receiving day. We’ll conveniently omit the part about him leaving injured after two receptions
  • The team once again won a game it certainly would have lost last year

Yet, at the risk of being a total buzz kill, there are clearly concerns:

  • Without Fred Jackson, I don’t know what yesterday would have looked like
  • The Amish Rifle has been mediocre for much of the past two weeks
  • For most of the second half, both our offense and defense seemed overmatched. I’d swear we were seeing flashbacks to Edwards/Jauron

There’s got to be plenty of game film here for the Giants and future opponents to exploit. We need to count on the Bills to recalibrate.

But, meanwhile…pre-season, who would have thought the Bills would be 4-1 coming to New Jersey to play the Giants? Here’s hoping you all enjoy next week’s game, either at McFadden’s/Calico Jack’s or at whatever the Giants call their stadium these days.