Cheering Section

by Ryan

I tried not to read a lot about the Bills game because it’s still a very touchy subject. However, today I felt the need to check The Buffalo News to see what Bucky Gleason had to say. He’s not the most popular member of the News’ staff around the blogosphere, but I was curious to see how he would spin the game. I have to say I wasn’t disappointed by what I saw.

Evans had more in common with the fans in the stands than his teammates in the huddle Monday, which is to say he had no catches and spent the game waving his arms and wondering why he wasn’t getting the ball. It snapped a streak of 67 games with at least one reception and marked just the second time in his career that he was shut out.

The Bills masterminds work 16 hours a day, enough to hatch a plan to get Evans more touches. Trent Edwards was much to blame, of course. He had time in the pocket. His one pass in Evans’ direction was intercepted.

Let’s face it, the ’08 Browns weren’t the ’85 Bears. Edwards’ recent play is a clear sign that he’s not processing the game, that he’s not seeing the field, that he’s indecisive, that he’s rattled. Remember, his knack for making quick decisions and accurate passes enabled him to become the No. 1 quarterback in the first place.

Gleason makes a really good point, and it’s something I’ve said here and seen repeated elsewhere. So much of the season rests on Trent, and Evans’ lack of touches is directly related to Edwards’ play. Turk can draw up whatever he wants, but if Trent doesn’t throw his way there isn’t much anyone can do.

In fact, I agree with a lot of what Bucky Gleason says here. This was one of those columns that make you remember why he has a job at the News to begin with. He has good opinions and can even make you laugh when he wants you to. However, there is something I just don’t believe no matter how often I hear it said.

Just so you know, I take no joy in watching the Bills’ slide after suggesting fans should temper their emotions and proceed with caution following the victory over Oakland and a 3-0 start. This gig prevents me from being a fan of Buffalo’s teams, but I’m a huge fan of Buffalo, N. Y.

I call bull on that. Not that he doesn’t care about the city, but the fact that he isn’t a “fan” of the Bills or Sabres because of his job. Wrong, that’s exactly why you’re a fan: it’s your job to be one.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the job requirements. Not many columnists are Bill Simmons, and there is a level of professionalism required that is supposed to make you impartial. Still, don’t give me that “I’m not a fan” crap. Of course you’re a fan, otherwise you wouldn’t watch games to begin with.

An art critic likes paintings. A movie critic likes movies. A food critic enjoys eating. Just because you write about sports doesn’t mean you can’t be a sports fan. To take all emotional ties away from watching sports makes for awful analysis and boring writing. You write about sports because you love sports, and if you don’t then I don’t want to listen to you.

I know sports journalists that love their subjects and still root for their teams. Just because you can’t pump your fist after a goal or make noise on third down doesn’t mean you’re not a fan. I remember hearing stories about media members cheering during The Comeback against the Oilers, and I personally know writers who root for the Bills and Sabres and still have to make deadline. It doesn’t make them poor journalists, it makes them passionate about what they do.

This whole “being a fan” thing is against the magical rules of journalism, but let’s be honest with ourselves: we’re all fans. Bloggers are allowed to be fans because there are no rules, but sports journalists are required to be educated fans that can look at both sides of a game. There is no such thing as impartiality, but of course temperance is necessary in reporting about your local team.

Having a press pass doesn’t immediately strip away your rooting interests, but rather forces you to play the part properly. That’s the truth, and it’s about as obvious as Gleason’s dislike of Sabres management. No one is claiming that is him “being a fan”, but aren’t those emotions in essence the same?

I’m curious to see what the USRT guys have to say about this, and if anyone else with a press pass wants to enlighten is, you know the email.