By: Breanna Jacobs
As a lifelong Bills fans, I can tell you I’ve seen my share of bad plays and bad games; I’ve seen hundreds of thrown interceptions, much more than a handful of missed tackles and some confusing personnel decisions. This is the same experience faced by every football fan, every person who sits in front of the TV every Sunday and watches their favorite team compete for a top spot in the National Football League.
But there’s one thing about being a Bills fan that stands out, and not in a good way. It’s something that’s been commented on by other Bills fans, fans across the league and even Bills players. And that one thing, that one thing that really drives me crazy on Sundays and during the pre-season and during training camp and during the off-season is Bills fans’ incredible negativity.
Signing onto Twitter whenever there’s a Bills game is something I’ve started dreading; my timeline is filled with fans that think they know everything, who will challenge you on every opinion you have and who have no qualms about putting down the team and the players that they supposedly support.
Most recently, my timeline has been blown up with tweets like the following:
“Tyler Thigpen SUCKS. Put him on the next plane to anywhere but Buffalo.”
“The Bills are no good under Fitzpatrick.”
“The coaching staff needs to make some major changes if the Bills want to win any games this year.”
Or, my favorite: “THE BILLS SUCK!!!”
I have heard a lot of defenses for this negativity. Fans think that because they pay to go to games, because they just love the team so much, because they are apparently so invested in the team’s performance, they have the right to completely rip them apart. But your words, tweets and Facebook posts have an effect on the team.
Do you want your negativity, or the combined negativity of you and every other negative-Nacy Bills fan, to bring Buffalo down? I’m going to hope that your answer to that question is a resounding “no.”
Let’s think about it for a minute: Not only do these players have the pressure of trying to earn a roster spot on an NFL team, but they feel pressure from the fans; pressure to be perfect. If you tag them in a tweet, they see it. If you tell a player they suck, they take it to heart and they wonder why, if you’re a fan, you’re not supporting them, why you’re trying to make them feel like they’ve let everyone down, like they can’t do anything right.
It’s easy to criticize when you’re not the one making the decisions, when you’re not the one taking the snaps or making the tackles, but imagine the effect that your criticism has on each player, each coach and each individual that is a part of the organization.
It is important to remember that the coaches, not the fans, know what is best for the team. Yes, you pay to see the games. Yes, you supposedly support the team through thick and thin, but until you are wearing a Bills uniform or standing on the sideline wearing a headset, you have no authority as to what decisions the organization makes.
Negativity never got anyone anywhere, so let’s clean up our attitude, Bills fans; let’s build the team up instead of tearing them down. They may not be perfect, but no NFL team is and by demanding perfection, you’re only setting yourself up for a major letdown.
So, next time you think about tweeting, Facebook-ing or even saying something negative about the Bills, I challenge you to think of two positives that you could put outnther instead. If Bills fans can turn their negative attitudes into positive ones, I guarantee the team will thank you for it and they’ll channel that positive energy onto the field and maybe, just maybe, they’ll achieve a lot more than you ever thought possible.