As the Minnesota Vikings wrapped up their 2020 season in Detroit last Sunday, there was a feeling of disappointment. Coming into the season with (delusional?) thoughts of contending in the NFC North, the Vikings completed the Jeff Fisher special by going 7-9 and subjecting their fans to a long offseason of possibilities.
Over the next couple of months, we’ll dissect draft prospects via YouTube and fire up Madden NFL 21 as the final month of football is played. This leaves Viking fans with the option of running franchise mode repeatedly to see if their trade scenarios work or picking a horse in the NFL postseason race.
For those siding with the latter, I suggest aligning with the Buffalo Bills.
The relationship between Bills and Vikings fans grew contentious after Josh Allen jumped over Anthony Barr in Week 3 of the 2018 season. Between that and getting shelled 27-6 at home during that matchup, which followed the tie against the Green Bay Packers which cost Daniel Carlson his job, Viking fans have been reluctant to jump on the Buffalo bandwagon and partially given them the blame for ruining their Super Bowl run that was never meant to be.
Things only grew more contentious as Stefon Diggs forced his way out of Minnesota last offseason. In an almost sarcastic “So, you really want out, huh?” kind of way, Diggs was shipped off to Buffalo, and the visions of Diggs screaming at Allen began to fill the minds of passive-aggressive Minnesotans.
But a funny thing happened as Diggs threw on a Bills jersey — they started throwing to him. Then they started winning. A lot. Buffalo enters the playoffs as one of the most interesting teams in the field, compiling a 13-3 record while wrestling the AFC East from the New England Patriots.
Allen has become one of the NFL’s rising stars during this run, seeing his completion percentage jump from 56.3% in his first two seasons to 69.2% in 2020. In addition to the stats, Allen also fits the part off the field, telling his team to stop short of murdering the Pittsburgh Steelers after JuJu Smith-Schuster filmed one of his dancing TikTok videos on the Bills’ logo.
While Allen’s motivation doesn’t include trying to learn The Griddy, he also has one of the top targets in the NFL at his disposal. Diggs has blossomed in his first season with the Bills, leading the NFL in receptions (120) and receiving yards (1,535) because Buffalo realizes that throwing him the ball as much as possible gives them a great chance to win.
Vikings fans will say that they’re happy with the deal that sent Diggs to Buffalo because of Justin Jefferson’s future, and they should be. But as the man who caught the “Minneapolis Miracle” pass, it would be cool to see him get his moment and help the Bills go on a Super Bowl run.
Buffalo fans also know pain just as much as Viking fans do. The Bills and Vikings are the only teams in NFL history to lose four Super Bowls. Even worse, Buffalo did it four straight times.
If that’s not enough for you, consider that the Bills have basically run through the Vikings’ checklist of painful losses. As fans curse the name of Blair Walsh, the Bills will raise you a Scott Norwood. You want to talk about 38-7? The Bills lost their last two Super Bowl appearances by a combined score of 82-30. What about the Vikings’ last-second loss to the Arizona Cardinals in 2003? The Bills have their own thing called “The Music City Miracle.”
Even through all of that, Bills fans also know the horror of being second-fiddle to a Hall of Fame quarterback who won’t go away. While the Vikings eagerly await Aaron Rodgers’ departure from Green Bay, the Bills have watched Tom Brady destroy their team over the past two decades and are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Mix everything together and it’s not surprising why Bills fans opt to gather in the cold every Sunday and voluntarily throw themselves through flaming tables. There is no pain equivalent for cheering for these two football teams.
Of course, you still might not be convinced because there are plenty of other options that don’t feature a player who forced his way out or have a Twitter troll with the name “JOSH ALLEN 4 MVP (13-3).”
- Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are fun to watch, but they’re coming off winning a Super Bowl and could win several more.
- The Cleveland Browns are in the playoffs for the first time in 18 years, but Kevin Stefanski winning a Super Bowl would give Vikings fans some serious Mike Tomlin vibes (which also crosses the Steelers off the list). It appears, however, like Stefanski will miss the opening playoff game after testing positive for COVID-19.
- Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints just gave the Vikings a Christmas Day ass-whooping while the Indianapolis Colts are trying to drag Philip Rivers’ corpse to the Super Bowl.
- Even if you’re down with seeing long-suffering Buccaneers fans win a Lombardi Trophy, do you really want to see Brady win another Super Bowl?
That seems to leave the Bills as the best-case scenario.
Would it be better if the Vikings were in the playoffs? Absolutely. Will we still hope YouTube bans the Allen/Barr highlight? You know it. But if the Bills won it all, we might just crack a smile and wonder if they can do it, why can’t the Vikings?