Wide Right, Music City Miracle & 13 Seconds: Being a Fan

I’m replaying the game in my mind, but this time, instead of ‘wide right’, the pigskin sails between the uprights and the Buffalo Bills win Super Bowl XXV in 1991.

I’m replaying it in my mind, and instead of a Nashville ‘miracle’ in 2000, the throwback is correctly ruled a forward pass and disallowed. The Bills win and continue their march to Super Bowl XXXIV.

The 13 seconds on the clock harmlessly expire with the Bills beating the Chiefs to advance to the next round as heavy favorites for Super Bowl LVI, here in 2022. That’s how I see it, when I replay it in my mind, my way.

If only it was that simple.

If only it was that simple, Bill Buckner stops the ground ball from going between his legs and my beloved Red Sox win the ‘86 World Series instead of waiting another 18 years.

If only it was that simple, Brett Hull’s winning goal in triple overtime of a Stanley Cup final in ‘99 is ruled ‘no goal’ *, my Buffalo Sabres go on to win the coveted Cup. They still haven’t won it.

All Curtis Strange had to do was par the 18th hole at Oak Hill for Team USA to win the ‘95 Ryder Cup. He didn’t, a pall fell over the course while the Euros danced in celebration, and the short walk home was devastatingly long. If only it was that simple.

Winning, like Life, just isn’t that simple. As fans, we know it all too well. Losses are gut wrenching, especially when the contest looked won, only to have “defeat snatched from the jaws of victory”. Nevertheless, we continue to follow our favorites, mourning the losses and celebrating the victories. As sport fans, we come to grip with the good and bad and wait for another day, a different fate, a better one.

And there are better ones!

“Do you believe in miracles” became a classic sports call in the 1980 Olympics when the underdog US team went on to beat the Russians and Fins to win gold. A wonderful moment for Team USA Hockey fans

My Buffalo Bills roared back from a 35-3 deficit to beat the Houston Oilers in the greatest comeback ever in NFL history on a cold January day in 1993. What a moment!

The Boston Red Sox defeated arch rival NY Yankees 4 games to 3 after trailing 3 games to 0, then moved on to win the 2004 World Series.

Sportscaster Jim McKay described sports as ‘the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat‘, so it is with fans who experienced both. And when the season is done, all that’s left are the high and low memories of close calls and ‘what ifs’ . Collectively, we share with other fans the universal mantra…


Steve B (srbottch.com)

for Pete Springer (petespringerauthor.WordPress.com) and sport fans everywhere

* the Brett Hull call that won the game was correct

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Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative to begin anew as a school crossing guard. SMy essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my blog stories, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Another offered about my blog, “it brings some sense of normalcy not easily found in the modern world.”

31 thoughts on “Wide Right, Music City Miracle & 13 Seconds: Being a Fan”

      1. South Africans support the national teams, Steve. I do watch international rugby and cricket games/matches. I don’t watch the local games much. When the boys were younger, we used to take them to watch the local cricket but now they so a lot of things with their friends.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t watch much sports on TV, except for my Bills football. I have too many other things to do, like…like…okay, like ironing🙀, which I’m doing now…pillowcases😂. It helps my wife😉

        Liked by 1 person

    1. John, I did that once. When I moved to western NY, I switched allegiance to the Bills from another team that stunk. That team was in New England. They got lucky and won a lot of games over many years. They had a guy named Brady.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Ah, the ‘if onlys’… If only Eli Manning hadn’t caught that uncatchable ball, the Patriots would have another Super Bowl. If only Bucky Bleeping Dent hadn’t hit that home run for the Yankees. I could go on. On the flip side, I will forever remember watching “Do you believe in miracles?” being yelled on the little black and white TV. I hope we have more of those moments this week at the Olympics. See you and the Bills in the fall, Steve. You guys will do very well next year. Go Pats! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Funny story, there’s a little boy here in New England who corrected his teacher that Bucky Dent’s real name is Bucky F…ing Dent. I guess his dad hasn’t forgotten it yet. 😅

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I always thought he was a cool guy but then he migrated to the ‘evil empire’ and fell in line. Why? Follow the money! I wanted to punch out his cardboard cutout at every Dunkin Donut!🙀😂


      3. Haha! I had forgotten that story about Bucky Dent, Jennie. I’m not a Yankees or Red Sox fan, but I do enjoy a good rivalry.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I made a sales call at GM that morning, then went home, got my snacks, maybe a beer, and sat myself down in front of the tv to watch the game, an afternoon game at Fenway Paaaak. When it was over, the late afternoon shadows at Fenway were as long as the frown on my face. I was alone in my misery.


  2. Ah, a sports lover who can understand the agony of defeat as well as I can. You may have a hard time believing this, Steve, but I was a huge fan of the Houston Oilers (before they became the Tennessee Titans) and Warren Moon. When I list the top five heartbreaking losses of all time, that one is still #1. How exactly do you lose a 32 point lead after halftime when the other’s team QB (Jim Kelly) is out due to injury? (1993—No, I don’t take these games that hard. 🤣🤣🤣) A little trivia that you may already know being a Buffalo fan. Frank Reich was the QB in that game after Kelly got hurt. Now, he is the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

    If this wasn’t enough pain, our son played football in junior high, high school, and college. Now he has been a college football coach for six years. My wife and I stream all their games online. She didn’t know what a first down was when we first got married, now she’s discussing football strategy with my son. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lucky is a man who has a wife that enjoys football. Yes,Frank Reich is still revered in western NY. Some trivia for you. Who is the only QB to hold the record for the greatest NFL and college comeback, and both times as a backup? Yes, Frank Reich, who backed up Boomer Esaison at Univ Maryland.


  3. Aahhh there is always next year. Also known as hope! We are kindred with our teams…bills..Red Sox we know pain but also really appreciate a good win too!

    Liked by 1 person

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