Bills fans reflect on having the longest playoff drought

Buffalo Bills quarterback Cardale Jones (7) is brought down by New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

 

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — The longest- running playoff drought continues. For 17 straight seasons, the Bills season ends as the regular season wraps up.

Ask Bills fans where they were 6,204 days — they might not know.

“6,204 days — what was that?,” asks Charles Pelline. “The last time they were in the playoffs?”

That’s right. Bills fans have been waiting more than 6200 days to see the team in postseason play.

“I wasn’t even an adult then,” said Derek Lenz, a Bills season ticketholder.

It was January 8, 2000 — the Bills were taking on the Tennessee Titans for the AFC Wildcard game. With 16 seconds left, the Bills were up, 16-15.

“I was so excited,” said Lenz. “I thought we had it won.”

“I remember enjoying a victory,” said Pelline. “[Thinking] we’re advancing in the playoffs. We will have a good year this year and we might advance all the way.”

And then a play which makes this game known as the Music City Miracle.

“All we had to do was get through one play,” said Pelline. “And all of that deflated like a burst balloon. We went from victory to defeat in 10 seconds.”

The Bills kick off. Titans tight end Frank Wycheck is there to return it.  Trapped. No where to go. He sees teammate Kevin Dyson across the field and throws a lateral pass to Dyson. Dyson takes it to the house. A 75-yard return. The Titans win it, 22-16.

“Wow, craziness- craziness,” said Robert Evans, remembering the play.

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the play – it looks like a forward lateral from Wycheck to Dyson.

“I remember I was like ‘Man, I can’t believe we lost this to a bad call and I have to wait a whole ‘nother year,” said Lenz.  “It’s been 17 years and I’m still waiting.”

A lot has happened while fans have been waiting.

The United States was under attack on September 11, 2001; entered two wars; has gone through two two-term presidential administrations. Smartphones are common place. Buffalo began utilizing its waterfront, opening Canalside.

And the Bills, still haven’t been bound for the playoffs.

Somethings haven’t changed.

“We support them through thick and thin,” said Evans.

“Win; lose; Super Bowl, no Super Bowl; playoffs, no playoffs — we’ll always be Bills fans,” said Pelline.

And that’s something that’s probably true for most Bills fans.

“We will stand by the team no matter what.”

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