The John Review – Week 7

I know I’m waaaay late this week, but I’ll make it up to you I promise.

I can’t really think of anything to say that either my BBR colleagues, or the writers for the Buffalo News haven’t already said. This team is bad and they’re not getting any better. The sad thing is, not only are the Bills bad, they’re boring.

Jerry Sullivan said it best when he said, “This has come at a bad time, the Sabres [are] still unbeaten and putting on the best sports show this town has seen in years. The Bills are giving everyone a chance to turn away and pay their undivided attention to the sensation in the arena at the foot of Washington Street.”

Now I’m a huge Sabres fan as well as a huge Bills fan and I’ll be the first to advocate that when one team does well it shouldn’t mean bad news for the other, but this city needs something to rally behind and the Sabres are doing just that.

I know they are two different sports, two completely different franchises, but it’s the same city, so it’s not hard to justify abandoning our NFL team for our NHL team. Last weekend both Buffalo teams were in Detroit, Sabres came up with the win and the Bills didn’t. This past weekend both teams faced Boston (or New England respectively), Sabres got the job done (made Boston look like little kids), the Bills didn’t (other way around).

That said; rather than pit the two against each other, make them work together. I know the Bills are bad, incompetent, untalented, uninspiring, unintelligent, etc. but that’s our team, so knowing they’re not going to win, let’s get behind them as fans and try to do our part to (in the short term) bring them back up to at least “almost winning,” as opposed to their current state of, “not even showing up.”

The six fans that stayed cheering to the end of the game this past week made me proud (I watched on TV until the end, not quite as dedicated, but my uncle didn’t get me the tickets to the Pats game like he promised). That’s the kind of people we are in Western NY. As I said last week we’re losers, but we’re passionate losers (I don’t mean that as a knock). As fans we need to show up even if our team doesn’t, and we need to cheer, and we need to buy jerseys (go Brian Moorman!).

The importance of this is not just to turn this season around, forget this season if you will. If we let the team tank financially we’ll lose them. Part of what keeps the dream alive in Buffalo is the faint hope that we’ll be back to glory someday, and we can’t have a winning team if we don’t have a team at all. And you can bet once Buffalo loses a team, it’s population is not going to grow enough in the future to get one back.

I’m serious about this, as Bills fans we need to support them now more than ever. I know most of you are at your wits end, frustrated beyond belief and as nice as it sounds to still try to get excited, just can’t take the pain anymore. Well I’m with you and I’ve come up with a plan to play through the pain.


Like I said, make the two teams work together. This is becoming a glorious year to be a Buffalo Sabres fan. Granted, the season is long and a lot could happen between now and the end, but for right now there is no better team in the NHL than Buffalo. Lean on that, use the Sabres as your crutch as you cheer on the Bills. As much as you’ll feel like a loser when you watch football you can take solace in the fact that you’re not a total loser because you have another professional team in Buffalo that is amazing.

Next week we face Green Bay, and I’ll be at the game. I plan to bring you all a very special review from it (it’ll be funny I promise), but to the rest of you, get in front of your TV, cue up the Shout song, make some Buffalo wings and keep this team where it belongs: Buffalo.

-The John



Buffalo Sabres New LogoMost of you reading this probably know that I am a big enough Buffalo Bills fan to have my own Bills podcast, the Buffalo Bills Review. I even have a page on the Bills website where they let me post my various thoughts on our team. But so far this season, nothing can compare to the show the BUFFALO SABRES are putting on here in WNY!!!

Oh man… this team really looks like they might go 82-0! I know that’s not possible. Somewhere along the line you make enough mistakes that you lose a game, but seriously… this team is like nothing we’ve seen in Buffalo hockey before. And it’s been so long since the Bills were dominant that it’s hard to remember they were this good!

Last night the Sabres beat the Montreal Canadiens to break the record for best start in franchise history of 8-0. During the course of that game, the announcers reminded us of what happened earlier in the season, when the two teams first met. Montreal had a 4-2 lead with only five minutes left!!! Buffalo came back and won in a shoot out (in overtime)!!! Wow.

So far this year the Sabres have an incredibly potent offense (like scoring 9 goals in one game, or two in the last five minutes as I mentioned before.) Beyond potent, it’s so incredibly spread out. There are 10-12 guys who can regularly put the puck in the net. There is no 1st line, or 2nd line on down, as with most hockey teams. We have FOUR first lines. Add to that the defensemen are relentless… amazing shot blockers, harrassing the opposition, good checking… but then the forwards all do that well, too! Add to that arguably the best goalie in the game, and our backup is great too! Wow. This team is scary.

So, if you’ve never watched hockey before… just catch a Sabres game next time they’re on national TV (which they are a bunch this year). You might become a hockey fan. Really. They’re that good!

Go Buffalo!



When will the Lossman experiment be over in BUFFALO? JP is going backwards. Do we finish out the year with JP or do we switch to Kelly Holcomb and try and win some games. If we do Lossman is all but a cut next year, as he should be.

JP you are a nice guy but with talent but you do not have the head to be a QB in the NFL.


The John Review – Week 6

Wow what a great game!

I turned on the TV Sunday and saw it was exactly what the city of Buffalo needed. Half of the people were without power, spirits were low, and that come from behind victory blowout had everybody feeling good again.

Then the MSG re-broadcast of the previous night’s Sabres game ended and it was time for football.

I hope you will all forgive me because I’m not going to get into a detailed review of this week’s game. I was so upset and disappointed by it (ask the guys in the BBR chatroom) that I’m going to leave the finer points to the rest of the BBR guys. Instead I want to touch on something that needs to be said that nobody else is saying.

I know a lot of the people reading this article are from Buffalo, but for those that aren’t, let me set the scene: Saturday night I drove up there from Rochester for my cousin’s wedding, there were trees down everywhere, not only were half of the residents without power, but half of the street and traffic lights were out. My Grandmother’s 87-year-old cousin had no food, running water or power in her apartment. My uncle had trees smash two of his cars and no power in his house because the downed power line was in his pool.

And the rest of the country could care less.

The interesting thing has been watching how the people of Buffalo reacted to its worst October storm in the history of the weather service. Instead of waiting for George Bush to come in and save them while gangs looted Wal-Marts, they got out whatever supplies they had and started clearing trees out of the road, bringing supplies to the elderly, and helping people get out of their homes.

All while the rest of the world ignored them.

The people of Buffalo (or all of Western NY for that matter) are a special type of people. We get knocked down, beat up and walked over, whether it’s in sports, politics or weather, but we pick ourselves back up, brush ourselves off and keep on pressing. We never wait for others to save us because we learned a long time ago that relying on others would only leave you more disappointed.

All we’ve ever asked for is a team that represents those principles.

They call Buffalo a blue-collar rock pile, and say it like it’s something to be embarrassed about. The truth is, yes Buffalo is a really tough place to live sometimes, but all that means is that Buffalonians are tough people. In fact, I’d even wager some of the elderly from that city could whoop just about anybody from Florida’s ass.

Last week the Bills rolled over completely for the lossless Bears, and this week rolled over again for the winless Lions. That’s not what my people are about. The area I’m from will lose kicking and screaming, come at you hard and no matter how bad it gets, keep coming until the whistle blows.

Like being down 52-17 late in the fourth quarter and still running all out to knock the ball out of Leon Lett’s hand on the one yard line, even though it wouldn’t change the outcome of the game. When Don Beebe did that in Super Bowl XXVII, it was more than a symbol of the determination of that team, it was a true illustration of what it means to be from Western NY.

Last year the Sabres provided another illustration in the Eastern Conference Final, when 6 out of 10 of their defensemen were lost due to injuries. They refused to be intimidated by the Carolina Hurricanes. Guys who spent the entire season in the minor league were starting for the Sabres in game 6 and stepped up and brought the series to a final seventh game. Two periods in to the final game Buffalo was even leading by one goal. Unfortunately fatigue and lack of healthy players caught up to them and they were finally overwhelmed in the final period by the soon to be champion Hurricanes.

So yeah they lost, but man they went down swinging, and that’s the kind of people Western New Yorkers are. So to the Bills: you have found yourselves in a tough spot, too bad. It’s time to join the rest of your city, grab a shovel and dig yourselves out.


Being A Buffalo Sports Fan

Sabres defeat Ottawa Senators
Right now, that’s a good thing. Yes, I know… our football team lost 40-7 in Chicago last week, but really, they’re a lot better than that – for the first time in a long time. They really could very easily be (by the way they have played) 4-1 right now. That’s perty good.

But even with as much promise as our Buffalo Bills are showing… right now the real team to watch in Buffalo is the Sabres!

Not sure what I think about the new logo and color scheme for the Sabes, but man are they an amazing team. So far this year they are 3-0 (yes I know there are 80 games left still) and they have beaten some great teams. The two games we got to see you could just tell that they were the better team on the ice.

We’ve never had “the best team in the league” in Buffalo, but perhaps this year we do?

The Bills that went to four straight Super Bowls might come close to that, but most would argue that since they never won the SB, they can’t be called “the best” team in the league.

Well, regardless… it’s a pretty fun time to be a Buffalo sports fan!

If you’re interested, check out my Bills Blog when you get a chance. It’s the page I keep on the site.


The John Review – Week 5

That was some serious dropping of the soap.

I was expecting the Bears to win the day, but I was hoping we would go down swinging, maybe take a couple of them with us, frustrate the crowd and have everybody say, “wow the Bills really put up a good fight.”


The only disappointment we put on the Chicago crowd was ending their lack of touchdowns record. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still pretty cool. It’s just too bad the Bears scored 40 points before that.

This week was a good test for our young squad and if we’re going to have one blowout this year there is no better team to have it against. I think we learned a lot from this game, and incase we didn’t I’m going to point out the things we should have learned from this game.

First the positives, JP (Man-tan) had… Willis made a really nice… How about that catch from… Never mind.

On to the negatives, Jason Peters in the off chance you read this, please please please learn the snap count! It can’t possibly be that hard since I know from experience they drill it into your head when you play peewee football.

Man-tan, I know Chicago and Buffalo’s uniforms look exactly the same (not really), you need to throw to guys wearing your jersey, you’ve been so good about that lately too, what happened?

Mike Schneck, I thought you went to the pro bowl? What was up with that really low snap?

Nate Clements, time to go back to “tackling school.”

All of Buffalo’s defensive backs, time to go back to “catching interceptions school.”

All of Buffalo’s defense, time to go back to “not being slow school.”

Maybe the Bills didn’t get the memo that the game started at 1:00PM, especially since the offense didn’t show up until the last drive of the game.

However, before we take all of our merchandise back to the Bills Store, it is important to understand how rare it is that a team wipes its entire administration and most of its coaching staff, starts five rookies on defense, tries to mature an inexperienced QB and wins the super bowl (and by “rare” I mean “will never happen ever”). This was the worst possible conditions for any team and it’s a good thing our young squad could get that experience. Put it behind us and move forward, we’re still better than the Dolphins.

Finally, I usually don’t focus much on the opposing team, but I need to point out that cheap shot Brian Urlacher put on Losman when the Bears were up 40 to nothing was pretty classless. I know the Bears fans booed the roughing the passer call, but come on. 40-0 and your guy is taking a cheap shot at the other team’s QB? Bogus.

Hopefully next week we should win the day in Detroit, putting us back at .500. I think it will be a game though, I don’t trust Kitna, he’s a great QB.

I know this is a football site and a football column, but I just have to mention something that could help with our collective depression this week. If you are a Buffalo fan and haven’t really followed hockey, give it a shot this year. Saturday was my birthday and I want to thank the Buffalo Sabres for giving me that win over Ottawa, and Montreal and especially Carolina (I know it wasn’t for me personally since none of them know me, but I did go to high school with some of Tom Golisano’s grandkids [one of them is a good friend of my sister’s], so a guy can dream right?) The Sabres are 3-0, beating some of the best teams in the NHL (including the Stanley cup defenders). At least for me, it has taken some of the edge off. Go Sabres!

…Oh yeah and Go Bills!

-The John


BBR News – Week 4

Just a few links for you from the show this week…

  • Check out the predictions page and keep track of the BBR picks for each game this season!
  • Don’t forget to take the poll on the main page here. This week: Who was the player of the game on Sunday?
  • Stop by Greg’s BBR blog at The Buffalo Bills conversation continues there….
  • There’s going to be a bonus show this week. It will be in the feed, and will be posted on the main BBR page.
  • Join us for the BBRGameDay chat via AIM (or compatible programs). Click here for instructions.

The John Review – Week 4


Let me set the scene at my house for you. Four guys between the ages of 21 and 23 off the couch, kneeling on the floor counting down the final 20 seconds of another trademark Buffalo nail-biting finish. Fortunately, this one ended in our favor.

So how did we get there? Well let’s look back at a season defining game for this young Western NY squad.

First is Kiwaukee “If you’re going to signal a fair catch please do it out loud next time” Thomas. That was an incredible play and an equally incredible bogus call. Perhaps we all need to go back to signal school. First, a fair catch is not signaled by pointing to your wife in the stands (that point would have made Babe Ruth proud), you have to actually wave. Although apparently that doesn’t help since Rosco had a very fine looking wave on the next punt and a Viking decked him anyway. Second, I think (and I’m not an official or anything, I’m just some overexcited dude in a Brian Moorman jersey) you have to actually be in a position to catch the ball, and this guy was at least five yards away from the ball. That’s like some random guy on the other end of the field signaling fair catch or something. Bogus, totally bogus.

Next I need to mention my pick for the game ball, JP “Wheelie Dan” Losman. You can’t argue with 222 yards, a TD and no turnovers. Now that he seems to be getting more comfortable, I really like that they’re letting him use more of his assets. His decision-making still needs some improvement, but it is a lot better.

Not to mention everything from the Fox announcers today was about how smart JP Losman is. After the game Willis, Jauron, and Evans were all asked if JP was specifically coached to spread the field like that and they all said no, that it was JP’s decision making. All of this is definitely a hopeful sign. Don’t get me wrong, JP has some growing up to do before we change his name to “Winman” but at least they’re not going to call him Rob Johnson Jr. anymore (although he does have a nice man-tan. Way to go Man-tan!).

And how could I talk about our offense without mentioning Willis breaking his dry spell? Congrats on touchdown number one Willy Mac, you earned it. Speaking of number one, most of you avid Buffalo fans know Willis Mcgahee was the number one ranked rusher in the NFL going into this week. I know he’s been telling us that for some time, but it looks like the stats have agreed with him. As of this writing the updated rankings for this week aren’t out yet, so we’ll see if he holds it (probably not).

Next up is our defense. I know I’ve said this before, but for being so young these kids are tough. That last minute stop was exactly the thing this squad needed to boost their confidence. Can you imagine what blowing the game in the final minute would have done to our season? I can’t tell you how grateful I am that we’re not having that conversation.

Finally I need to mention an interesting addition to the game. Bill Clinton in a Bills hat. It seems the former president and his wife was invited to sit in the owner’s box with President Wilson. I don’t know who Clinton really roots for, but chances are he’s not really a hardcore Bills fan. Although I have a hard time imagining he’s a fair weather fan since Buffalo fans don’t know what fair weather is, but even so I’ll cut him some slack since his first name is “Bill.”

All in all it was a really impressive showing from our boys in Blue. We’ve kept ourselves out of the hole so we can go against a touch set of opponents like the Bears and the Pats with a little more confidence.

My official prediction for next week is as follows; I’m not sure we will be able to hold off the Bears at home. If our defense can step up yet another level I think we have a chance, but their defense is more than solid. Also I just saw that their offense just blew through Seattle like an enema. Oh well, here’s to hope, go Bills!

-The John