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O.J. curse continues to squeeze Buffalo

It happened again. The poor, tortured souls of Buffalo have watched another promising season get flushed down the toilet.

Thanks to the controversial last-second lateral and subsequent touchdown by the Tennessee Titans, Buffalo fans will have to endure another six months of what-ifs and could-have-beens as another January has ended with the bitter stench of disappointment.

These are the Buffalo Bills, a franchise which may have been the team of the ’90’s if they’d managed to win once in their four trips to the big dance. These are the Buffalo Bills, and their tale is a story Shakespeare would elevate to high art. They are the perpetual bridesmaid, the ugly sister no one wants to date.



But why all this misfortune? What could cast such an ominous cloud over a city and its football team?

Perhaps the Football Gods have taken disfavor with this town. A decade full of heartbreak would seem to point in that direction. And if those Gods are angry and wrathful, what possibly could have provoked their ire?



The answer?

The Juice.

O.J. Simpson, for five years now the punch line to an endless stream of bad jokes, seemingly is the punch line of yet another.

A proud and illustrious football career, first at USC, then with Buffalo and San Francisco, is now all but forgotten. Then again, being the defendant in circus of a double-murder trial tends to brush everything else about you aside. O.J.’s Hall of Fame career is forgotten. He’s only ever referred to as a football player at Heisman time, or when a running back approaches the 2,000-yard barrier. And if it not for Barry Sanders and Terrell Davis both eclipsing that barrier in recent years, how many would even know that O.J. shattered it first? No one would remember.

What people remember now – rightly so, of course – is that surreal, slow speed chase. A few dozen CHP squad cars, red and blue lights flashing, and a white Bronco creeping along L.A.’s highways. Who could forget?

If anyone should try, it’s the people of Buffalo. Perhaps they can exorcise the demon of O.J. by holding mass-viewings of the “Naked Gun” series. Nobody can roll down a set of ballpark stairs and careen over the railing like the Juice can, and maybe watching him do so as a city is the answer for the people of Buffalo.

But somehow, O.J.’s legacy doesn’t seem like it’ll be that easy to shake. After having another promising season blow up in their faces, Bills fans must look to the supernatural for answers. How else can you explain Scott Norwood’s centimeters-wide miss, an unprecedented run of four straight Super Bowl appearances with no wins to show for it, and Doug Flutie’s failed last-second heroics in the ’98 playoffs? And though Rob Johnson led the Bills to what should have been the game-winning field goal against Tennessee, how else can you explain coach Wade Phillips’ mind-boggling decision to bench year-long starter Flutie – he of the magical and mystifying – heading into the playoffs.

The Curse of O.J.

It’s the only possible explanation.


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