Dream season for Bonnies ends against Gators

By Josh Svetz

It’s cliche, but there’s one saying that encapsulates the end of the Bonnies’ NCAA Tournament run.

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies couldn’t handle the defensive tenacity of the Florida Gators losing 77-62 Thursday night at Dallas, Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Neither team could pull away in the first half each taking turns stalling on offense. St. Bonaventure’s Jaylen Adams had a hard time staying out of foul trouble, picking up three fouls in the first half.

360A7606

Both teams struggled shooting in the first half. The Bonnies shot 6-23 from the field and the Gators shot 9-31. The Bonnies went on a 10-0 run until the 4:28 mark, capitalizing on points from the foul line as the shots would not drop. The Bonnies secured a lead late into the first half at the 3:05 mark 22-21.

Unfortunately for them; it would be their last.

The Gators scored a quick bucket and the Bonnies struggled to keep up with the energy of the Gators. Still, the game was close with the Bonnies in striking distance at the half, 22-27.

But fatigue started to set in. Four games in seven days can take the wind out of any team, especially a short rotation like the Bonnies.

Adams admitted in the press conference that the grind of the season wore him down.

“I’m not one to make excuses, but you could tell we were gassed,” Adams said. “We weren’t used to that many games in that many days. But I think you have to credit Florida’s defense more than anything.”

The Gators came out in the 2nd half blazing on a 7-0 run.

The Bonnies couldn’t buy a bucket, but forced themselves to the free throw line.

The dynamic duo of Adams and Matt Mobley struggled to find openings, combining for just 21 points, a total that on an average night either guy usually surpasses.

360A7570

Florida guard Chris Chiozza said the game plan was to focus on the Bonnies’ offensive juggernauts,

“Those are two great guards,” Chiozza said. “We just wanted to make it tough for them to score. We played hard the whole way and were able to keep them from doing what they usually do.”

The Bonnies kept the game in reach, struggling for every point scored.

Then, the wheels came off the Bona Bandwagon. The Gators rained three pointers down as the Bonnies continued to struggle. They went 3-19 from behind the arc.

The Bonnies didn’t ever give up, but the energy just wasn’t there. The culmination of short games, quick travel turnarounds and the emotional drain of winning an NCAA Tournament game for the first time since 1970 got to them.

Head coach Mark Schmidt talked about the fatigue factor after the game.

“We were on a high,” Schmidt said. “I think you can fight through it for a couple days, just with adrenaline. But, when you get down by 15, that adrenaline rush goes out the window.”

Plus; Florida was just better.

Yet, even as the Bonnies continued to fall behind and the game was out of reach, the fans made sure to show their appreciation. With a minute to go the Bona faithful cheered loud with a final “let’s go Bona’s” and gave the team a standing ovation filled with claps, hollers and stomps.

360A7549

The Gators ended the Bonnies dream NCAA Tournament run, 77-62.

One player coach Schmidt made sure to give his due was Idris Taqqee.

Taqqee is not known as the primary scorer. He sometimes misses layups that make you tear your hair out and you always hold your breath when he goes to the line.

But when it came to heart; no one matched Taqqee. Every rebound, every tipped ball, every loose ball, Taqqee went for it. Even as a guard, he grabbed 13 rebounds and coach Schmidt had nothing but praise for the senior.

“That sucker wasn’t going to quit,” Schmidt said. “He’s one of the top five most unselfish players I’ve ever coached. He doesn’t have great skill, but he epitomizes the toughness that we try to play with. Matt and Jay get a lot of the credit, and deservedly so, but without Idris in that — he’s the glue that brings us together.”

As the team exited the locker room to catch the red eye home it was all love.

They thanked the managers, coaches and even the student journalists that had gone on this ride with them.

Their head’s were high, as they should be.

Looking back on a historic season for the Bonnies, the best in the modern era, coach Schmidt closed the night talking about what this means for St. Bonaventure University as a whole.

“We got the respect of the country now,” Schmidt said. “It’s taken a while to get that. It’s hard to put in words, especially coming off a loss, but we did some incredible things. The guys are going to look back years from now and think ‘wow.’ This team is going to be remembered forever.”

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Preview: Bonnies take on Gators in NCAA Tournament

By Jeff Uveino

It’s one of the most anticipated days of the year for college hoops fans—the first Thursday of the NCAA tournament.

With 16 games scheduled for today, the eyes of the sporting world will once again be on college basketball. However, for fans of the St. Bonaventure Bonnies; only one game really matters.

The No. 11 Bonnies (25-7) will take on the No. 6 Florida Gators (20-12) at 9:55 p.m. in the first round of the NCAA tournament on truTV.

The Bonnies are coming off a 65-58 win over the UCLA Bruins in the ‘First Four’ round in Dayton, Ohio. Now, the Bonnies get to travel to Dallas, Texas to take on a Gators team that went 11-7 in Southeastern Conference (SEC) play. Despite winning their final three regular season games, the Gators were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament by the Arkansas Razorbacks. Florida owns several wins over other tournament teams this season, including Gonzaga, Auburn, and two wins against Kentucky

The Gators have enjoyed recent tournament success, including trips to at least the Elite Eight in five straight seasons. In the 2017 NCAA tournament, Florida lost a heart breaker to the South Carolina Gamecocks, denying them a trip to the Final Four.

The Gators have scorers up and down their roster, averaging 76 points per game. They are led by junior guard Jalen Hudson, who averages 15.3 points per game. Egor Koulechov, a senior guard from Russia, averages 13.6 points per game. Other key contributors are guards KeVaugh Allen and Chris Chiozza, who average 13.6 and 13.5 points, respectively. Chiozza also averages 6.1 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game, making him a central part of the Gators offense.

While the sunshine of Gainesville, Florida is far from the snow covered tundras of Allegany, New York; the Bonnies and Gators aren’t strangers.

Just last year, the Bonnies and Gators met at Florida in a close and competitive game resulting in a 73-66 loss.

Senior Idris Taqqee remembers the game against the Gators last year. Now, with a better team and a chance to see them on a neutral court, Taqqee said the Bonnies are ready for another shot against them.

“It’s already a rematch so we want to get that revenge,” Taqqee said. ” We want this. We’re hungry.”

Part of the path to getting that revenge is showing up defensively. The Bonnies used a stymieing zone defensive scheme to slow down the Bruins last game as they try for similar results against the Gators.  The Bonnies forced 20 UCLA turnovers, including 10 by their star guard Aaron Holiday.

Another key to the Bonnies’ First Four win was the play of Courtney Stockard, who scored 26 points. Stockard, a junior forward, is the X-factor in a Bonnies attack that features two high-scoring senior guards; Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley.

Adams averages 19.4 points and 5.3 assists per game, and Mobley averages 18.4 points and 5 rebounds per game. The Bonnies shoot nearly 40% from three point range, and their shooting will be a key as to whether they will be able to pull off an upset.
The winner of this game will play either Texas Tech or Stephen F. Austin on Saturday with a trip to the ‘Sweet 16’ at stake.

Junior LaDarien Griffin, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, knows the Gators pretty well. He grew up watching them and even played AAU with Florida forward Kevarrius Hayes.

He couldn’t hold back his excitement when asked about getting a second chance to beat the Gators.

“I used to watch those great teams that they had in awe.” Griffin said. “You grow up and it’s always the goal to beat those type of teams and now we get that chance. I can’t wait man, I can’t wait to play them!”

Bonnies NCAA Tournament Preview: First Four

By: Jeff Uveino

“You dream as a player to play in the big dance.”

That’s what St. Bonaventure Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt said in his press conference after the Atlantic-10 tournament this past weekend, and it’s what his Bonnies will be doing on Tuesday.

For the first time since 2012, the Bonnies are back in the NCAA tournament.

After receiving an at-large bid, St. Bonaventure will travel to Dayton, Ohio on Tuesday to play in the ‘First Four’ round.

The Bonnies will take on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins at 9:10 P.M. for the right to become the 11th seed in the Eastern Regional and face 6th seeded Florida.

This will be the first matchup between the Bonnies (25-7) and the Bruins (21-11) in over 40 years. Their last meeting came in 1975, when UCLA rolled over the Bonnies on the way to a National Championship.

UCLA comes in at 21-11, including an 11-7 record in their conference (the Pacific 12). They were eliminated in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament via an overtime loss to the Arizona Wildcats, who enter the NCAA tournament as a 4th seed.

The Bruins have a good amount of offensive firepower, averaging nearly 82 points per game. They rank 2nd in the Pac-12 and 28th in the nation in scoring.

The Bruins offense is led by junior guard Aaron Holiday. Holiday can shoot it with the best of them, averaging 20.3 points per game. He is an 83% free throw shooter, and 43% three point shooter. Holiday scored 34 points in back-to-back games in the Pac-12 tournament, in wins over USC and Stanford.

Another factor into the UCLA attack that could trouble the Bonnies is their size. The Bruins start three players who are 6’8 and taller, including 6’8 freshman forward Kris Wilkes, 6’11 senior forward Gyorgy Goloman, and 7’0 senior center Thomas Welsh.

Welsh averages 13 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, and poses a significant threat under the basket. Wilkes averages 13.7 points per game, and Goloman averages 7.3 PPG. Welsh and Goloman can also shoot it from downtown, as they both average over 40% shooting from three point range.

The Bonnies big men will be faced with the task of slowing down this attack from under the basket, which will be no easy task given their recent injury problems. Bonnies forwards Courtney Stockard and Josh Ayeni both suffered injuries during the Atlantic-10 tournament in Washington, DC this past weekend, and their status for Tuesday is still up in the air.

Stockard suffered a hamstring injury during the Bonnies quarterfinal win over the Richmond Spiders, and did not play during their semifinal loss to the Davidson Wildcats. Ayeni went down with an apparent knee injury during the Davidson game, and did not return.

No official word has come out about Stockard yet, but sources have told the Intrepid he’s probable to play. Ayeni is currently questionable, though sources said they don’t expect him to play.

St. Bonaventure will still have forwards Amadi Ikpeze (4.7 PPG) and LaDarien Griffin (8.7 PPG) for starters, as well as Tshiefu Ngalakulondi (2.3 PPG) off the bench.

Getting healthy, as well as controlling the glass, will be big factors if the Bonnies want to be successful on Tuesday.

Despite the challenges the Bruins bring to the table, Coach Schmidt is confident in his team’s ability.

“We won thirteen straight games, had some huge non-conference wins, and some big wins in our league,” he said. “I don’t think there was a hotter team going into the postseason than us.”

The Bonnies will look to their high-scoring guards to keep pace with UCLA, including seniors Jaylen Adams (19.8 PPG) and Matt Mobley (18.5 PPG).

Mobley earned A-10 All-Championship Team honors last weekend after his performance in the conference tournament, including making 9-of-13 three pointers in a 29-point outing against Richmond.

Coach Schmidt has been to the NCAA tournament before, appearing three times as a player at Boston College. However, none of his current players have, and he knows that they will be getting an opportunity of a lifetime.

“It’s probably the best day of your life as a college basketball player [when selected],” he said. “They deserve to have those goosebumps.”

Bonnies clinch 2-seed with 12th straight win

By Isaiah Blakely

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies clinched the 2nd seed in the A-10 tournament with a win over the Saint Louis Billikens (16-15, 9-9 A-10) 64-56, Friday night at Chaifetz Arena.

The Bonnies are now 24-6 and 14-4 in conference, tied for the most conference wins in the program’s history. With a win streak of 12, they are now tied for the second longest win streak in the country only behind Murray State’s 13-game win streak. The Racers clinched the Ohio Valley Conference tournament title on Saturday night.

The Bonnies were led by  redshirt-junior Courtney Stockard. Stockard, a St. Louis native, notched a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Stockard, along with the rest of the team, struggled offensively in the first half. Stockard was 1-8 and the team only shot 39% from the field. Senior Idris Taqqee was a big factor in the first half scoring all seven of his points in that half, including a three pointer that sparked a 9-0 Bonnies run. Freshman Izaiah Brockington scored the last four points of the half to give the Bonnies a 31-25 lead.

The second half was a different story for Stockard. The redshirt-junior shot 7-10 from the field, scoring 16 points at the tail end of the game alone, including a jumper to stop an 11-0 Billikens run with 3:21 to go.

Junior LaDarien Griffin also stepped up, finishing with eight rebounds and scoring all seven of his points in the second half. Sophomore Josh Ayeni also returned to action after missing the last six games due to team suspension for disciplinary reasons .

With that win the Bonnies continue to put themselves in prime position to earn an at-large in the NCAA tournament. With a win or two in the tournament next week there’s a chance the Bonnies could lock up an at-large bid for the first time since 2000 and make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012.

With this win streak and losses by teams in the top 25, the Bonnies could be a top 25 team heading into the conference tournament for the first time since the 1970-1971 season. For all these reasons, plus first seed URI struggling as of late, losing the last three out of five games including a loss to the Bonnies in the Reilly Center, the Bonnies enter next week as one of the favorites to win it all in Washington D.C.

The Bonnies will face off against the winner of Duquesne vs. Richmond. They won both games against Duquesne, and won their only game against Richmond. Both games against Duquesne were decided by a combined nine points and the Bonnies only beat Richmond by single digits. Neither of these teams will be an easy match up on Friday March 9th at 6:00 p.m.

Still, with a possible return to the top 25 and a win streak that matches the best, the Bonnies are in prime position to make noise next at the A-10 Tournament and ultimately make the dream of March Madness a reality.

 

Bonnies Cap Off Alumni Weekend With Win Over Richmond 97-88

The Reilly Center turned into the Roman Coliseum of western N.Y. as 5,480 screaming fans would watch the St. Bonaventure Bonnies defeat the University of Richmond Spiders 97-88.

The combination of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley would  put up 48 points to lead the Bonnies to their six-straight win.
The Bonnies would get off to a great start in the beginning of the game when Mobley jumpstarted the team with back-to-back three’s. Mobley scored 11 points in the first five minutes of the game.
Head coach of the Spiders, Chris Mooney, realized the difficult challenge his team faced when guarding the Bonnies star-powered backcourt. Without having their senior star player De’Monte Buckingham due to injury, the Spiders were facing a difficult task at hand.
“I thought we competed today despite the Bonnies shooting the ball well today,” said Mooney. “They are the best backcourt we played so far, and their front court is aggressive.”
After a made three-pointer by Mobley with 50 seconds left, the Bonnies would walk into halftime with a 51-42 lead. Head coach of the Bonnies Mark Schmidt, talked about how this game was an offensive onslaught.
“We didn’t run an enormous amount plays against Richmond as they were in their match-up zone defense,” said Schmidt. “We were looking to attack their mismatch either inside or on the perimeter and our guys were able to execute our stuff.”
The Spiders would come out of the halftime gates running, as they would go on 9-0 run to tie the game up at 51 with 17:59 in the second half. Both teams would trade buckets until the 11:31 mark as Adams would take over the game.
Adams would have a solo-artist performance, by going on a run of his own.

He would score the Bonnies next 10 consecutive points, forcing the Spiders to call a 30-second timeout. Addams going off with 9:35 left is normal to him, as his teammates and himself wanted to start the game just like every other one.
“We wanted to come out the same way we always do and that is being aggressive,” said Adams. “They play a different style of defense, we wanted to keep attacking, see if we can make some plays, and get the crowd on their feet.
The Spiders were able to trim the lead down to five with 2:44 left in the game, but it wouldn’t be enough to bring them back. Adams made two free throws with 1:07 left to seal the game for the Bonnies.
Adams during his 10-0 run would score his 1,737 point as a Bonnie, marking him as the all-time leading scorer for guards, in program history. Adams during that stretch was hot and wasn’t going to cool down.
“During that stretch, I got some good looks as our defense got better,” said Adams. “I was able to get out in transition and was able to get a clean three, despite missing shots all day, was able to get to the rim and I am glad I can do that for my team.”

The Bonnies were able to shoot 50% from the field, 40% from the three-point line, and would shoot 21-22 from the free throw line. Despite turning the ball over 14 times, defensively the Bonnies would keep it tight and would just keep making buckets.
The Bonnies would be without sophomore forward, Josh Ayeni due violating team rules and junior forward LaDarien Griffin due to a foot injury. According to coach Schmidt, players would have a next-man up mentality.
Sophomore center, Amadi Ikpeze got the start and contributed with 12 points and eight rebounds. Alongside Ikpeze, junior forward, Courtney Stockard talied up a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bonnies will now travel to Philadelphia, PA, to square off against the La Salle University Explorers on Tuesday Feb 13 at 7 p.m. Schmidt said he couldn’t remember the last time they beat La Salle away under his tenure.
“When we play on the road we defend, and we can’t give up 88 points to La Salle because we are not going to win,” said Schmidt. “We got to make sure we defend and take care of the basketball, if we do those two things we’re going to win.”

Bonnies Drop Home Matchup to Davidson 75-68

St. Bonaventure Women’s basketball (7-3, 2-5 Atlantic 10) went down to the wire in a 75-68 loss against the Davidson Wildcats at the Reilly Center. Davidson would would shoot 46.7% from the field and would make 10-18 three pointers.
Junior guard Kianna Speight, who before this game only averaged 4.9 points per game this season, would drop a season high 27 points on 9-14 shooting from the field.
“Give Davidson credit they outplayed and outcoached us today,” said Fleming. “The inability to adjust to a hot player who only averages four points a game and has 27 on us, and continually not closing out correctly, was disappointing.”
At the start of the first quarter, Bonas would go on an 8-0 run in the first three minutes. Davidson would claw back in the game by going on a 15-1 run.
Fleming said giving up that lead was disappointing. He said the team was celebrating, relaxed, and had no idea why they did.
“Davidson just keeps coming at you,” said Fleming. “All week we’ve been talking about how they didn’t score in the first quarter at George Washington University and how they were able to come back and lead by five in the fourth quarter.” For us to just not be locked in defensively was disappointing.”
Fleming added that defense has been the tail end of the team’s struggles. He said it’s schematically on him to figure it out.
​The Bonnies would keep it interesting though. They were able to come back and be down by four at the end of the first half. The Bonnies would continue to trade baskets with the wildcats and would end up trimming the lead to three at the end of the third quarter.
Davidson would call a 30 second timeout at the 9:30 mark of the fourth quarter leading 53-51. They would adjust after the timeout and would score six unanswered points resulting in a Bonnies timeout with 8:12 left. Bonas would answer back by cutting the lead to four at the 6:47 mark of fourth quarter.
​The Wildcats would look to finish the game by going on a seven nothing run. With the score 68-57 at the 5:10 mark, both teams would have a lid on both hoops until the 2:19 left. Freshman guard Katie Turner would make a three-point dagger with two minutes left to play to give Davidson a 71-59 lead.
​Fleming said near the end of the game that they were settling for too many three’s. He believed since Davidson is a pressure team, they could rip, drive, get open shots at the rim.
​“We did get some open shots but the frustrating part was we were drawing a bunch of fouls and yet we settled,” said Fleming. “My message the team after the game was we don’t settle, we don’t embrace the time in the game where we are going out out-execute a team.”
​Davidson would hold onto the lead and finish off the Bonnies. Senior Guard Mariah Ruff would struggle to score this game. She tallied nine points on three of ten shooting from the field in 33 minutes. At the three-minute mark, Fleming would pull Ruff out when down 11.
​“I just didn’t think the ball was moving when she was on the floor,” said Fleming. “It’s nothing against her and you can knock me off for taking her out, but I liked the lineup we had out there.”
​St. Bonas will now travel to Rose Hill Gym to square off against the University of Fordham Rams on Thursday, Jan 25, at 7 p.m. Fleming said that Fordham is the best defensive team in the conference. He believes that if you’re not going to move the ball against them, you’re not going to work to get open, and get the ball swung, then they will just have every single shot contested.
​“We will watch this tape and show all the times were the ball just wasn’t moving,” said Fleming. “If you want to have any chance against Fordham you got to execute your offense, you got to set good screens, you got to set things up, I think those are some of the things that we will focus on.

In final year Ruff wants to cement her legacy

By Isaiah Blakely

Senior guard Mariah Ruff has seen a lot in her previous three years, and in her final chapter she sees another plot twist.

“This year I feel like everyone is on the same page and we are going to shock a lot of people with where we place” Ruff said.

Ruff had her best season last year averaging 14 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists, but she knows every year you have to “walk in with a chip on your shoulder and prove the league wrong”.

Coach Jesse Fleming has “a special connection to Mariah”. They both grew up in Oneonta, New York on a dairy farm and for Ruff that relate-ability helped her build trust in the second-year coach.

“We both can connect on a personal level which is good”, Ruff said.

Ruff has been the exact player coach Jesse Fleming looks for.

“I’m so lucky to have her and inherit someone like her, just a tough kid”, Fleming said. “She’s exactly the kind of kid that you would want to start a program.”

Even after a career best year Fleming mentioned that Ruff hasn’t stopped grinding.

“She still works on her game like crazy”. Fleming said “She just wants this to be a special year for her, and I hope we can help give her that.”

Ruff says she has specifically worked on her “mid-range game and overall shooting.”

“It was pretty strong before, but I didn’t take very many shots during the season,” she said.

Being the only senior, there can be added leadership pressure, but not for Ruff.

“The whole team is really connected,” she said. “We all feed off each other, they pretty much know what they’re doing. I really don’t have to do much besides show up and maybe one or two times show a teaching point.”

Ruff may have gotten some of her ability to fill stat sheets from modeling her game after Lebron James.

“He can play all positions and  does whatever his team needs him to do,” she said.

Despite the Bonnies being projected 12th in the conference, Ruff, an Atlantic-10 Preseason All-Conference second team recipient, wants the team to have the mentality of the 2015-2016 NCAA tournament Bonnies, who were projected 9th that year.

“We always walked into every place knowing we were going to win,” Ruff said. “There was no we might, or, we shouldn’t be here”. Ruff continued, “we should at the end of the game be on top of the score. We are good enough, we just need to prove it.”

Opinion: Watson’s column ignores the positives

By Josh Svetz

It’s been over 17 years since the Buffalo Bills made the playoffs and most people, whether they root for the Bills or not, are happy.

Well, most people.

Just three days after the Bills clinched their first playoff birth since 1999, Rod Watson, a political columnist for the Buffalo News, wrote a controversial column essentially telling fans to “get a life,” specifically to focus on the real issues and stop obsessing about a football team’s accomplishments.

While we can all understand the importance of real issues and taking the time to pay attention to them, that doesn’t need to bleed into simple enjoyment of entertainment.

Carole McNall, an assistant professor at Saint Bonaventure University, said the article fell into the trap of the “either/or mentality.”

“Increasingly today, we set things up as either/or: either you like this thing or that, either you care about this thing or you care about that one,” McNall said. “The excitement I feel over the success of a team I’ve cheered for most of my life doesn’t erase the concern I feel about the issues Watson cites.”

McNall, a diehard Bills fan, brings up an interesting point.

Just because a fan base is excited about an athletic achievement doesn’t mean they’re ignoring the issues 24/7.

In fact, some philanthropic good came from the Bills making the playoffs.

After the Bills beat the Miami Dolphins, they still needed the Baltimore Ravens to lose to the Cincinnati Bengals.

That’s exactly what happened when the Bengals won off a miracle touchdown pass from Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to Tyler Boyd.

Hours after the win, Bills fans thanked Dalton by flooding donations to his and his wife’s foundation, which provides support to seriously-ill and physically challenged children and their families in Cincinnati, Ohio and Fort Worth, Texas.

The output was enough for Dalton and his wife, J.J., to personally thank the fans for the over $315,000 in donations, ironically being published in the Buffalo News.

Yet, Watson failed to mention such in his column, something that bothered St. Bonaventure senior and Bills fanatic, Emmy Kolbe.

I’m not sure what Watson defines as ‘a little perspective,’ but I’d say that’s a huge, beautiful success.” Kolbe said. “It’s a great snapshot of the good Bills Mafia can do for surrounding communities.”

Good deeds aside, another conversation arises from the idea of escapism.

In our world, where media dominates our lives and we can access news within seconds, sometimes it’s nice to just shut off for awhile and enjoy a beloved sports team achieving a great feat, especially when it ties into the culture of the city itself.

Nate Discavage, a graduate of Saint Bonaventure University, isn’t a Bills fan, but spending part of his life in Western New York has made him aware of the Bills’ cultural significance.

“I understand that not everybody is a sports fan,” Discavage said. “But, the Bills are so ingrained in the local culture that Watson has to be aware of the impact of everything around him.”

For Buffalo native Reid Okoniewski, he thought the column misrepresented the fans.

“The fans of the Bills know what the city [of Buffalo] has to offer, especially what we pride ourselves in,” Okoniewski said. “When he talks about taking pride in the history of Buffalo, he shoves aside a cornerstone of Buffalo pride, the sports.”

But maybe the largest blind spot Watson failed to address was family impact.

Mike Hogan, a freshman at Saint Bonaventure University, wasn’t even alive the last time the Bills made the playoffs.

He doesn’t remember Jim Kelly or Thurman Thomas, he remembers Drew Bledsoe, Trent Edwards and Kyle Orton.

His family are Bills fanatics, especially his dad.

His dad got to live in the time where the Bills went to four Super Bowls, but Mike didn’t.

He watched losing. So much losing that he wondered if he’d ever see winning.

“I can remember most of the drought and asking my dad, ‘are we ever going to get to watch a playoff game together?’ Hogan said. “I’ll finally get to have that experience with my father that I’ve waited to have all of my life, watching a Buffalo Bills playoff game with the man who taught me the ups and downs of being a Bills fan.”

Watson’s column asks the reader to have “a little perspective.”

As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan from Northwest Pennsylvania, who’s in the past been annoyed by Bills’ fans over-hopefulness and over-emphasis on the team, similarly to Watson, here’s my perspective.

It’s brought a city together, raised money for charity, fostered community, made people happy and bonded families.

At the end of the day, there’s no harm in that.