How do you know when your team hits rock bottom? Missing the playoffs for over 10 years? Having a losing record for 9 years? Finishing in last place more than any other position in the past decade? Finishing in the bottom 10% of the power rankings for the last 5 years? Having fans wear paper bags on their heads at home games?
Nope.........it's none of the above.
Rock bottom is when your greatest rivalry dies. It's when your team is so irrelevant that the two weeks during the NFL season when your team plays it's most hated rival, nobody cares. Its when playing your arch rival is no different than any other game. Its when the passion is gone..
For years Bills fans lived for "Dolphins Week". Nothing meant as much as beating the hated Dolphins. Many moons ago Bills fans actually stormed the field (at the old Bills stadium) when they finally beat the Dolphins after years of losing to them. Who could forget Thurman Thomas (the Buffalo Bill Thurman Thomas) dashing though the blistering snow in Buffalo? Then there was the hated Bryan Cox flipping the "double bird" at Ralph Wilson stadium. More recently Bills fans broke into song singing "Let It Snow" when it began to snow during a Dolphins game (ol Ricky Williams ran for over 100 yards that game and the Fins still lost)! The fun part of the rivalry was that the Dolphins fans (as well as both team's players) truly loathed each other (in an NFL kind of way). It was a classic NFL rivalry, pure and simple.
No more, (or as Roberto Duran would say, no mas). Alas, the rivalry is dead.
The Bills have become so irrelevant that fans and players have forgotten about the rivalry. Current players may know there once was a rivalry, but they don't feel the venom that players felt 10-15 years ago. Miami week is no more (sigh). Sure, old timers still remember the glory of the rivalry and feel something special when the Bills beat the Dolphins, but its a bittersweet feeling knowing that most of the fans, players and even the rest of the NFL no longer remember how much fun the rivalry once was.
Also, it doesn't help much when your arch enemy is as lousy as your team.
I'll know the Bills are a good team again not by their won/loss record, but when those special two weeks return. Yes, when Bills fans get amped up about Miami week, I'll know the Bills are back! Here's to glory days gone by - the death of a rivalry.