Yes, that headline is real. I want to go into further detail on what happened on January 23rd, 2022, a night that I think is legitimately the saddest night of my life. No one said an editorial had to be happy! The culprit is, of course, the Bills-Chiefs playoff game, because why wouldn’t the saddest night of my life revolve around a game I have no impact on and players I have no connection to? I’m going to give a timeline of the events of that day, because part of the tragicness of the night is how quickly everything happened and how quickly my emotions got completely flipped upside down.
10:30 AM: I woke up, although I didn’t sleep all that well. After all, how could I possibly sleep with all of the anxiety that was rapidly building up and getting progressively more incapacitating as it got closer to game time?
11:15 AM: I go to a Stop and Shop to buy a bagel. The Long Island in me can’t help it. I’m a sucker for bagels and the Connecticut bagel stores are NOT it. Stop and Shop is the closest I can get to Long Island.
Noon: The editorial board meeting for The Spectrum. Yay! This is easily the most important part of the day, for sure. 😉 It was also the first one I took part in, so this was a pretty big deal.
2:15 PM: I’m off to the gym. The grind never stops! The gym usually does a good job of calming me down because it gives me something else to focus on, and I guess it did a decent job of that again on this day. I leave the gym and I feel confident. I’ve talked myself into a Bills victory. This was probably the beginning of the end looking back on it. This was just setting me up for total heartbreak.
6 PM: I go to Panera Bread to get dinner for the game, as I usually do. I LOVE Panera Bread, it’s a phenomenal establishment. I’d say I go at least twice a week, sometimes more depending on the situation. So, I went to Panera and the whole time my nerves were almost completely gone. Part of it was blissful ignorance on my part, but part of it was also the music. The last song played before my nightmare began was “Woah” by Lil Baby. I love that song almost more than I love Panera Bread, and it never fails to hype me up.
6:40 PM: Kickoff in Kansas City! I was most definitely not prepared for the ride I was about to go on. The Bills were getting the ball first, which already made me mad. I don’t like it when they get the ball first to start the game.
6:50 PM: The Bills march right down the field on their first drive and score a touchdown. This only served to boost my confidence even higher, which set me up for an even greater fall later on.
8 PM: The game reaches halftime tied at 14 after the Chiefs miss a field goal off the upright. All things considered, it could’ve been worse so I was accepting of that score.
8:36 PM: Mecole Hardman somehow is completely missed by the Buffalo defense and the Chiefs go up 23-14. My vision is starting to slip away.
8:41 PM: One play later and the Bills are right back in it with a 75-yard touchdown from Josh Allen to Gabe Davis, and it is 23-21. The vision is coming back into focus!
9:27 PM: The Bills, down 26-21 with 2 minutes left in the game, face a 4th and 13. If they don’t convert, their season is likely over. I had already begun to shut it down mentally, so when Allen hit Davis again for the go-ahead touchdown, I had to quickly start it back up again. After the 2-point conversion, the Bills went up 29-26. In some games, that may be enough to win. On that night, it was not enough. Not even close.
9:32 PM: Tyreek Hill literally runs past the entire Bills defense and scores a touchdown with 1:02 left to put the Chiefs up 33-29. A text message sent from me reads, “I’M SO NERVOUS.” I had no idea.
9:40 PM: Allen to Davis again!! The Bills take the lead again!! They go up 36-33 with only 13 seconds left! I knew Mahomes was great, but I didn’t think there was any way he could come back from a deficit like that with just 13 seconds left. My immediate reaction was to parade around my house yelling any and all sounds. No coherent words. Just sounds.
9:48 PM: Following a series of mental and defensive errors that even the most novice of Madden players wouldn’t make, the game miraculously heads to overtime tied at 36 after the Chiefs go 50 yards in 13 seconds to kick a field goal and tie the game. My only text message reads, “Can’t believe it.” I had just fallen from the highest of highs to the absolute lowest of lows in 13 seconds.
It’s okay, though, there was still overtime, and if the Bills won the toss they’d probably win the game! It’s a 50/50 chance on the coin flip!
9:58 PM: The Chiefs win the toss and proceed to march down the field and score the game-winning and season-ending touchdown for Buffalo. Final score: 42-36.
Fun fact, I didn’t watch that touchdown. I had already turned the TV off and accepted my fate. As Kansas City was marching down the field I knew that it was hopeless and I turned it off. I’ve never seen that touchdown and I most likely never will. As far as I’m concerned, the game ends with 13 seconds left.
10:00 p.m.- I lay on my floor and turn the lights off. I literally just lay there. I swear to you, I literally never do that but I felt compelled in that moment to do absolutely nothing, so I did. I did nothing and laid in the darkness for a good 45 minutes. I’ve quite literally never done that before, but I have never felt that way before. Never before had I been so sad and so disappointed, so I didn’t know how to cope and react. I didn’t even say anything to anyone, all I did was lay in darkness for 45 minutes. It is the single saddest night of my life, it is the saddest I have ever felt, legitimately ever, and it’s one of those nights that will be forever scarred in my mind no matter how hard I try and forget about it.