Before I discovered McFaddens (Bills bar in NYC) in 2005, my normal choice to venture out to see the Bills play at a bar in NYC was a place called Scruffy Duffy's in Hells Kitchen. Yes, awful name. It was pretty much your typical sports bar with tons of beer and awesome wings. I even remember them spinning a big wheel in which if something happened out of the ordinary during the main game on the big screen (IE: Safety, kickoff return for a TD), the bar would get drinks on the house. It was at this watering hole where I got my first introduction into what it was like to be a ex-pat for a sports team.
Everyone in there had a different jersey. They all had different hopes and dreams for their teams. Some were hoping for championships, others for playoffs, some for respectable, and others for booze. Just so many stories of triumphs and tribulations from their teams. It was there I actually saw my first ever Arizona Cardinals fan. A Cardinals fan? They existed in the early 2000s?
As nice as the place was, it was a complete jinx for me. Not only did I never get a free drink because none of the stupid things on the big wheel happened, but from 2003-2004, I went there 7 times and every time I went, the Bills lost. It was awful. The ultimate walk of shame moment after the final whistle for this ex-pat. Want a list of crappy games that made we want to throw my wings at the bartender?
- Cowboys over the Bills, 10-6
- Eagles over the Bills, 23-13
- Chiefs over the Bills, 38-5
- Jets over the Bills, 30-3
- Texans over the Bills, 12-10
- Jags over the Bills, 13-10
- Raiders over the Bills, 13-10
Oddly enough, I can very easily recall where I was watching most Bills game since I moved. I just have a gift in remembering extraneous Bills moments. For the 8th trip to Scruffys, the Bills were 1-5 and taking on the Arizona Cardinals. At this juncture, I just wanted a win. Any win. I was sick of going to this bar and feeling like a loser every time I left.
I just wanted a damn fun game. Even though the Bills were 1-5, they played tough in pretty much all of their loses while the Cardinals were pathetic. I just had a feeling this would finally end it. I wouldn't be Joey the Mush after today.
But not so fast...
The Bills were only up 10-7 in 2nd quarter for what had been a boring 1st half. It was one of those halves where the Cardinals' fan and I bonded over how inept our football teams were.
Then in the mists of rain or it may have been a snowflake or two, suddenly, some guy who I had no clue who he was took a kickoff return 87-yards for a touchdown. It wasn't Charlie Rogers or Kevin Williams. It was Terrence McGee. This, of course, spearheaded the Bills to score 38 points on just 212 yards in total offense. How in the blue hell is that possible? Josh McCown sucking, I guess.
But for this piece, I want say it was because of McGee.
The 2nd year man stayed in Buffalo for the next 10 years and he did a lot of nice things before injuries screwed him over in 2010. He was really a jack of all trades type of player. He was fast, he could cover, and he was physical. He scored on 5 Kickoff returns from 2004-2007 and had that awesome game against the Bengals in 2005, where he finished with a kickoff and INT return for a touchdown. Oh, did I mention the Bills were 4-10 entering this game?
And that's what it boils down to, doesn't it?
McGee was a nice player for the Bills and he played in so many meaningless games. He may have been the most dynamic and talented player of those terrible 2000s teams who had staying power (Talking about guys like Evans, Kelsay and maybe Schobel). Yet, he just was irrelevant because he played in obscurity. He would have been a talked about player if he were with the Pats or Giants. I'm not saying all-pro or anything, but he would haven been a nice part of some of those defenses.
And this is the problem the Bills have had over the last 13 years. Not all of them are bad, but the guys who are stuck here, they are probably the most tortured. You kind of feel bad for the good ones. It isn't there fault they got drafted by us.
Sadly, this was a move long overdue by the Bills. McGee has been shot the last three years. I think his decline was due in large part to the physical punishment he endured by returning kicks and starting at CB. That's not exactly a good mixture for having a long shelf life. He never seemed to get hurt from 2003-2008.
Maybe the Bills decided to keep him around longer because he had seniority and saw a lot of the bad times here. It would have been a feel good moment if the team actually became good. We could have written nostalgic pieces about what McGee witnessed when he had the game of his life against the Bengals during a meaningless encounter and how he was about to embark on a playoff run for the Bills.
Alas, it never matriculated. He couldn't have his moment to break the snide like I did when he helped the Bills win a game and end my bad luck streak at Scruffys.
In case you were wondering, Scurffy's is closed now. It has been closed since 2008 I believe. Fitting, how that's when McGee's career started to go down hill. McGee ran down hill a lot while returning kicks for the Bills, it is just too bad the team was going downhill as well.