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Could it be the Buffalo Bills vs. the Detroit Lions in Super Bowl XLVI?

Posted on September 25, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

Could this be the year that the Buffalo Bills return to the Super Bowl?

The Super Bowl matchup has been set. Maybe not in the minds of NFL management, but in the stars, in destiny, in all the places that matter.

It will be a Detroit versus Buffalo Super Bowl. You’ve heard of the “Dawning of the Age of Aquarius?” This is the dawning of the Age of the Incredulous!

Both teams have not only been shut out of the playoffs for more than a decade but have also been shut out of hope, expectations, respect for nearly that long.

But something happened in the alignment of the universe over the off-season. Perhaps the Lock Out had something to do with it. Perhaps it was something completely unrelated. But this year, if  you’re intuitive, psychic, clairvoyant, you can already sense it. You don’t suspect. It isn’t a hunch. It is a future fact as certain as the rising and setting of the sun and the changing of the seasons, yet as unsettling to the natural order as Global Warming.

For three consecutive weeks, these teams whose defeats are assumed, whose prospects are failure until proven successful, whose prospects have been as star-crossed as Romeo and Juliet, are suddenly clicking. These teams that have in the past frequently played a good game, come back from a deep deficit, only to fall behind again at the last minute of regulation time, or lose a sudden death shoot out, are suddenly coming back and staying ahead. They are suddenly assuming victory and playing as if they will and must win, as if failure is not only not an option, it isn’t even a plot line.

Which Team Will Win More Games in 2011

  • Detroit Lions (73%, 90 Votes)
  • Buffalo Bills (27%, 33 Votes)

Total Voters: 123

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It is the age of Incredulity. The year of the underdog. It is a bad year for Goliath. It is a great year for two down-for-the-count rust belt towns with football teams that have most recently been reflective of the fortunes of the major industries that once made these two cities great and recently, in their failure, have made these two cities rusting hulks of their former greatness.

Calvin Johnson and the Minnesota Vikings have been making amazing plays during their first three victories of 2011.

And yet, word on the street is that these two cities are coming back economically also. They’re refusing to accept failure. They’re trying new things and starting to bounce back, claw back, grow new shoots.

And you can’t separate one from the other. There is a true and complete connection between sports and economics, between football and communal failure or success. The fortunes of a city’s sports teams can reflect reality or re-shape it. And if they reshape it, and as fortunes on the field begin to improve and fortunes on the street begin to advance, it is suddenly very difficult to separate one from the other.

The Bills and Lions will play each other for the world championship this year because they both come from towns that have suffered under their failures (sports and otherwise) long enough, that have now, thanks to their young teams and their young new leaders are thinking outside of the box to find new ways to compete and succeed. These two teams will turn this season into a hopefest for the downtrodden, the overlooked, the underemployed and underpaid, the blighted, the defeated and the disenfranchised everywhere. Instead of having an “America’s Team” this year, we have America’s teams. And as the whole American economy is threatening to make the Bills and Lions recent records look like a Dale Carnegie convention by comparison, America will take hope and inspiration from the growing success of these teams.

If these two can conquer their conferences and make it to the big game, can make an art form out of the comeback, can take no-names, re-treads and rookies and somehow play together like veteran championship teams, then America can come back to or exceed past prosperity, not by doing the same old thing the same old way but by thinking outside of the box like Chan Gailey and Ryan Fitzpatrick, and by letting promising young leaders like Matthew Stafford take over and run the show.

It is so important to our country, our society, our economy, our way of life that these two teams continue their unlikely, upward trajectory. And you may not know it yet, but I do. My gut has already informed me. It is happening. It will happen. It is real. It is true. It is confirmed. And yes, it is magic.

John Wingspread Howell is an entrepreneur, writer, and theologian, living in Buffalo, New York.

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