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Commentary: A Good Luck Charm for the Bills & Sabres

By Joe Marren

Buffalo, NY – Some of my friends have none-too-politely hinted they're disappointed with me.

During occasional palavers with those critical compadres, they ask me why I'm doing such a lousy job on these WBFO commentaries. Actually, they aren't really that bold. But they imply it. What they do is yawwwwn and strrrrrretch like a housecat waking up from a nap in the sun and say, "Oh, another commentary? I'll have to listen. Umm, when is it on again?"

I can hear the sneer in their patronizing tones. What they mean to say is: Where's the fire? Where's the zing? Where's the social consciousness from those Fifth Coast columnizing days of yore?

Those pretend friends think I should take this bully pulpit and rage against the corporate greedheads and scheming politicos. Hey, I got news for them. Mama Marren didn't raise any fools. I'm tired of tilting at windmills.

Instead, I want a gazillion-dollar compensation package from Wall Street dupes. I want lucrative energy contracts to foreign lands that our Army just whupped. Maybe Keith and Mick can't get no satisfaction, but I want the giddy feeling a lobbyist gets when my bill gets rubber-stamped by a supine Congress. As a character in a bad hoodlum movie might opine, I want my cut of the action.

Fortunately for Buffalo sports fans, I still have a shred of a sense of noblesse oblige. So I want to make Ralph and Tommy G an offer they can't refuse. Hire me to come to your games and the good guys will usually win. It's true. And I have real live facts to back me up.

I broke into the N-F-L with Bills' rookie linebacker Cornelius Bennett in a 21-14 win against the Denver Broncos on Nov. 8, 1987. Biscuit played, I critiqued. He worked for the Bills, I worked for the Niagara Gazette. But it was the first pro game for us both.

Bennett went on to have a pretty good career. So did I. In parts of seven seasons covering Bills' home and playoff games for the Gazette, the Salamanca Press, or as "the quote guy" for the Associated Press, my team was 37-12. In other words, in my career covering the Bills, the team won three times as many games as it lost. Can Gregg Williams say the same?

So I think the solution is obvious: Ralph and crew should set me up in a fancy box and have their loyal minions wine and dine me. That is, if they still want to be playing in future Januaries.

I tested my theory a few weeks ago against Indy, which was the first game I went to without being paid. True, the Bills didn't win. But let's think back, shall we? It was a beautiful day with temps in the 70s. In Buffalo. In November. Get my point?

Not only that, but the offensive offense finally scored a touchdown after several futile quarters. Better yet, they scored two T-Ds, which meant everyone who saved their program got a free cup o'joe at a certain coffee shop named, ironically enough, for a former hockey player.

I think astute listeners now know that karma is spelled J-O-E M-A-R-R-E-N.

My good fortune doesn't only extend to football. In games spanning two centuries and two arenas, I have never seen the Sabres lose. I'm 3-0 with two games at the ol' Aud in the '90s, and a win against Florida a few weeks ago in the bow-tie arena. In the interest of fairness I have to point out that the Sabes were losing, 3-1, when I left. But my aura alone apparently was enough to inspire a third-period comeback and 4-3 win.

So let Cheney and his former posse divvy up Iraq. Let the pharmaceutical companies play the carrot-and-stick game with Congress. All I want are cushy seats and free parking and munchies at The Ralph or the rink. I should also note that my winning ways are available for Joe Mesi bouts and Bona basketball games. I may be a nouveau scoundrel, but I'm a scoundrel who is also an alum.

To recap, the home team wins when I'm there to watch. Have the owners give me ducats and we all will win. In the spirit of the season, think of it as my gift to Western New York.

Ho, ho, ho.

Listener-Commentator Joe Marren is an assistant professor of communications at Buffalo State College.