People complain that I'm too negative, too critical, too quick to judge -- and that's just my close friends and family. There's some truth to it. While others see the glass as half full, I'm inclined to question the water bill and the intelligence of the glassmaker.
But it's a new year, a time for boundless optimism. I hereby resolve to be more upbeat and positive in 2006, to see the light at the end of the tunnel instead of Tedy Bruschi. For the next 12 months, I see nothing but hope and promise, a year where everything goes right for suffering Buffalo sports fans.
It begins today, when the Bills blow out the Jets, 31-0, to finish on a two-game winning streak. Kelly Holcomb has another big game, assuring himself a chance to compete for the job next summer. A beaming Ralph Wilson walks into the postgame interview room, grabs the microphone and declares that Mike Mularkey's job is safe.
On Tuesday, Wilson holds a news conference to announce the firing of Tom Donahoe (if you don't see that as a positive development, have another egg nog).
Wilson elevates Tom Modrak to general manager and Russ Brandon, his VP for marketing, to team president. Brandon apologizes to Bills fans for the team's heavy-handed security measures late in the season. Modrak says the team will be more open with the media and confirms that Roscoe Parrish's injury was a broken wrist. Mike Williams restructures his contract to stay in Buffalo and vows to commit himself to mastering the left guard position.
In February, Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas both get voted into the Hall of Fame. Chris Drury scores the winning goal to lead the U.S. to Olympic gold in Italy.
Orchard Park's Travis Mayer wins an emotional gold in moguls. Buffalo's Steve Mesler is the brakeman as the U.S. bobsled team wins silver.
Dr. James Williams, the Buffalo schools superintendent, persuades the board to give an extra $2 million to the interscholastic sports program, helping fund junior varsity teams, cheerleading squads and night basketball. Williams abolishes the Thanksgiving football game, allowing city teams to play in the sectionals.
On March 1, Modrak signs two free agent tackles -- one for each side of the line of scrimmage. He releases Sam Adams, Coy Wire, Eric Moulds, Trey Teague and Bennie Anderson. Just before the NHL trade deadline, Darcy Regier trades Martin Biron and a draft pick to the Canucks for defenseman Ed Jovanovski. Daniel Briere returns from his abdominal injury.
The UB men's hoop team proves me wrong, coming from 19 points down to beat Ohio in the MAC title game. The Bulls upset Stanford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Canisius men reach the MAAC final. The Bona men win 14 games and Anthony Solomon is named A-10 coach of the year. The Canisius women win their second straight MAAC title.
In April, the Bisons start out 20-2 under new manager Torey Lovullo and win the International League title. Under Modrak's guidance, the Bills draft offensive and defensive linemen with six of their selections in the draft. They also take a tight end.
The Sabres finish first overall in the NHL with 112 points. For the first time in five years, a major Buffalo sports team makes the playoffs. In a reprise of the Border War, the Sabres beat Toronto in the first round of the playoffs. They go on to win the Stanley Cup in seven games over Dallas, on an overtime goal by Titanic Tim Connolly at HSBC Arena. Ryan Miller is playoff MVP.
In June, the Canisius softball team wins two games in the NCAA Tournament. Barry Bonds hits his 754th home run, one short of Hank Aaron's record, and announces his retirement. Bonds says he wants Aaron's record to remain intact to atone for all the cheating in the steroid era.
The Bills start training camp, and Willis McGahee reports in the shape of his life, determined to hit it big in free agency later. J.P. Losman wins the starting quarterback job from Holcomb in a spirited competition. Parrish emerges as the No. 1 wideout. Williams is solid at guard and Duke Preston is a revelation at center. Takeo Spikes is back at 100 percent.
As October arrives, the Yankees win 105 games as Johnny Damon scores 172 runs, five short of Babe Ruth's record. But the Indians upset the Yanks in the ALCS and beat the Cubs in the World Series. When the final out is recorded, there will be nine former Bisons on the field for Cleveland.
With Losman completing 60 percent of his passes, the Bills start 5-1. Losman hurts his knee and Holcomb does a Frank Reich imitation, leading the Bills to an 11-5 record. McGahee rushes for 1,856 yards and 18 TDs. Mularkey is Coach of the Year. The Bills win the AFC East by a game over the Patriots and get to host a playoff game for the first time in 10 years.
The UB football team finishes 6-5 and beats Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl. First-year coach Turner Gill is named MAC coach of the year.
Wilson announces that John Butler's name will be added to the Wall of Fame in 2007.
I'm on the way to my first Staff Picks title in 12 years. All right, so maybe some things really are impossible.
Happy New Year.