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Fanaticism among fans is all the rage

Leodis McKelvin didn't know what to think when he arrived home after the devastating loss to the Patriots. He felt bad enough after fumbling late in the game against New England, allowing the Patriots to score the winning touchdown in the final minute Monday night when it looked like the Bills would pull off an upset.

His greeting when he stepped out of his car about 1 a.m. Tuesday was white paint splashed across his lawn, reminding him of his ill-advised decision to vacate the end zone when settling for a touchback was the safer play. Once he took a closer look, he understood how cold Buffalo could be in defeat.

Talk about creepy. He didn't know who was responsible for the juvenile artwork and uninspiring message. For all he knew, some deranged fan could have been hiding behind the bushes of his upscale home in Hamburg.

"Everybody in the NFL thinks about it, ever since the Sean Taylor incident," McKelvin said Wednesday. "People coming to your house, you always have to be aware."

As it turned out, the perpetrators were two neighborhood kids, 16-year-old knuckleheads who somehow decided they would teach the Bills cornerback and return man a lesson. They contemplated pelting his house with eggs before spray painting an image of a male body part and the words "kneel down," followed by an expletive. They were good spellers.

Their parents must be proud.

McKelvin took the high road hours before learning Wednesday that kids were responsible. He brushed it off after practice as inappropriate but isolated. His anger and fear had turned into amusement, and the paint job had disappeared with grass clippings on his lawn. He later refused to press charges and turned the case over to the kids' parents.

At the very least, the teens should be sentenced to two summers of hard labor. In this case, it means tending to McKelvin's lawn until their hands bleed or it resembles the 14th fairway at nearby Brierwood Country Club, preferably whichever comes second.

It makes you wonder who was more fortunate, two kids because they were dealing with McKelvin or McKelvin because he was dealing with two kids. Taylor, the former Redskins star, was murdered in his own home. Some wacko could have easily sprayed McKelvin's home with bullets rather than paint.

"To go to someone's house because of the outcome of a game is completely absurd," safety George Wilson said. "I hate to think about what could have happened in the event that a guy on our team catches somebody on their property or threatening their family. You never know what this could lead to. It's very unfortunate."

Sports were once a diversion from the real world, but that's changed over the years. The Internet and fantasy leagues have intensified emotions. Passion has become obsession for certain fans. Good heavens, people, it's a game.

You wonder why so many professional athletes carry guns these days. I wonder why they carry guns, too, because rocket launchers would work better.

Former Bills coach Mike Mularkey had a terrible time in Buffalo. Gregg Williams received death threats. Drew Bledsoe had rocks thrown in his pool. Matthew Barnaby relayed a story Wednesday about someone defecating in his pool after he asked the Sabres to trade him in the late 1990s.

Nearly 19 years have passed since Wide Right, when Scott Norwood's missed field goal in Super Bowl XXV left this town heartbroken. In the days that followed, after fans wiped away their tears, they gathered by the thousands for a rally downtown. And you know how they responded to the guy they blamed for crushing their dreams?

They cheered for him.


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