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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: False start

   April 30, 1999 -- The Buffalo Destroyers had been the focus of a large marketing campaign in the weeks leading up to their debut in Arena Football League. The ads, if nothing else, has gotten the community curious about what the team was like.

   Then the team played its first game in HSBC Arena, a contest against the New England Sea Wolves, and that curiosity was, um, satisfied.

   Indeed, it's tough to imagine a less promising start to a franchise than the one the Destroyers had on this night. They gave up 31 points in the first half to fall hopelessly behind.

   From there, the New England Sea Wolves coasted to a 59-26 win over the Destroyers before 13,214 in Marine Midland Arena.

    The Destroyers looked like an expansion team, making several mental and physical mistakes. They even missed a couple of extra-point attempts.

    "I think we saw the difference between a preseason game and the real thing," coach Dave Whinham said to The News' Allen Wilson. "Emotionally, this is a crusher for us. There is no excuse for taking a whipping like this. It stinks."

--- Budd Bailey

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