Now that the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup and the hockey season is over, are you ready for some football programming?
At 9 tonight, MSG Western New York premieres a Buffalo Bills production, "The Top 10 Moments in Bills History."
The fast-moving program, which will be competing with the start of Game 5 of the NBA playoffs between Golden State and Cleveland on WKBW-TV (Channel 7), will have multiple airings over the next few weeks.
Bills greats on the field and in ownership and the front office are interviewed, including Mary Wilson, the wife of the late Bills Owner Ralph Wilson, Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Andre Reed, Cornelius Bennett, Steve Tasker, Marv Levy, Bill Polian, Mike Stratton and Wray Carlton.
The current Bills owners, Terry and Kim Pegula, aren't interviewed, but their importance is noted, with radio voice John Murphy saying the team would be the Los Angeles Bills if they hadn't purchased it.
That's debatable, as is the placement of such Top 10 moments as Wilson buying the franchise and putting it in Buffalo, the signing of Jim Kelly, the Pegulas buying the team, the Bills winning an AFL title and the Bills demolishing the Raiders, 51-3, to earn their first Super Bowl appearance.
I would have placed the Bills 17-7 victory over Miami to end the Dolphins 20-game victory streak much higher on the list for personal reasons. The date of the game, Sept. 7, 1980, is etched in my memory as a former sportswriter because after midnight, while I was writing my sidebar story on the game at the hospital, my daughter Katie was born. Her birthday is Sept. 8.
(My children had a habit of arriving on big game days. My third child, Max, was born a few hours after May Day! – when Brad May scored the Buffalo Sabres' overtime goal to sweep the Boston Bruins in a playoff series on April 24, 1993. Max's birthday is April 25.)
I'm big on dates, which is why I was a little surprised the sneak preview I reviewed doesn't emphasize them while going through the David Letterman-like Top 10 list of memorable moments.
At the start of the 30-minute program, the narrator did emphasize some statistics. He noted the Bills had won two AFL titles, four AFC titles and made the playoffs 17 times.
Since the franchise started playing games in 1960, 17 playoffs out of 57 seasons doesn't sound like such a hot average. They also made the playoffs 17 out of 40 years since there has been a 17-year playoff drought.
Needless to say, almost all of the Top 10 moments except for the Pegulas' purchase of the team came in the 1960s and 1990s.
I doubt there will be much debate over what is No. 1, but there could be debate over where O.J. Simpsons' 2,000-yard rushing season falls if only because his Bills memories have become more painful since he has been disgraced.
After the show, I suspect there will be debate over what moment is missing from the Top 10. Future highlight programs may stir some memories over what is missing.
In subsequent weeks, the Bills will be producing four more highlight episodes.
Here is the lineup:
Top 10 Offensive Players in Bills History at 9 p.m.
Top 10 Defensive Players in Bills History, debuts 6/26 at 9 p.m.
Top 10 Draft Diamonds in Bills History, debuts 7/10 at 9 p.m.
Top 10 Individual Performances in Bills History 7/17 at 9 p.m.
Ratings Time: Pittsburgh's 2-0 victory over Nashville Sunday in game six of the Stanley Cup playoffs to win the title had a 10.2 rating on WGRZ (Channel 2), the local NBC affiliate. It was the second-highest rated game of the series here and undoubtedly will make Buffalo the No. 3 or No. 4 market for the game. The rating peaked at 9:45 p.m. with a 13.4 rating. At 10:45 p.m., around the time the winning goal was scored, the rating was 11.2. Needless to say, the Tony Awards took a hit opposite the game. It had a 4.1 rating on WIVB-TV, the local CBS affiliate. Megyn Kelly's second Sunday night episode on NBC took a big local drop from the premiere. It had a 3.8 rating, finishing well below the 6.1 rating for a "60 Minutes" repeat on Channel 4. Cleveland's victory in Game 4 of the NBA playoffs to postpone the Warriors' celebration had an 8.1 local rating Friday night on Channel 7.