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Rod Watson: Playoff game? Please don’t tell me any more about it

Rod Watson

Does the phrase "Get a life!" mean anything around here?

I could put up with it Sunday night. After all, the combination of the stunning end to the Bengals-Ravens game and the Bills’ "must win" win was a nice conversation starter.

I wasn’t even averse to rehashing it on Monday, since it was New Year’s Day and nothing else much was happening.

But all week long? I’m sick of it already.

We can’t possibly be so psychologically pathetic that having a football team make the playoffs for the first time in 18 seasons becomes the most important thing in town.

Or are we?

A few years ago, Psychology Today delved into "superfandom," and much of the analysis seemed as if it used Buffalo as a case study.

It pointed to the "shirtless, body-painted guy screaming himself hoarse" with a game focus so intense it was as if he were on the field. In his mind, he is, according to psychology professor Ed Hirt. The professor said watching someone play triggers mirror neurons that make the fan feel almost as if he is the doer through a "vicarious sense of success."

"They even become more optimistic about their own life when ‘their’ team wins and gloomy about their personal future when ‘their’ team loses," Hirt told the magazine.

Sound familiar?

San Francisco-based analyst Samantha Smithstein noted that superfandom could be a coping strategy "to escape an issue that’s difficult to face."

Heaven knows we have issues.

And Eric Simons, author of "The Secret Lives of Sports Fans," cautioned in a 2015 Washington Post op-ed about changes going on inside a fan’s head.

"It is not an obnoxious affectation when a devotee uses the word ‘we;’ it’s a literal confusion in the brain about what is ‘me’ and what is ‘the team,’ " he wrote.

All of which is great.

But are these the delusional souls you want to trust with your stock portfolio, your next surgery or your car’s brake job?

In the meantime, what’s going on in the real world?

We have a president well on his way to becoming America’s first dictator, while he and "rocket man" threaten to blow up the planet. We have environmental and civil rights protections being shredded, agency heads neutering their agencies and a tax bill that expands the massive gap between the haves and have-nots.

We have Albany bracing for trials of former officials and contractors that will lay bare the buying and selling of state government.

And we have a school system that, despite glimmers of hope and change, still graduates too few and fails too many.

But is anybody rallying, partying or waving banners about any of that? No, it’s all Bills, all the time.

Buffalo needs help. At the inevitable watch parties, we should use halftime for mass therapy sessions to reaffirm what should be obvious: There are things more important than Tyrod Taylor’s quarterback rating. A city with Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan masterpieces, Underground Railroad sites and a burgeoning medical campus should not have to fixate on LeSean McCoy’s all-purpose yardage.

Of course making the playoffs is a plus; all I’m asking for is a little perspective.

It’s enough to cause mixed emotions in the non-hysterical part of the population. Sure, a wild-card win over the Jaguars on Sunday would be nice.

On the other hand, I don’t think I could put up with another week of 24/7 hype. It’s already gotten on my last nerve.

Go (away) Bills!

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