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Voice of the Fan: Nathan Peterman is the 'Phantom' in Bills opera

There are times when it is hard to determine if it is tougher to win in this league or be a fan of this franchise.

For a team that circles the wagons and drains as much as the Bills do, we fans have been dragged through the mud equally as much as its players, and perhaps more, as most of us have been here much longer, and take the beatings and losses just as personally and hard.

And now, because of Josh Allen’s painful injury, we are deep in the orchestra pit of another Bills opera, looking up. Written and composed entirely by the Irish bard, Sean McDermott, reciting his epic mantra “Trust the process,” alongside his co-conspirators and collaborators, director Brandon Beane and playwright Brian Daboll.

And we in the audience are left wondering if the fat lady is going to sing on another season mid-Octoberfest.

The male lead and star, Allen, has one working arm and it’s not his important one.

The stand-in, Derek Anderson, does not know the play or his lines yet.

The understudy, Nathan Peterman, has no arm — and has been the phantom in this opera since he was drafted — an illusion of overworked imaginations that have come to haunt this team and city.

It’s tough to see how McDermott and Beane could have orchestrated this much worse. Allen has been left hanging more than the stagehand in the original "Phantom" story.

Spectators in the front row or the cheap seats have seen this tragedy before, and were hoping after last year’s surprise gala performance to get into the playoffs, that we would have rid ourselves of the ghosts and bugaboos of years past.

But the (soap) opera continues and likely will even after Anderson lines up as the starter this week against the Colts.

Allen’s funny bone injury could cost him from missing a few games to never fully healing, according to the wildly erratic projections of armchair doctors and pundits, as well as the legit ones.

The UCL sprain, which is actually a slight tear of the ligament, is a tricky injury, especially for a young flame thrower, which is his major asset.

The injury unfortunately happened on not only one but two late hits — neither of which were called in a season full of lame roughing the passer penalties — and shortly after Allen had finally hit Kelvin Benjamin on not one, but two long passes and terrific catches.

One was called back because fullback Patrick DiMarco was unconscionably split wide, and somehow forgot the rules about being on or behind the line of scrimmage. It’s understandable, I guess, for DiMarco to forget something like that since he learned it in sixth grade.

We are already trying to forget the gloomy prospects and nightmarish images of Tommy John surgeries, and expect Allen to be back in the starring role on the big stage in a month, after the intermission.

But it’s impossible to not seriously question how we even got to this farce.

Myself and many Bills fans believed that Peterman should not even be in the league, let alone the lineup, and surely not in the discussion to start this week. And yet here we are in this theater of the absurd.

How is the process supposed to be trusted when we are being asked to not trust our own eyes, and our entire history of watching football?

The comedy of errors in this bizarre QB controversy is no laughing matter. McDermott is proving himself to be a high wizard and conjurer of defense, and yet beclowning himself when it comes to offense.

It is almost unfathomable. We have seen this dance before. And it is time that McDermott faces the music about his phantom, Peterman, who has somehow hornswoggled McDermott of his wizardry against all logic and statistics.

But it is a con job. Peterman cannot do the things that McDermott clearly believes that he can.

The "Phantom of the Opera" is a great book and historic play, with awesome sets and unforgettable music. But if you think about it for one second, the Phantom is a con artist, and just plain bad guy, even if he is a disfigured, tragic musical genius. We feel for him but probably shouldn’t.

Peterman is an undeniably great guy. He is just a physically limited, tragic player in this painful drama, who doesn’t belong in the starring role, starting role, or any role for that matter.

The Bills head coach, GM and OC need to get him off the stage. Posthaste.

The Fandom of this Opera is about to boo him, and maybe them, off of it.

Pete Rosen is a screenwriter in Los Angeles, lifetime Buffalo fan, and may be found blathering daily at

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