Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify your emotions through awareness, then harness, and manage them — including cheering up or calming down others — which guide and influence your thinking and behavior.
That’s a sudden death overtime of psychobabble, but also the quintessential experience of being a Bills fan.
It ain’t easy being us.
The term “emotional intelligence” first appeared in 1964, which was also the year the team won its first of only two league championships — 54 and 53 years ago.
Identifying and managing emotions has been a constant chore and burden of Bills fans since, well, since the first time you became one, whenever that was.
It is not the sheer joy of the epic Vikings win, or the utter rage of the Ravens and Colts fiascos, as much as it is the bipolar Bill players, oddball coaches, spasmodic personnel decisions, and public embarrassment from the national media and fans.
We don’t need armchair quarterbacks on Mondays; we need armchair therapists. We need an emotional rescue.
In short, the Indianapolis Colts game last Sunday was horse hockey. We should have known when a 1-5 team was more than a touchdown favorite.
The Derek Anderson Era may have begun and ended in four quarters and turnovers. Shady got concussed on the first series and we had a migraine for the rest of them. Kelvin Benjamin finally showed up in the stats but not the end zone and still seemed invisible.
Literally trotting out KB, Zay-J, A-Holmes and Cam Phillips as wide receivers is disturbing. Ray-Ray McCloud wasn’t even allowed to travel with the team.
The defense was demoralizing. Matt Milano got chewed up. Tre Edmunds’ extraordinary first step was always two behind. The pass rush that bulldozed and hogtied the Texans the previous rodeo in Houston was all hat and no cattle against the Colts.
It’s the emotional intelligence of managing our passions in these regrettable, forgettable games that Bills fans are used to blocking out of our memories. Perhaps our EI must be questioned, if not our football IQ as a whole.
But the larger picture, and bigger worry, is that there is no emotional build-up this week for what should be the biggest, most highly anticipated and fanatical game of the season, Monday Night Football, against the insufferable Patriots.
There doesn’t seem to be a need to identify and control our emotions leading up to MNF because they have all been so dulled recently. The season seems over by week seven. The marquee players and units we really wanted to see in this game and show off to the rest of the country and world are either not playing or not playing well enough.
An eternal optimist, this is the first time I can remember thinking that we have no chance.
But then again, this is just the kind of game when the Bills rise up from the scrap heap and shock the world.
And this is just the time for us, individually and collectively, to become aware of, harness, and manage our emotions — including cheering up and calming down others — to guide and influence our passion for this team, season and game.
The loudest I have ever heard New Era Field was the 2007 MNF game against the Cowboys. The Bills rose up out of nowhere and shocked the NFL world with one of the wildest games in team history. It took an outrageous last-second finish for the Cowboys to win, but the ride was one of the most thrilling and memorable, and a game I was so very proud to be a Bills fan.
So now is the time to refresh your own emotional intelligence — turn rage into roar — and proactively guide your own thinking and behavior, which in turn could influence the team’s on Monday Night.
The Bills and its fans may not shock the world, but at least we can show it what we are made of.