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Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Speed Dial: What if the Bills won it all?


Welcome to the first edition of "Speed Dial," a running feature I've created in which I call three people in my cell phone address book and get their insight on a particular subject.

Today's question, in light of the party that refuses to end in New Orleans, is:

What would happen in Buffalo if the Bills won the Super Bowl?

Former Bills punter and linebacker Paul Maguire:

"If I could get back into the bar business for one day, it would be the day the Bills win the Super Bowl -- and maybe for the week after that. Then I could shut down. Buffalo is a hard-hat town. You give them a reason to celebrate, by God, they're going to celebrate. And they'll show you how.

"You don't ever stop celebrating the Super Bowl. I remember in the 1960s, when we won the AFL championship. I still lived in San Diego, and when I got back to training camp the following summer, they were still celebrating. And that was just the AFL championship. The people in Buffalo, if they ever would have won, my God ... They, above anybody, after being there four times, it would be truly hard to give up and every time you had a drink you'd have one to the Super Bowl champion. I don't think that would ever go away."

Nine-time Pro Bowl guard Ruben Brown, whose rookie season came two years after Buffalo's last Super Bowl appearance:

"Oh, man. The city would shut down for a month. And I'm not joking -- a month. This is the type of place you'd see the repeat of what's going on in New Orleans right now. They're starving. They want it as much as New Orleans wanted it or the people who wanted it for New Orleans. People who root for other teams would want that for Buffalo. The mayor would make a proclamation. All the kids would be out of school. The towns would change the names of the streets to the names of the players.

"The people of Buffalo are hearty people. Not much has gone right for them recently from a financial or economic standpoint. But everyone looks out for each other. It's the type of place that makes you feel like when you walk into your mom's house and smell the food that's on the stove. The only label they put on you is whether you're about family or a hard-working guy. That's all that matters here.

"When I was playing, I met a lot of fans who told me that's all they wanted in life. 'I want to live to see the day when the Bills win the Super Bowl.' Unfortunately, some of them haven't."

Bills Wall of Fame member Steve Tasker, who lost four straight Super Bowls:

"The rapture would run just as deep as in New Orleans. The thing, when you talk about Buffalo or Green Bay or the smaller-market teams that have been around forever, you're talking about every person in that town growing up with that team as their team. It's not the same as cities like New York or Los Angeles. It's you dad's team, your uncle's team, your cousin's team, the teacher's team, the cops, the lawyers, the butcher, baker and candlestick maker. It's a family team."