I Miss Stevie Johnson

I miss Stevie Johnson. Yes, I said it. I miss the good and the bad: the touchdowns and antics. The under-shirts with encrypted messages, the 15-yard excessive celebration penalties, and the polarizing paradox between excuses and accountability. I miss it all. But more than anything, I miss the fire.

Don’t get me wrong; I love this current Buffalo Bills team. They have, outside of the quarterback position, proven how tremendously talented they are, albeit often raw talent. But something it seems specifically the offense is so clearly lacking (other than points in red-zone trips) is a little extra pulse of fervor. I don’t think it is too wild of an accusation either. Sammy Watkins seemingly agrees. “Once we get that killer instinct…We’ll be a great offense,” said Watkins after the teams’ recent loss in Denver.

The passion and yearning to win is there and evident. Fred Jackson is one of the most dedicated athletes I have ever seen play any sport, let alone football. Watkins is a young hungry soon to be star. The defense cannot even be questioned, as I’m sure 31 other NFL teams and specifically quarterbacks would vehemently admit they posses that “killer instinct.” With the exception of Kyle Orton often dazing into thoughts of regret towards foregoing retirement as he drops back into the pocket, I would argue this team is hungry top to bottom and dedicated to winning. But yet, there is that little something missing.

 That little something is exactly what Stevie Johnson possesses. I loved seeing Aaron Williams publicly bash the referees for their controversial fist bump. Sure, they were just congratulating each other on a correct call. I understand that. But for no one inside the NFL to recognize that a fist bump following a touchdown may look bad from some perspective is baffling, especially considering the hyperactive and knee-jerk tendencies of the league. The only thing I would have loved to see more than William’s reaction was Johnson’s. He had that feeling of being as silly and unprofessional as the rest of us fans. He understood that this is an entertainment business. He knew his role and played it well. Surely he was not perfect. Some of the tweets could have used retracting and celebrations rewinding, but that is what made him great. He bled Buffalo and felt the pain of being a fan. He never played just to cash his check, but cared about the historical context of every loss accumulated. He said the wrong things at the right time and the right things at the wrong time. He was hilariously flawed and would never think of hiding that.  Every overreaction, cuss word and even tears of Buffalo fandom were perfectly mirrored within him. He was just like us (though a few million dollars richer).

I don’t know if the Buffalo Bills would be any better this season with Johnson on the team. I don’t know if he would’ve had the perfect unprofessional response to the ref fist bump as I have imagined. I don’t know if he misses Buffalo in the slightest. But I do know a few things. Stevie Johnson loved being a Buffalo Bill, which is more than what can be said for plenty of athletes preceding and succeeding him. Johnson’s current name on Twitter is ‘Chan Gailey.’ Why, I’m not really sure. But it made me laugh hysterically, show my friends and partially spurred this article. One more thing I know for sure: I miss Stevie Johnson.