The Buffalo Bills have been part of the Western New York community for over 60 years. They're not just an NFL team here, they're a way of life for many Buffalonians.

I've been a Bills fan my whole life, but unfortunately for me, I started watching the Bills at probably the worst age imaginable. My first game was in 1999, but I barely remember anything about going as a nine-year-old (Bills hosted the Patriots).

The first game I vividly remember watching was "Home Run Throwback," also known as the "Music City Miracle" game in the AFC Wild Card game against the Tennessee Titans.

That game started a 17-year playoff drought. Those drought teams are what I and many people my age grew up on.

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My dad and older brother always told me stories about the early '90s Super Bowl teams. Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and Bruce Smith were only named I heard about, but I'm not old enough to remember watching any of them play...I guess if you want to count Bruce Smith in Washington, sure, I saw him play; but at his prime.

My friends and I joke about watching the likes of J.P. Losman and Trent Edwards growing up. I remember Drew Bledsoe and him throwing the ball away on fourth down against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003. I also remember when Losman under-handed an interception on Sunday Night Football against the Patriots in 2004 when he was a rookie.

Remember when Edwards threw three? Four? Interceptions against the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football? I was there. I was also there for the Monday night loss against the Dallas Cowboys in 2007.

Kelly Holcomb, Travis Brown, Brian Brohm, Thad Lewis, E.J. Manuel -- all memories of mine from middle school through early adulthood.

2020 was a special run for fans my age, who literally (and I'm not exaggerating), had never seen a great Bills team in their lifetime. 2019 was even brand new to Bills fans.

The recent struggles for the Bills these last few weeks have brought back bad vibes for Bills fans in general, but there seems to be a more comical, fragile mindset for fans like me, who knew nothing but losing for 17 straight years. It's not because we want to think pessimistically, it's because it's been engrained in us.

I hate the fact my entire childhood, middle school and high school years were wasted watching those Bills teams from 2000-2017. I wish it wasn't. However, those years truly prepared you as a sports fan. Why? Because if you can still be a dedicated Bills fan, who watches every game, and wears the team colors throughout the year, after watching that 17-year run, then your fanhood can never be called into question.

Josh Allen means the world to Bills fans in their 20's and early 30's -- because he's the first Bills quarterback ever that they believe in.

This year has had some downs, but Allen is only 25 years old and knowing he's the quarterback here for years to come is enough to take a deep breath and be content in the team's future, for the first time in my life.

Go Bills.

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