Did Buffalo Bills Play Role in Timothy McVeigh's Unraveling?

The Super Bowl losses didn't help the mindset of the 'superfan,' theorizes Sam Anderson
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2018 10:02 AM CDT
Updated Sep 8, 2018 2:12 PM CDT
Did Buffalo Bills Play Role in Timothy McVeigh's Unraveling?
In this April 21, 1995, file photo, Timothy McVeigh is led out of the Noble County Courthouse by state and federal law enforcement officials in Perry, Okla.   (AP Photo/John Gaps III, File)

"I am not saying that Timothy McVeigh bombed Oklahoma City in 1995 because the Buffalo Bills lost four Super Bowls in a row," writes Sam Anderson at Politico. That would be "absurd." But in his lengthy piece, Anderson makes the case that the Bills' misfortune might have at least played a role in McVeigh's mindset leading up to the bombing. It goes like this: McVeigh, who was stuck in a series of dead-end jobs and disillusioned from his time in Iraq as part of Operation Desert Storm, didn't have much going on in his life, but he lived near Buffalo and was a "superfan" of the Bills as they made their Super Bowl runs in the early 1990s. Before the team's third consecutive Super Bowl loss in 1993, McVeigh bet $1,000 he didn't have—and the Bills got blown out.

"It was at this point in his life that Timothy McVeigh gave up on any kind of a normal future," writes Anderson. "He paid off his gambling debt with a cash advance from a credit card—a debt he fully intended never to repay." That's because "the future was no longer relevant to him, no longer something to be planned for." He left New York state, becoming increasingly obsessed with gun rights and "spiraling extremism." Soon, the government siege at Waco left him weeping in front of the TV, bent on revenge. After that third Super Bowl loss, McVeigh had gone "looking for somewhere else to be, something else to do—something bigger, more meaningful, more real," writes Anderson. "Reality had failed him, in so many ways, so he went off to pursue his own fantasy of justice, very far from Buffalo." Read the full story. (Read more Timothy McVeigh stories.)

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