What It’s Like to be a Bills Fan

Updated: January 16, 2012
carolyn fred jackson

And without warning, we’re back. We apologize about the unannounced sabbatical, by thing got a little hectic for the editors of this site simultaneously. More on that later, but for now, an impassioned memoir of fanhood that wound up in our inbox, we couldn’t help but share it. Take it away, Carolyn. 

I credit (or blame, depending on your interpretation) my undying affiliation to the Buffalo Bills to being born during their infamous Super Bowl appearances. While I was in my mother’s womb, I probably heard “Buffalo Bills” more than any other word, phrase, or utterance. This resulted in a life sentence as a Billiever from birth. To be a Bills fan is to ride a never ending roller coaster of emotions, but that’s what draws us together as a community. We never know what to expect and most of the time, we are all budding sports analysts and driving announcers crazy. The only thing predictable about our Buffalo Bills is that they are extremely unpredictable. While fans outside of Western New York are oft annoyed by our antics, we have been given no other choice than to love it, flaunt it, and keep going with it. How many fans of other teams can you say would stick by their team through the thick and thin? Especially when things have been thinner here than anywhere else in the NFL, having been shut out of the playoffs longer than anyone? Not many. But us, we have no choice. We’ve learned to take the bad with good by appreciating the little things that other fans take for granted, like beating a divisional opponent for the first time in almost a decade. This allows us to develop truly personal relationships with the players because we are paying attention to each detail of every last play. These guys are making millions upon millions but after each game, they are the come out of the Ralph signing autographs and taking pictures. [See Photo]

SJ13 and Me

For example Stevie Johnson personally gave me two of his custom SJ13 Duecebrand watches straight off of his wrist (which I still haven’t taken off). How many other star wide receivers would do that just to make a fan’s day? I’m not positive but I don’t think many would. Their commitment to Buffalo also comes through in the way the players take pride the fact that they love Buffalo and are dedicated to serving their community. Throughout the year, they are in our neighborhoods mingle with fans, supporting worthy charities, and building relationships with us. Buffalo may not have countless Super Bowl rings{ed’s note: or even one}, but we do have a team made up of sincere, give-you-the-shirt-off-their-own-back-type people.

Steve Johnson's watches he gave me

Each season can bring about many doubts, concerns, and disappointment but the promise of a better future is always on the horizon. Slowly, but surely, we are driven by the hope that we are moving toward a championship team. It’s often a rough road but every true Bills fan can agree that it is filled with extremely enjoyable moments that you wouldn’t trade for anything. If you have ever been to the Ralph, you know the feeling I’m talking about. I was at the Patriots game this year when we recovered from a 21 point deficit and then pulled out a more than deserving win. It was the most moving and electrifying feeling I have ever experienced in my life. There were tens of thousands of people completely unified for three hours in their desire for nothing more than to see Tom Brady face first in the turf, Fitz throwing beautiful passes, and, most importantly, leaping into the endzone. It is individual accomplishments like that game that give me hope that in the upcoming seasons, we will be that team every coach targets as the “team to beat”.

Watching the game from the endzone

It’s games like that one that transcend us from more than a group of fans to a family (a #billsmafia, if you will). We take pride in separating the bandwagoners from the die hards by seeing whose at a game in December when playoff hopes have long been abandoned, and the only ones left are the fans that are truly and undeniably passionate about the buffalo bills. Personally, I gain an extraordinary sense of pride in being able to identify with this group of supporters who would never leave the team even if they never won a game. This lets us know how to handle hardships, but more importantly celebrate the victories.

George WIlson #billsmafia

It’s true what people say; Bills fans are the greatest on the planet. Whenever I go to a game, I stroll around the parking lot and it never ceases to amaze me what happens. Complete strangers at each tailgate will ask you if you want a drink or something to eat simply by virtue of wearing Bills colors. And by offering you something to eat, I’m not talking about your garden variety burgers and hot dogs. Some tailgaters will have them, but only as a compliment to much more sophisticated fare, such as pulled pork, beef on weck, sausage, every variety of dip you could dream up,  and of course, because it wouldn’t be Buffalo without them, wings. To add to the festivies, footballs are being thrown, pong is being played, kan is being jammed, and Shout! Is being sung in a way that makes you wonder how 72,000 people who don’t know each other could put together a party like this. But then again, they aren’t strangers, rather a group of fans unified into one family, everyone looking out for one another and getting hyped up for the coming contest.

I usually watch each game with my whole family, but only my dad and I are die hard fans. We take each loss extremely hard, especially the ones that have gut wrenching ends. Though we endure the toughest of losses, we sure do know how to celebrate. For each yard gained, pass completed, and touchdown acquired, we are screaming and jumping right along with the team. There are no words that could explain the high we experience when those 11 men pull together and play as one.

But then again, I could talk all day about what it’s like to be a Bills fan, and you’d never get the true experience, or how it feels to have your gut twisted by a stomach punching loss, or to be elated like nothing else after a monumental victory. No words could explain the high we experience when the 11 men pull together and play as one. The only way you could truly get the experience is to venture to the Ralph during a crisp autumn afternoon, and live all that I’ve described. And then, a question:

Where else would you rather be than right here, right now?

Always supporting my Bills, every week