The Bills fan is a unique breed of sports fan. If you live in Western New York, you almost don’t have any real choice on whether you’ll be one. You’ll just be one. It kind of just happens that way. Exceptions do exist.
Buffalo, or Amherst rather, a suburb of Buffalo, is where I consider as my hometown. But I’d only lived in Amherst for some part of my life. The biggest part of my life this is, but all the same, I’d only moved there when I was in the 7th grade, and I’m now 26, and had moved out of state when I turned 26, and so, it wasn’t all that much time that I had lived there, I’d guess. Formative years though, that’s what was spent there so, it seems like a long time. But anyway, back to the Bills. All of that’s relevant.
When I first moved to Buffalo (Amherst), one thing immediately obvious to me was that the Bills are huge deal in Western New York. I remember seeing Flutie Flakes in a grocery store. Corn flakes basically, but just that’s named after a former Bills quarterback named Doug Flutie. Struck my notice. I was a Rams fan I guess. I’d moved from Missouri. And so anyway, maybe it was just teen rebellion, but whatever it was that motivated me to do this, I’d wrote “Bills suck” on all my binders and school folders. This didn’t go over well with the locals, as I’d quickly find out. My science teacher even, she scolded me for it and in front of my entire full class. She was pissed. You don’t diss the Bills in Buffalo. So she’d say, it was the word “suck” that was the problem, and she’d liken this to a curse word, but really, I knew all full well it was the word “Bills,” attached with the word “suck” that had pissed her off. She’s a Bills fan. And a vocal Bills fan at that.
So, maybe you’d think the experience of this happening would have bolstered my own Bills antagonisms in Buffalo, right? Well, at first, maybe it had. But with the years that followed, things would change, and not so coincidentally, would change as I’d grow more and more attached with the community. The Bills mean a whole lot to Buffalo.
Some Bills fans are pretty wild. And some Bills fans aren’t so much. Not all Bills fans are the same. But no fans though, are quite the same as Bills fans. And perhaps the same can be said for any fans, but even so, in the case of Bills fans, Bills fans seem as most unique. I’m biased to this, of course, but I do believe it to be true. I won’t say I billieve it to be true, but I will say I believe it to be true.
Few other teams even compare with Bills in terms of one specific uniquity that I see in Bills fans. This uniquity that I speak of is the incredible sense of identity that fans find in themselves through way of this football team.
If the New York Giants were to tomorrow no longer exist, for whatever passingly conceivable line of hypothetical reasons, New Yorkers, and Giants fans specifically, would be beyond crushed I’m sure, but they’d move on from it. Maybe cheer for the Jets? Maybe not. Maybe cheer for the next team that’d surely take its place within no time at all? Probably. Find other things in New York City that are of enough significance to fill its void in that meantime? Definitely. A city like Buffalo is lucky to even have an NFL franchise. Extraordinarily lucky. Buffalonians know this all too well. Really, all too well, so well, it can be blinding.
Do the Bills circle the wagons, or is it their fans that circle the wagons? Is this a worthwhile question? I think yes, and I think the answer is the latter.
But why dig into that messy topic, right? Right. So instead, here’s just some of my own top fav observations on the good old Buffalo Bills.
The Bills fan comprises more than a few cult figures. All teams’ fans comprise at least a few cult figures. Here are some of the Buffalo Bills cult figures.
As a mainstay at The Ralph for many years, Bills Elvis is kind of a legend. His white guitar displays a new message painted with each game he attends.
Gruesome twosome. A dynamic duo. Been seeing them dancing, ‘turning spoons’ for many years now.
Buffalo Bills Hogan
Somewhat recent, but he’s made some big strides. Enough at least to make me recognize him.
The Buffalo Bills Teletubby
I see his magical chest screen show up pretty much everywhere. He’s the quintessential Bills fan.
I’ve seen a lot of strange tattoos on Bills fans; a testament to just how much this team truly does mean to the people of Western New York.
Ralph C Wilson Jr
Founder and all-time owner of the Buffalo Bills, the late Ralph C. Wilson Jr is a pretty big deal and for obvious reasons.
Yeah, pretty much everyone loves Jim Kelly. Especially this guy I guess.
Double action, both Kelly and Wilson…
He’s arguably the best player to ever put on a Bills uniform. The Juice was mad good. He also did something else though but I can’t remember what that was.
No longer on the team. But hey, it’s just a tattoo, why so serious?
The buffalo is the Bills’ logo and mascot afterall. Symbolic of the team, and the city, and our people. Me they call Red Chief.
Lots and lots of buffalos
Both modern buffalos…
and classic buffalos.
A buffalo is a buffalo is a buffalo is a buffalo.
“buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo”
Zubaz…even Zubaz (smh)
Probably because Zubaz is the glory days. I’ll tell you what, when that class of Bills players was inducted into the hall of fame, which had happened for a few of them individually over the course of the past few years, instead of the gold jackets they received, they should have been given Zubaz jackets. Special editions. Just because. “Gold jacket, green jacket, who gives a shit?”
Even Buffalo’s very own Vincent Gallo is enshrined in ink. Though he’s not a Bill.
Just more testament to the kind of pride that’s in Buffalo pride.
Revered and Legendary Tailgates
If there’s one thing the Bills have always succeeded at, it’s hosting outstandingly good tailgates for it’s fans. Although its own lenient policies has much to do with this (some stadiums don’t even compare), it’s the fans themselves that make it be so amazing and just so downright awesome to be there. It really is a special experience. It’s very top-heavy in one very specific aspect however, which is the alcohol. It is what it is. And what it is, is not good for children. But for responsible adults, and less-than-responsible adults, as well, it can be worthwhile. And there’s more to it of course than just getting sloshed. Great food, fun games, good conversation, and most of all the people. You go there to be with your friends. Buffalo’s earned and maintained a strong reputation, and that’s accepted as far as nationwide, and it’s for its tailgates. And for circling the wagons too of course. Just ask Boomer. See, I told you.
Ken “Pinto Ron” Johnson
He’s pretty famous for this particular hobby in which he reigns supreme. In terms of asphalt cuisine, Pinto Ron is very tough to beat.
Utility Belt Man
Wish that I had a picture to show you, but until I do find one, your imagination will have to suffice. He donnes a uniform of sorts though, if this’ll help… his game day attire consists in some parts: a white beater, jeans, Timberland boots, a yellow hard hat, and a special utility belt, with which he uses to harness about, um, 15 or so cans of beer.
The man is wild. Thoroughbred wild. The persona of Stadium Dave is that of the essence of The Ralph itself. Few others have gone as hard as Stadium Dave, and Stadium Dave brings it pre-set to full gear on every Sunday. He’s also a master jello maker I might add.
Truly far too many to list. The names I’ve mentioned are of those I know of firsthand; those who’ve I’ve experienced for my own on the lots of Ralph Wilson Stadium. But those are some huge parking lots at Ralph Wilson, and there’s a lot people on them… enjoy some pics.
^ not tailgating… but that sign though might be extremely accurate.
Notorious in-stadium Injuries
apparently did not die.
Yeah. And there’s been others. Many, many more others. I’ve seen people climbing on all sorts of things they should never be climbing. But thanks to a small army of men and women in fluorescent yellow-green jackets, injuries at The Ralph are kept to relative minimum.
Sometimes for this small army though, unique actions must be taken. Fans can and do get rowdy.
Candid Interviews, of Immortal Significance
The one and only “Mark Miller”