Welcome to Week 13’s Mafia Monday… We lost a heartbreaker yesterday but #BillsMafia is still alive and strong and our interview with @BillsMafiaStash, fresh from the email inbox, is here to prove it.
Mafia Monday is an interactive element where members of the community can get to know each other and build unity by becoming transparent.
How long have you been a Bills Fan, and what’s your earliest Bills memory?
Oddly enough, I became a Bills fan during the 1994 season. I grew up in a non sports household, my siblings and I played sports, but neither of our parents followed professional teams of any kind, and we were just left to make our own decisions. Because of an uncle of mine, I became a Packers fan, around 1990.
During the 1994 season, a neighbor of mine, a lifelong Bills fan, originally from Buffalo, offered to take me to the Packers-Bills game, and from the time I set foot in the parking lot. I was hooked. I fell in love with the team, the fans, the electric atmosphere. It became a tradition, where nearly every year since, I made sure to get to at least one Bills game… In 2007, we began getting season tickets, and have no plans for that to change!
My earliest Bills memory would be watching Superbowl 25 against the Giants, and seeing that kick sail wide right…
What is your favorite Bills memory?
So many to choose from, but I think my favorite would have to be opening day 2004, against Jacksonville. The Bills lost, but it was the very first game I shared with my wife and our oldest daughter, who had just turned 2 a few weeks prior to the game. Watching my little girl scream “DEEEE-FENCE” and wave her arms with the crowd on the final drive was one of the proudest moments of my life.
This season’s game against the Eagles stands near the top of my list, being there in person as my favorite NFL player, Barnett, intercepted 2 Vick passes, taking one of them in for a score. Epic, emotional, almost man-cry inducing!! What can I say, I love this team and the feelings it invoke in me.
What was the first Bills game you attended? Most memorable?
November 20, 1994- Packers at Bills. The most memorable game is tough to narrow down, The Atlanta game in 1995, where Bryce Paup sacked Jeff George 3 times stands out, as does the Patriots game in 96, where the defense held on the final play at the goal line to win it for the Bills.
Do you own any Bills jerseys, and if so what ones?
I have a signed Paup, hanging from the wall in my cellar- I also have a Bruce Smith, as well as a few Poz jerseys, and my favorite current Bill, Nick Barnett.
Favorite current Bill?
ILB #50 Nick Barnett
Favorite former Bill?
I always liked Phil Hansen, Bruce Smith, and Bryce Paup…
What is your favorite team to watch lose to the Bills?
Any of them, but when my 2 older girls screamed “Feel shame, Purple Losers!” at Vikings fans in Oct 2006, it brought a tear to my eye.
Best tailgate food?
I like to keep it simple, I don’t generally get more complicated than spiedies, burgers, and sausages.
Other sports you enjoy following? If so, favorite teams?
Football is my number 1, but I’m also a longtime Boston Bruins and Red Sox fan.
Lastly, what does “Bills Mafia” mean to you?
Bills Mafia, to me, is a term that best describes the long suffering, die hard Bills fan. Bills Mafia are some of the greatest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in my life. People who I plan on knowing, and attending games with, for many years to come. People who prior to this October, many had not ever met each other in person. When the TweetUp was scheduled, it became known one of the founders of Bills Mafia might not be able to make it. In a selfless act, one of our members organized a fundraiser to make sure our brother could be at the Ralph, in person, for his very first game. These are the kind of people that I’m proud to call friends, people that enhance my gameday experience throughout the season. I’m very honored to be given the opportunity for this interview, and I know that there’s countless more like me out there just riding this roller coaster that is the life of a Buffalo Bills fan. That is what Bills Mafia means to me.