Welcome to Week 17’s Mafia Monday. We complete a three-part series, interviewing each of the remaining “OG’s” to complete the regular season. First up was @mrdeadlier, then @bre_88, and now we finish up with @leslieanne94.
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?
I was raised a Bills fan. It’s in my blood. My current level of passion for the team, however, is a direct result of the influence of my husband, @tobywille. He’s the biggest Bills fan I know, a true die hard!
One of my earliest memories is of meeting Leonard smith when I was about 8 or 9 years old. It was a brief meeting, but he took the time to sign an autograph and take a picture with me, and it made a lasting impression! It was the first time I had ever met a player.
I also have memories of the Super Bowl games. Though I was too young to truly understand the significance or the games themselves, I remember the “Super Bowl parties” and the passion displayed by my parents and their friends. I also remember the incredible disappointment following each one. I hope to have that experience again now that I can truly appreciate it….minus the disappointment, of course!
What is your favorite Bills memory?
Personally, my favorite Bills memory is not one directly associated with the team, but with my wedding. My husband and I actually planned our entire wedding in Buffalo, despite living in Fredonia, just so we could take pictures at the Ralph! The next day, we woke up and went to the home opener on September 20, 2009 against Tampa Bay. My bridesmaids had convinced me to wear my veil to the game…it was shown on the scoreboard and tv broadcast! Buffalo won that game 33-20…it was the perfect way to spend our first day as newlyweds!
What was the first Bills game you attended? Most memorable?
The first game I attended was with a group of my sorority sisters in December 1999. In total honesty, I don’t remember who the opponent was, or whether they won or lost. What I do remember: The bleachers in the end zone are cold. Very, very cold. It was snowing – a LOT. Doug Flutie was starting and upon entering the gates we were given what appeared to be a life sized poster of him….which one of my sisters proceeded to hold over her head through most of the game while professing her love for him. I may not remember what happened on the field that day, but the experience is one I’ll never forget, and from that day forward I was hooked. A year and a half later I had season tickets.
The most memorable….now that’s tough. There’s the home opener in 2003 when Buffalo beat the Patriots 31-0. I think I fell in love with Lawyer Milloy a little bit that day. I remember well the feeling I had leaving the stadium that day, head held high….I felt it again this year when the Bills beat the Patriots at home. Total, overwhelming pride filled my eyes with tears. Yes, I admit it, I teared up a little. What Bills fan didn’t?
Another memorable moment for me…..I’ll be honest, again I don’t remember who they were playing, or even which season it was, but there was a game when it was snowing HARD all day. You could see the snow swirling around in every possible direction inside the stadium. Snow plows were on the field in between quarters! All of a sudden, the entire crowd spontaneously erupted in a chorus of “Let It Snow.” 70,000 fans singing in unison just before Christmas – it still sends shivers down my spine. I remember thinking, now that’s Buffalo football!
Of course, I can’t talk about most memorable games without mentioning the Eagles game, October 9th this year. It was an amazing experience and an honor to be able to meet so many #billsmafia members, and I pledge to do it bigger and better next season!
Do you own any Bills jerseys, and if so what ones?
I currently rep the Bills wearing a throwback #13 with a #billsmafia patch proudly hand stitched on. I have another navy Johnson jersey, autographed. Somewhere in my closet you’ll find several Schobel’s, a Posluszny, Spikes, Milloy and Bledsoe. What you definitely WON’T find: a pink or other pastel colored jersey (don’t recall that being one of the team colors.) or an away white; a white jersey won’t stay white for long in my possession!
Favorite current Bill?
Stevie Johnson. He’s all heart. He wears his heart on his sleeve and truly loves this city and the fans. He is who he is and has never tried to be anything different. Love him or hate him, he’s 100% real, and I respect that. He’s worked hard and fought his way from a “nobody” to a household name and the integral part of this team that he is now. That said, I love this team right now. I don’t mean “the Buffalo Bills,” I mean this particular Bills team. Guys like David Nelson, Nick Barnett, George Wilson, AJ Williams….I’m proud to say this team is comprised of a core group of classy, stand up gentlemen. They’re humble, down to Earth, and true to themselves, and I hope it stays that way!
Favorite former Bill?
This is a no brainer for anyone who knows me; Aaron Schobel. It was love at first play. I remember watching him in his first season, and wore #94 every Sunday for a long time! I even ordered a new one this year. I literally almost cried when he retired. No joke.
What is your favorite team to watch lose to the Bills?
The Patriots. No contest. I hate them so very, very much.
Best tailgate food?
Corn on the cob cooked on a grill.
Lastly, what does “Bills Mafia” mean to you?
What can I say here that hasn’t already been said? It’s very difficult to put into words, as for me it’s more about a feeling….
Bills Mafia has enriched my life in so many ways. It’s afforded me the opportunity to meet and get to know so many people that I otherwise never would have known. It’s turned a less than perfect 6-10 season into my favorite season yet. It doubles as a support group for us die hards; fair weather fans need not apply! Above all, it truly has become a second family, one that I am incredibly privileged to be a part of! A sincere thank you to the members of #billsmafia; it’s you, not us, that truly make it what it is!