Welcome to Day 3 of our Celebrity Blog Series!
As you all know, Bills fans are everywhere. In all areas of the world and in all segments of society.
A few months ago, we came up with the idea of asking some of the more well known fans in the media and Twittersphere if they’d be interested in contributing a guest column for BillsMafia.com to help kick off the 2012 season. The topic could be whatever they chose to write on. The team’s outlook, the team’s history, their thoughts on the Bills Mafia movement… anything really. One contributor will even be sharing his Fantasy Football tips.
Wait, “one contributor?” What’s that supposed to mean? Well, we’re going to have some fun with it and wait until the article is actually posted to reveal who that day’s writer is.
Alissa Chandler, wife of Bills TE Scott Chandler isn’t quite your typical “fan” — she has a very specific, vested interest in the team! Today, she shares her story on what brought them to Buffalo and her thoughts on the Bills Mafia.
Our journey to Buffalo began in November, 2010. We had just been cut by the Dallas Cowboys, and I was in Indiana visiting family when I got a call from Scott saying he had just been picked up by Buffalo. My first thought was, “who does Buffalo already have at the tight end position?” and secondly, “I think I need a new winter coat.”
Scott immediately left for Buffalo while I stayed back to square things away in Texas. We caught the tail end of Buffalo’s season, so I was able to visit for two weeks right before Christmas. I was cooped up in a hotel room with my 16 month-old daughter, suffering from morning sickness. It had been snowing for days on end. Still, I was incredibly excited at the thought of seeing my husband play again.
That offseason was pretty unpredictable, however. We were amidst a lockout and had no idea when it would end. It was nice to have some extra time back in Iowa, visiting my family, but I was nonetheless delighted when the lockout ended. With the lockout over, Scott could focus on securing a position on the Bills roster.
During training camp, I looked forward to calls from Scott. He had an excitement in his voice that I hadn’t heard before. He was getting actual playing time, and this made football fun for him in a way he had missed for some time.
Despite the stress of finding a place to live and being days out from delivering our second baby, I was excited for the season to begin and I was ready to make Buffalo home.
When the Bills began their regular season on the road at Kansas City, I was watching the game at home, giddy at the thought of Scott getting his first NFL start. It was September 11th, and the day was already emotional before the game started. I was so proud to see his face during the starting line up. So much so that I probably paused and rewound the starting line up half a dozen times so our daughter Lyla and I could giggle every time they announced his name on television. Scott ended that game with five catches for 63 yards. He had scored two touchdowns.
It’s a good thing I was alone while watching that game, because people probably would have thought I was nuts. I’m a very emotional fan when it comes to sports in the first place, but seeing your husband making plays. That’s quite another kind of emotion.
After his first touchdown with the Bills, I jumped up and down screaming out of absolute elation. After his second, I sat on the couch and cried tears of joy for a solid five minutes. Our journey to this point had a lot more downs than ups. We knew that our time in the NFL was never guaranteed, and prior to coming to Buffalo, Scott and I had a running joke that he had been fired four times in five years. While we were grateful for every experience we had up until this point, we both knew that Scott had the ability to excel. Up until this point, we had just been waiting for an organization to give him a chance.
There were a few times where we thought that this chapter of our lives was going to be over, but the Lord kept opening doors, and teams kept calling. Now that I look back, I am so grateful that the Lord humbled us so many times those first four years in the NFL. Years of rejection made that specific September 11 afternoon so much sweeter.
Following that game and throughout the season, Scott went from having twelve Twitter followers to ten thousand. I was new to Twitter, but I was overwhelmed by the support that Scott was getting. Being the proud wife that I am, I loved reading all the wonderful tweets. Eventually, I started noticing tweets with the #billsmafia hashtag. As I paid closer attention, I soon realized that of the three teams we had been with thus far, I had never experienced a fan following like this. The outpouring of support from these fans made me so proud to be a part of this team. These tweets were so uplifting every week to both Scott and me.
Not only did the Bills Mafia embrace Scott, they embraced me as part of of the Bills family. They tweeted me sweet messages about my kids, where to find the best steak in town, or just to wish me a happy birthday. I don’t know any of these fans personally, but I think of them all as friends of the Chandlers. I love going to games and meeting news fans every week. You all have helped bring back a joy to this game again and for that I am forever grateful.
Game days at The Ralph are so different than any of the other stadium experiences I have had in the NFL. There is an electricity in the air that extends out miles past the parking lot. The stadium atmosphere reminds me of what game days felt like in Iowa City when I was in college and Scott played for the Iowa Hawkeyes. The fans are unequivocally there to cheer on the Bills. Win or lose, they are there to support their team, and they walk into the stadium with absolute confidence that — no matter who these Bills are up against — that they can win. On top of it all, the fans are incredibly inviting.
Scott and I love everything about being in Buffalo. The area reminds me of parts of the Midwest that I love, so luckily for Scott, I don’t get homesick while I’m here. The people are genuine and don’t seemed to be consumed with the world around them. We have met some incredible people these past few seasons.
We both feel incredibly blessed by Buddy Nix for taking a chance on a tight end with not much ink on his resume. We are so incredibly humbled by the support we receive from our family, friends, and of course you amazing fans. I look forward to creating many more memories at the Ralph and I have high hopes that we will be playing on into February this season. I will close with words that I repeat in my prayers often. “Thank you Lord for bringing us to Buffalo!”
10 things you may (or may not) want to know about Scott Chandler
1) After we had been dating 2 months, Scott wrote me a song and sang it for me on Valentines Day.
2) In college it wasn’t uncommon for Scott to sit down with a dozen donuts and a gallon of milk in one sitting.
3) The first time he told me he loved me, I had to break it to him that he had already told me months prior, while drugged up on morphine after a knee scope.
4) Scott dressed up as Cookie Monster this past Halloween just to make his daughters happy.
5) Scott has had his teeth knocked out 7 different times.
6) Scott is extremely claustrophobic.
7) When our oldest Lyla was months old she vomited in Scott’s mouth after he leaned in for a kiss,and then he proceeded to vomit in the toilet out of complete disgust.
8) He longs to play in the US Open (keep on dreaming, hunny)
9) Scott won a singing competition on a cruise ship and performed Friends in Low Places by Garth Brook in front of everyone on the ship.
10) Scott is not the only Buffalo Bill in his family. His older brother Nathan was an undrafted free agent for the Bills right out of college.
Quick note from Del: You may notice, unlike the previous two posts in this series, that it hasn’t been posted under my site account. It’s posted under an account belonging to Alissa. This is because she’s agreed to contribute here at BillsMafia.com throughout the season! So look for more of her insights in the weeks ahead!