Merry Christmas BillsMafia, Wyoming officially gifts you your franchise QB

Photo from WyoSports.com.

As a native Western New Yorker embedded for three decades in Wyoming, it came as a complete shock to me when the Buffalo Bills drafted the pride of our beloved state with the seventh pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. While most analytics folks were singing the praises of his draft peer, Josh Rosen, I was watching the quarterbacks from that class with my homer eyeballs all over Josh Allen and wondering which team would snag this very special person.

Because first and most of all, Josh Allen is a very special person.

His football career is only one facet of ‘The Josh Allen Experience’. His journey to the NFL reminds me of a singular version of Remember The Titans. A player who scraped and clawed to blow open a door that 998 colleges rejected and well, you know the storyline behind the movie (unless you live under a rock, which I do, so much respect if you never watched the move and are a football fan).

Photo from review-journal.com.

But… the real question for me was about finding out what makes this young man so mentally resilient and driven. I remember Josh Allen’s first couple of games at Wyoming before he suffered an AC separation like they were yesterday. Fast forward six years later and it’s pretty amazing.

However, none of Allen’s accomplishments surprise me in the least. I recall around the time of the 2018 NFL Draft thinking Baker Mayfield would be the safest choice… but in my heart of hearts I secretly hoped ‘Big Baller Beane’ and the coaching staff saw the same thing I did in terms of Allen’s strong mental foundation.

Have a look at this video and listen to what Josh Allen says about entering the NFL draft after winning the Potato Bowl against Central Michigan in December, 2017.

Sound familiar, BillsMafia?

What so many critics missed about Josh Allen has nothing to do with x’s and o’s. Someday I’ll go into more detail about how that all unfolded in my mind as I watched Allen go from an awkward clown-footed rocket-armed quarterback to the toast of the NFL. The fates were about to explode.

The fact that it was the University of Wyoming opening the door to a skinnier, shorter quarterback with a rocket arm and no shortage of confidence frankly caused spontaneous combustion in my life. Truly a twist I never expected.

I’m a native Western New Yorker who moved to a place about 25 miles northwest of Buffalo, Wyoming almost 30 years ago, during the Super Bowl years.

I epitomize our heritage as a bleeding, diehard Buffalo Bills fan from Western New York. But also… the last half of my life has been about putting down roots in this place that is Wyoming and has grown to become an equal part of my beating heart. And yes, if you do math that means I’m old.

Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming, my home for the last 30 years. Photo from bighornmountains.com.

The people of Wyoming and Western New York have a lot more in common than many may realize. Wyoming is also a misunderstood place. In the middle of ‘flyover’ country with only one university in the entire state, the University of Wyoming’s football program history resembled the University at Buffalo’s in a lot of ways… some glory years interspersed with a whole lotta purgatory.

So when the Bills actually announced their selection of Josh Allen during the 2018 draft, I honestly didn’t believe my ears. I was certain they were going to select Josh Rosen because analytics folks were slobbering all over him singing his praises. When the surname Allen actually came ripping out of Roger Goodell’s mouth I literally stared at the television and thought I was hallucinating.

Could this really be true?

While sadly some fans who did not want the Bills to draft Josh Allen actually booed in the field house at the announcement, here is what we were doing in Wyoming…

I’ve waited three years to write these words… Josh Allen is a star quarterback. He is mature beyond his 24 years and has the mental resilience to face down all the previous harpies with grace. He learned how to do things the right way from his family… who obviously instilled him with a wisdom beyond his years, and despite being in stark contrast to the pre-pubescent beard he sports for giggles.

Oh, and I’ll leave you to your Christmas celebrations with one more thought.

The best is yet to come.

Merry Christmas, BillsMafia <3. Wyoming is proud to gift you the franchise quarterback you (and I) have been waiting for. Huzzah.

Editor’s babble: Wishing you and yours a safe, healthy and happy holiday season. You can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BuffaloFAMbase.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynMundyWYO.

37 Replies to “Merry Christmas BillsMafia, Wyoming officially gifts you your franchise QB”

  1. Great read. And yes: I was also surprised that Josh Allen got the pick over Josh Rosen in the draft. And yes: I was skeptical at first, too. I’m far away, living as a German in Germany, but have been a Bills fan since the mid-80s. So it wasn’t and isn’t always easy to have all the information necessary to make a fair assessment.

    But very quickly it became clear what this kid was made of. The upward trend could not be overlooked, the speed was impressive. With the right people in the office, it’s now the fantastic mix of players that finally make a BILLS fan like me laugh and be proud again.

    And: you can finally have hope for something more. This is just a really good feeling.
    In this respect: Thank you Wyoming for this great gift.

    Western New York and Wyoming – both of which I know a little bit and appreciate very much during my several stays in the USA – will be able to celebrate again. If not today, then tomorrow. And together.

    #GoBills #WhyNotBuffalo

  2. Thanks for seeing the special stuff Josh Allen is made of. We traveled through Buffalo, wy and everyone knew Josh Allen. You are right wyoming has that WNY feeling. We promised ourselves we need to go back.

    • It’s such a treat for me that I spent half my life growing up outside Buffalo, NY only to end up spending the rest of my life outside Buffalo, WYO. It’s like life came full circle and it was meant to be. So when the Bills drafted Josh Allen, you can imagine what that did to my brain… lol. Thanks so much for your commentary. Happy Holidays and Go Bills!!!

  3. What a great story about a true Cowboy, Josh Allen. We all love him. UW alumni and football fan, Shirley Nordquist

  4. I’m a Wyom8ng native and I love that your from New York but live here. We are all so happy and proud of Josh Allen. Even though he is not from Wyoming we claim him as our own! I am now a die hard Bills fan.
    Keep up the good work

    • Haha… you would understand what it took for us to be accepted in WYO 30 years ago. My husband is from rural Eastern Oregon and I came from a rural town in WNY. Our careers took us to the big cities and when we finally had enough… our goal was always to retire here. We ended up working here for about ten years and the rotten health care system took the life out of us and we hung it up. No regrets. I can’t explain my split life because WNY will always be my native land, but Wyoming called to me the first time I drove through here in the early 1980s. Thank you so much for your comments. I enjoy them very much :) Happy Holidays and Go Bills!

  5. I’ve been a wyoming cowboy fan all my life I bleed brown and gold. I remember going to bed with a transister radio to my ear listening to cowboy football when they played Arizona State when it was the WAC or listening to cowboy basketball when Flynn Robinson played in the old field house.There’s been good years and bad but I’m still listening to game’s. Proud of my Cowboys

  6. Very nice article Robyn. Thank you. I’m also a transplanted Bills fan living in Md now for 15 years. Starting to feel a little like the bright years again!

    • Nice article and so true! Josh being from a farming family learned great work ethic early on. He’s a true team player, playing in a bowl game with his team, one in which he could have “opted out”.

      Love him, our coach, UW, and the Cowboy State. God Bless and keep you Josh Allen.

      I too have a connection to the Buffalo Bills via playing high school football with Jim Ritcher, Bills’ Ring of Famer and with his brother Bob and other family ties via our Dads. Jim was an Outland Trophy winner.

      Thanks for speaking highly of Josh and Wyoming.

      Bill
      UW Class of 1977 College of Engineering and member/supporter of Cowboys in Colorado.

  7. I have never been more happy to be wrong, Robyn. Like some others, I was hoping for Josh Rosen – but you have the eye for intangibles like Allen was born with. I missed all that, which is why I should stick to baseball. 🙃

    Awesome article! Go Bills!

  8. What a great article on Josh and Wyoming. Appreciate all the good things you said of our state and how much we love Josh. Buffalo Bills gained pretty much most our whole state of new fans. Course I knew he’d have to adjust to NFL, but the whole team has improved immensely under the recent management. Go Bills!
    I pass though Buffalo often going over the Big Horns Mtns. Great place to live.

  9. Robyn. Enjoyed the article. Many of us Pokes fans have been following Josh since he became a Cowboy. We scheme about making a trip to Orchard Park for a fall game sometime. We also muse about a Wyoming chapter of the Bill’s mafia. Any thoughts about how to pull that together. Go Pokes/Go Bills.

    • Bless you for this comment. When I moved here 30 years ago, I won a contest for the being the Best Bills Fan in Wyoming. Truth be told I was the only bleeding heart Bills fan here. To see Josh bring these two aspects of my life together is truly magical. I would be honored to help in any way I can to get a Bills Backer Chapter together for Wyoming. Let’s make this happen!!!

      • Bills mafia + poke nation = one helluva party!! See the infamous beer snake homecoming game in laramie last year vs new mexico! It resulted in a guinness book of world records for most empty beer cups stacked inside one another. Then wyoming went to the arizona bowl last year and the bowl officialls were ecstatic to have wyoming. Reason being is that even though only 5000 wyo fans will attend they know that 4500 of those fans will each purchase about 10 beers a piece. And then theres byu and their fans. lol, just kidding (Have to have lived in wyoming in the 70s 80s and 90’s to know the wyo vs byu rilvary. Bordering states that seem like worlds apart culturally and phillisophically) Go pokes, go bills!!

    • Nice article and so true! Josh being from a farming family learned great work ethic early on. He’s a true team player, playing in a bowl game with his team, one in which he could have “opted out”.

      Love him, our coach, UW, and the Cowboy State. God Bless and keep you Josh Allen.

      I too have a connection to the Buffalo Bills via playing high school football with Jim Ritcher, Bills’ Ring of Famer and with his brother Bob and other family ties via our Dads. Jim was an Outland Trophy winner.

      Thanks for speaking highly of Josh and Wyoming.

      Bill
      UW Class of 1977 College of Engineering and member/supporter of Cowboys in Colorado.

  10. Wow! Kind of tearing up watching them cheer as the Bills picked him. It’s a great time in western NY. It is Allen’s time. He dictates play and I’m so glad the Bills kept their OC because it’s help keep the rebuild ship steady. Bills mafia needs road trip to that region during playoff games if they can’t host tailgates in NY state. Great article three years in the making! I’ve thought what you thought but you put it into writing better lol!

  11. As a die-hard, lifelong Bill’s fan from the South, yes the South, I understand how you feel. I am also a Virginia Tech Hokie fan, and was fortunate enough to watch the great Bruce Smith make us proud! I honestly didn’t know much about Josh Allen when we drafted him, but trusted Beane enough to not panic. Immediately was blown away by his determination and desire to win, but was concerned about decision making and accuracy. Within a year, vast improvements on both!! Testaments on how hard he’s working. I’m extremely impressed and happy for this kid! Let’s go Buffalo!!!!

  12. Loved your article Robyn!
    I grew up in a little town in WNY as well. We (my 15+ cousins) watched the Bills play every Sunday at my Grandma’s house and then went back out to play. I moved to New Hampshire (yes Patriots country) just before our Super Bowl years. It sure is hard being a Bills Fan here, but amazingly enough my two daughters stuck by my side and are also Bills Fans vs Patriots Fans. We have gone to the home opener for the last 6 years (last year I went by myself).
    We proudly wear our Bills attire here, and have been ridiculed, called 4 time losers more times than I can count over the past 20 years, but our loyalty never waivered, occasionally finding a few fellow Bills fans in the sports bars in the area.
    This year watching Josh and team grow and meld into a Family to win the games they are winning make me cry EVERY Sunday! Due to running a football pool here for the last 20 years gained us many football fan friends (not just Pats fans) … and this year SO many of our friends are all cheering for the Bills!! It is just SO sad to me that Bills Mafia cannot show their appreciation of these accomplishments due to the pandemic. I just hope they know how PROUD we all are …. and no matter how many years we didn’t make the playoffs the games are SOLD OUT EVERY SINGLE HOME GAME!
    Tomorrow I am heading down to Foxborough (Gillette Stadium) to go take a selfie in front of the Bills Mafia – Greatest Fans Billboard!!
    In the words of the team “WON NOT DONE” Let’s win big on Monday Night!
    GO BILLS!

  13. My wife and are Buffalo natives who moved to Denver 20 years ago (job related) and miss everything about Buffalo from being at the Bills games, the people, the food and the culture. If you didn’t visit or live in Buffalo, you would not know what I’m talking about. What a great article and great eye opener to the great fan base Josh Allen has following him in his NFL career from Wyoming. I have been a Bills fan since the days at the Rock Pile with Jack Kemp, Darryl Lamonica, and the beginning days with the darling of the league, OJ. Simpson. then on to Rich Stadium with Joe Ferguson, Bobby Chandler then Marc Levy, Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith and I can go on naming others who all became folklore to all Buffalo fans. All have been heroes to all Bills fans over the past 60 plus years. We are so exited for the Bill’s Fan base around the Globe and can see them going all the way. With Josh Allen leading the way with his play on the field with the weapons he has there is no reason why we won’t. We are proud to be Bills fans at a mile high. God Bless Bills Mafia and Go BILLS!!!

  14. I have been a Bills fan since 1960. Yes, I’m old, exactly 86. I have lived I Florida for the past 13 yr. I went to many Billls games at a local Bar until I couldn’t move around the massive crowds we had. Then I got Directv and hunker down every game day with my flying banner lurking outside. When the draft appeared on tv, after watching the QB’s work out, I told my wife, I pray they chose this kid from Wyoming’. They fortunately did and after telling my son…be patient, he’ll come around. He has, and I put on my 17 jersey and watch. Your story inspired me so much, Thank you so much.
    The old guy.
    John

  15. Beautiful article, Robyn. I drove with a friend from Utah back home to Buffalo nonstop a very long time ago. The most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen was in Wyoming. I can see why you live there. Go Bills!

  16. Are you WYOBillsFan (or something like that) from Buffalo Bills message boards back during the Ball Burglar days?

  17. This is a wonderful tribute to a guy who deserves nothing less. Thanks for the glimpse into how people in Wyoming see our guy — he’s made me very proud to be a Bills fan again (I, too, suffered through the Super Bowl years — and the two decades that followed.) Please thank the people of Wyoming for the best gift a Western New York native could ever receive. Go Bills!