BillsMafia, a term that has become synonymous with the fans of the Buffalo Bills since it was coined in back in 2010.
Our fanbase is known for being diehard, loud, charitable and for the obligatory table jumping. BillsMafia means family, yet some of the Bills most ardent fans are from the distant cousin branch of the family, our international fans. I recently talked about the Bills, and being an international fan living in Europe with our friend Trevor, and it was a wonderful experience.
Trevor counts himself as BillsMafia and a rabid fan of the Buffalo Bills that happens to live in Ireland. Not only does he have a Youtube channel devoted to discussing the Bills, seasonal games and more; he also coined the #IrishBillsMafia hashtag.
Trevor was first introduced to American football in the 90s through his cousins living abroad, football magazines and the occasional game on television though his Bills fandom did not start or solidify until much later.
The infamous 13 Seconds playoff game cemented Trevor as a Bills fan. “I liked the Bills and followed them, but that playoff game…13 seconds…made me a true Bills fan. They gave everything on the field and was a true chess match of a game. It was the greatest game I have watched.”
Seeing his beloved, local Gaelic Football team lose time and time again in the title match, much like the 90s Super Bowl Era Bills, made Trevor appreciate and identify with the Bills even more.
He was first intrigued by American football after seeing a game broadcast in Ireland and the ” crash, boom, bang” aspect of the game, though it took months of watching, listening to podcasters, like Joe Marino, and interacting with American Bills fans on Twitter for his understanding of the game and the Buffalo Bills to evolve.
“I really got to appreciate how it is a chess match between two teams. The back and forth… the different routes a WR runs. Trevor said, “Following the Bills and seeing how they give it all on the field made me an even bigger fan.”
While he appreciates all the positional groups, Trevor’s, like most American fans favorite position to watch is QB. Which makes it no surprise that Josh Allen is his favorite player. “Josh Allen is my favorite because he is Josh Allen!” Trevor says, while managing to convey all the exciting aspects of Josh’s game with that one simple sentence.
His family and friends support his Bills fandom, despite not taking part in it or even understanding it as it isn’t the biggest sports draw in Ireland. American football isn’t regularly televised in Ireland, is more popular in England and Germany, and tends to take place very late at night or very early due to the time difference.
Trevor stills finds ways to enjoy and watch the Bills games as he subscribes to the NFL channels and at worst will put off watching the game or getting details on its outcome until he can watch it on NFL RedZone. As a proud Bills fan, Trevor wears his Bills gear out and about in his daily life and while he may get an odd look or two, he represents BillsMafia fiercely.
“Once you pick a team to support, you support them no matter what. Highs, lows, Super Bowl win or not I will be a Bills fan.”
Though Trevor is optimistic that interest in American football and especially the Bills is growing and will continue to do so. Despite the time and cultural differences, Trevor has become and remains a diehard Bills fan.
BillsMafia tends to put more stick in the fandom of those from WNY, those that inherited their fandom and those that were here through the Super Bowl losses and drought until now, but international fans like Trevor show that BillsMafia is worldwide.
You may be new to football, you may be new to the BillsMafia but every bit of passion, living and dying with the team makes our international fans just as important and integral to our fanbase as the American born ones. The more I talk to our international fans and see how devoted to to the team as we are I can’t help but feel like I’m in the huddle with Josh Allen, ready to run through walls to support the team.
One of Trevor’s dreams is to come to Rich/The Ralph/Highmark Stadium and experience tailgating and watching a live game with the rest of BillsMafia. As loud and crazy as the MNF home opener against Tennessee came over his television, Trevor thinks it will be louder and more electric in person. I for one, hope he gets that chance. Go Bills!
Editor’s babble: Here here, let’s get Trevor to Buffalo and show him exactly what it’s like on game day at the stadium. This must happen and the journey be recorded or at least reported here for posterity. Many thanks to Christopher Sampson for this important contribution to our blog. International fans are special, and those of us oldies and younguns from WNY should appreciate and revel in the realization that BillsMafia really is a global phenomenon. You can also find Chris on Twitter @@trev76_irish! Give him a follow!