Why Bills Fans Fear Change

Featured Photo Credit: © Jamie Germano / USA TODAY NETWORK via, LLC.

It’s been a minute as they say since I’ve blabbed on the blog. Between gorging myself on anything Dean Kindig writes about the upcoming NFL draft and all the mock drafting going on there’s been less time to focus on what’s happening within the psyche of the fan base. Because you know that’s exactly where I reside… in the belly of the beast.

Being a Buffalo Bills fan in Wyoming is a vastly different experience from when we moved here 31 years ago. I was literally one of MAYBE a handful of Bills fans. Fast forward to the ‘Josh Allen Era’ and it’s like being a celebrity of sorts.

This is still the land of the horse heads (Broncos)… with a temporary pause to become Bills fans as long as Josh Allen is the QB. People wear Josh Allen Wyoming Cowboys jerseys here and the occasional Buffalo Bills #17 shows up every now and then. That’s about as far as the wyos will go, but it’s still surreal for me.

To go from being ridiculed to being stopped every where I go with a “Go Bills”, or conversation about what’s going to get the Bills over the hump is like being in an alternate existence. So much has changed here since Buffalo drafted Josh Allen. It boggles my mind, something that’s become easier to do as of late.

Which brings me to share some observations gleaned from social media over the past few months.

Aside from the heart breaking divisiveness we are experiencing as a society at this moment, Bills fans are getting a dose of reality regarding the thorny issue of PSLs (personal seat licenses). The conversations I see on my Xwitter timeline are poignant and sometimes painful to read.

The reality is today the NFL is no longer affordable for many fans in Western New York.

Our fan base IS different.

A significant number of us are descendants of steel workers. The region lost population while the rest of the nation and cities seemed to explode over the last 60 years. We are the children and grandchildren of those who decided Buffalo was where they would put down roots, for whatever reason. East Side, West Side, Burbs or out in the boontillies where I grew up… we became rooted in our communities in a way not seen in other cities of similar size or geography.

Photo by © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports via, LLC.

One trait that runs strong in our fan base is our obsession with ritual. Whether it’s jumping through flaming tables or dousing ourselves in condiments, these rituals have become traditions (whether we like it or not) that define us. ‘BillsMafia’ was borne from our proclivity to stand up for the little guy no matter how big Goliath looks. We are a proud people.

While these attributes reveal some of our character as a fan base, we also harbor a gigantic fear of change. Many people fear change, but no one fears it like fans of the Buffalo Bills. Older fans were scarred by years of anxiety Mr. Wilson would sell the team and it would be moved to another city.

So for those out there blabbering about how Bills fans are being unrealistic about their opposition to PSLs, please remember this is a fan base that’s endured a lot of hardship over the years. Building a new stadium and the associated changes that will inevitably come with an “updated stadium experience” would seem like a natural trigger for Buffalo Bills fans.

The longer you live, the more you realize the inevitability of change. Whether you like it or not, people die and traditions evolve or become extinct. The world we live in today is so much different than the world in 1975 when I was starting out as an adult… and the Buffalo Bills were playing in a shiny new stadium. Many of us grieved the loss of the Rockpile, though my family couldn’t afford tickets back then.

Perhaps the best thing we can do as a fan base is embrace the change coming with the new stadium, for better or worse. We are a resilient bunch. We will start new traditions and the next generation of Bills fans will carry on.

Even though it’s hard to let go of the past, maybe there’s something to be said for letting go of all the decades of despair. Time marches on whether we like it or not. And so does change.

Editor’s babble: Growing old as a Bills fan has been quite a ride. I’ll probably blab more about this as the offseason progresses. You can also find this and assorted other nonsense from me @RobynMundyWYO. is sponsored by 26 Shirts

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