I'll always remember. I was sitting on my couch, tablet in hand and working on some business docs. And I was silently praying, asking the universe, to get the Buffalo Bills into the playoffs. Not for me, but for this city.
Then Andy Dalton threw up a pass on 4th & 12. Caught. And ran in for a touchdown. The Buffalo Bills were going to the playoffs.
17 years ends today. A 17-year-long drought of the Buffalo Bills being in the playoffs, has come to an end. This was the longest drought, not only in NFL, but in all 4 major sports. Plus you can add on top of it that we have been in 4 consecutive superbowls, all without winning. Ever. If you were born & raised in Buffalo, went to college in WNY, or have spent any prolonged period of time here, you understand how much this means to this city, to the Bills Mafia. For Buffalo, this is more than just a sports game.
Buffalo is a different kind of city. There’s a common thread of companionship that runs through our veins. A thread that comes from constantly being looked at as the underdogs, the downtrodden. The capital of the rustbelt. A dead city. We’re the kids from the other side of the tracks.
Just like the heartfelt joy and palpable energy you now feel walking around the waterfront at Canalside, seeing the city be born again, the Bills getting back into the playoffs has created a movement. Like a mighty pheonix rising from the ashes.
Upon winning, hundreds of Bills fans braved single-digit weather to welcome the team home from Cincinnati, creating a makeshift tailgate along the gates of the tarmac at Buffalo International Airport. As a city, we not only thanked Andy Dalton, but rasied $350,000 for his charity. Let this sink in. Buffalo came together and raised over a quarter MILLION dollars in ONE WEEK, all because a man threw a football that was caught.
This week, I’ve felt the addicting and contagious joy of watching videos of locker room & Bills backer bar footage as people realized the Bills made the playoffs. I’ve saved those videos to show my children some day. This week, I’ve seen grown men cry, moved by the emotion of a palpable weight being lifted from their shoulders. This week, I’ve seen a city come together, rise up, and spread happiness. People greeting each other in the streets. Acts of kindness and generosity on every corner. There is an energy here that you can feel. There is good coming, for this city, for us. And all because a man threw a pass that was caught.
I sit now where I sat one week ago, donned in blue & red, and ready for whatever outcome today brings. I sit here ready to watch and cheer-on my Buffalo Bills. I sit here with a heart overflowing with gratitude at what ending a 17-year drought has done, FOR. THIS. CITY. <3
Let’s Go Buffalo! <3