The Psyche of a Bills Fan


We’re all Bills fans here so we know what it means to be a Bills fan. We understand how it feels. We just get each other. But most other people don’t get us…at all! So while it seems appropriate for me to offer this peek into the minds of a fan here on BuffaLowDown, I’m also going to cross publish this post on a site that’s not specifically devoted to the Buffalo Bills, in the hopes that we can educate some others on our “plight” and why it’s not really a plight at all.

You all know how you became a Buffalo Bills fan, right? In my case, my daddy spent his undergrad and graduate years in Buffalo, so he became a die-hard fan (I’ve now surpassed him) during what I refer to as the “golden years”–the years before I was born when it was more common for them to win games than to lose them. My daddy jokes that he went a little overboard with my fan cultivation, presumably during my “baby Bills years,” when he didn’t realize just how much Thurmanator, Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith and Andre Reed talk I was absorbing. He never apologizes for bringing me up Bills because what’s to apologize for? It’s the best team in the league to root for.

Fast forward 22 years and now I know I’ll never get out of this crazy extended Bills family and I don’t want to. Us Bills fans are authentic because we put ourselves out there in a way some other football fans never would. People ask me all the time how I can be a [loud] out-of-the-closet Bills fan. I tell them it’s because the Bills have been like this (mediocre records that don’t reflect the talent we have) for about half my life, which leaves very few years of success for me to remember. I also tell them it’s because this is what it means to be a Bills fan. We don’t turn our backs on a team just because they have a little trouble winning games. The Bills may have struggled for awhile now, but they’ve never given up on us and we’re not going to give up on them. Last but most certainly not least, I always make sure to mention that the players and organization are the type of people you just want to support. They’re likable. They’re genuine. Bills alumni still care about the team and the few I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know are some of the best people I know. I’m not just a passionate fan; I’m a passionate fan busy loving a passionate team.

Now I’m gonna switch things up and do a little Q&A. I do enough talking (or writing) so I’ll let some others take the blog-stage. I sent out a tweet asking for fans who were interested in answering some questions for me. Two of the biggest Bills fans I’ve come to know (and a couple of my fav Twitter pals) offered to share with me why they bleed blue, red and white.

First up is Stacy Rowe. She’s a Rochester girl now living in Indianapolis, but that doesn’t mean she’s changing gears and jumping on the Colts wagon. She’s been a Bills fan for 29 years and serves as chapter president of the Indianapolis Bills Backers.

Moi: How did you come to be a Bills fan?

Stacy: My Father and grandfather took me to a game. My 2 Aunts were also obsessed with them!

Moi: What is your fondest memory, season or game from Bills history?

Stacy: That’s easy…the greatest comeback game, even though I wasn’t there.

Moi: What has kept you a loyal fan for all these years?

Stacy: PASSION for the team, the game, the integrity of the Bills organization.

Moi: Do you think the Bills can ever return to the successful days of years ago?

Stacy: YES, if they get a Owner that will pay for quality Coaching and a better GM! (ie: someone like POLIAN was!)

Moi: Tell me about a situation, humorous or aggravating, where you had to defend the Bills and your loyalty to somebody who wasn’t a fan.

Stacy: Well, people tell me that since I live in Indy now, that I shouls be a COLTS fan. I say “So, if you move away from Indiana, would YOU stop being a Colts fan?” They always say, “No”…I reply…”Well, then, why should I stop being a BILLS fan then, just because I moved here?” (silence, yep..I shut them up)

Moi: What do YOU think makes Bills fans who they are. We have a reputation for being a bunch of delusional drunks who cheer for a hopeless team simply because there’s nothing better for us to do. What do you think a REAL Bills fan looks like?

Stacy: I think a real bills fan looks like ME! =)

Moi: Anything else about the Bills, your painful (or not so painful) experience being a fan, etc.

Stacy: I can take the pain! TRUE fans are fans thru the good and bad!

Next read what Kirpaul Babar has to say about being Bills fan. He’s another Western New York transplant, growing up in Buffalo but now living in Albany. (I know what it’s like to be a Bills fan in Upstate New York and I feel your pain!) He’s a little calmer than Stacy and I but just as passionate.

Moi: How did you come to be a Bills fan?

Kirpaul: I was born in Buffalo, grew up there, and was young and just learning about football at the same time the Bills started doing amazing. It was impossible to be in an atmosphere where everyone is obsessed with the Bills without also becoming a part of that.

Moi: What is your fondest memory, season or game from Bills history?

Kirpaul: Listening to the Bills/Oilers playoff game with my dad and sister in our basement. My dad and I were both pretty upset/sad at the way we were getting crushed… but my sister never gave up hope. She kept trying to tell us that we could still turn it around, there was still another entire half left to play and that if the Oilers could score that much in two quarters so could we. That second half was amazing, and I don’t think I’ve ever screamed and jumped around so much since then. I think a close second would be watching us beat the dolphins last season from Thurman and Patti Thomas’ box on my birthday. Easily one of the coolest birthdays I’ve had.

Moi: What has kept you a loyal fan for all these years?

Kirpaul: Hope and Brotherhood. I learned that day against the Oilers to never give up on the Bills. We can always turn it around. It might take us a few years to find the right mix again but eventually it’ll happen. We’ll get that amazing draft pick to start the way, or that great coach that knows what moves to make and how to get our guys motivated. I also love the feeling and the bond that you automatically share with another Bills fan. You can be anywhere in the world and if you find someone wearing a Bills shirt or hat you automatically share a connection with that person.

Moi: Do you think the Bills can ever return to the successful days of years ago?

Kirpaul: Yes. We just need to get the right pieces, and it will happen eventually. We need to get another GM that has an eye for talent. I think we’ve missed that since Bill Polian. He was able to draft so many successful players and make trades to get people that others just didn’t see coming. He’s still doing it today for the Colts too (after Harrison left no one knew who’d fill his shoes… but then rookies Garcon and Collie did an amazing job… and that’s all because of good drafting).

Moi: Tell me about a situation, humorous or aggravating, where you had to defend the Bills and your loyalty to somebody who wasn’t a fan.

Kirpaul: Pretty much every week someone rags on me for being a Bills fan. I live in enemy territory (Jets, Giants, Pats). Every Monday morning when I come to work I get a chorus of ‘How about them Bills? Usually I just defend myself by making fun of the fact that no one is as loyal as we are, and that most of the time the people making fun of me are bandwagon jumpers who only started liking their team when they were good or there was a lot of hype about them.

Moi: What do YOU think makes Bills fans who they are. We have a reputation for being a bunch of delusional drunks who cheer for a hopeless team simply because there’s nothing better for us to do. What do you think a REAL Bills fan looks like?

Kirpaul: I think a real Bills fan isn’t a delusional drunk. Sure we’re known for partying hard, but I think we’re also extremely optimistic and we appreciate what we have. We’re all just hopeful and optimistic that every season is a chance to turn it around. No one else has faith like we do. Also, every Bills fan knows that when Ralph dies there is a chance the Bills could leave and we don’t want that to happen. We know we have to support the team now if we want to have a team in the future.

Moi: Anything else about the Bills, your painful (or not so painful) experience being a fan, etc.

Kirpaul: It hasn’t been too painful. Even though I get made fun of by a lot of people for being a fan I know that a lot of the people doing it still respect me because I don’t waver in my support. Being a fan of a team only when their winning isn’t being a fan at all.

So have any non-Bills fans seen the light? Do any Bills fans disagree with what you’ve read? Let us know!

Tags: Bills Bills Fans Buffalo Buffalo Bills Buffalowdow.com Chicksinthehuddle.com Ultimate Bills Fans