COVID-19 restrictions kept Buffalo Bills fans from seeing their team play in person this fall. But nothing kept a few thousand from gathering Saturday night to greet their football heroes.
It’s not every day that Bills fans get to celebrate an AFC East championship. Check that, in frigid Buffalo, it’s been a quarter-century. How much has the country changed in that time? Well, in 1995, Bill Clinton was president. The New York stock exchange had just cleared 5,000. Forrest Gump was awarded Best Picture. And Tim McGraw (I Like It, I Love It) and Faith Hill (It Matters To Me) topped the final country charts.
The fan bases of Cleveland (1989) and Detroit (1993) are the only two fans bases who have waited longer than Buffalo.
What’s Changed For The Buffalo Bills? Tom Brady’s Address.
Now, let’s skip back to present day and the Bills. What changed the most this season about the AFC East? Tom Brady swapped addresses. The former star of the New England Patriots skipped town and headed to Tampa Bay.
The Bills are 11-3 after their win Saturday night over the Denver Broncos.
Hundreds of fans started gathering at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport hours before the team arrived. They held signs. They cheered. It’s what fans do to party after a victory. The weather wasn’t that chilly. For Buffalo. Temperatures in the low 30s certainly weren’t cold enough to curb a celebration. The team arrived after midnight.
The Bills players knew they controlled their destiny in Denver. Win and the division title was theirs. They posted an emphatic victory, thumping Denver, 48-19. They came in relaxed and loose. Earlier in the week, the team even had a snow ball fight when a winter storm rolled through the state.
“It’s great that we’re able to do it the first time in 25 years,” Quarterback Josh Allen told reporters after the game. “To be the team and to be the quarterback on the team that does it, obviously feels really good. At the same time, that’s not our end goal. We set out to do this in order to get the chance to do what we really want to do, and that’s to win a Super Bowl championship.”
Buffalo Fans Probably Took 1990s For Granted
Buffalo fans probably took that last division title for granted. After all, the 90s were the Bills’ best decade in franchise history. They made the playoffs in eight of 10 seasons. No one figured Buffalo would hit such a drought between titles.
The Bills are on their 11th coach since the last title. Bookended by Jim Kelly and Allen, those head coaches have tried 22 different starting quarterbacks.
The playoffs in this crazy Covid season don’t start until next month. They’ll play New England on Dec. 28. Fans won’t need to sweat that one, at least for this year.