For first time in long time, Bills fans enjoy full home playoff win: ‘The best fans in the world’

·5 min read

It had been a very long time since Buffalo Bills fans watched a playoff game at home, in full capacity… but it seems like it was worth the wait.

The last time the Bills played a home playoff game in front of a full crowd was December 1996 (last season was very limited seating due to the COVID pandemic).

Fast forward to 2022 and thanks to a 47-17 blowout vs. the division rival, New England Patriots, Sunday was one big party for the Bills Mafia.

Leading up to the game, there had been quite a bit of trash talk from both Boston media and Patriots fans regarding the number of tickets available to the game and the cheap prices of those. Many attributed it to the subzero temperatures, cold for even Buffalo’s standards.

In the end though, the Bills Mafia was there in full force, like they always are and it didn’t go unnoticed.

“It was awesome. These are the best fans in the world,” Bills quarterback, Josh Allen, told CBS during his postgame interview. “They deserve it. To share this experience with them… to hear the energy and excitement in this building today, it was unbelievable. Extremely blessed and honored to be a part of the Buffalo Bills and Bills Mafia they’ve been awesome. Hopefully we can get one more, we’ll see.”

Allen was asked more about the specifics of getting it done in the playoffs against a team and coach that has notoriously tortured Bills fans in recent history.

“It feels good for the fans, I know that,” Allen said during his press conference. “I’m glad we could give that to them, but at the end of the day it’s a playoff game that we advanced on. Doesn’t matter what we did this week, or last week, or the week before. What matters is what we do going forward.

Like Allen, long-time veteran defensive end Jerry Hughes called Bills fans the best.

“A home playoff game, here with our fans,” Hughes said. “The mafia up in the stands cheering, being crazy, being what they are, you know, the best fans in the NFL. It felt amazing to actually have that opportunity to be here.”

Bills tight end Dawson Knox, who had two touchdowns and narrowly missed a third, admired the bravery of one fan in particular.

“We saw a dude shirtless,” Knox said to reporters laughing. “That crowd always finds a way to get us going, no matter if we’re up or down, playoffs or not. Best fanbase in the world, not even close.”

Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips had a unique viewpoint on sharing this moment tonight with the fans. Phillips has had to really fight through injuries during his time in Buffalo, but won a starting job down the stretch and is seemingly enjoying every moment.

“This is the first time we were able to do this in a really long time,” Phillips said after the win. “One thing I’ve been really trying to do this year is smell the roses and live in the moment a little bit, so after the game… just took an extra breath and walked around that stadium one more time.

“Not just how much it means to us, but to the fans that are there. These are rare to come by, you know it’s not promised that you can play at home in front of these fans and just wanted to really live in the moment and take this in as something that we’ll remember for the rest of our careers… of our life.”

While it is certainly special to win at home in front of your fans, doing it against the New England Patriots means just a little bit more if you’re a Bills fan. It’s something the Bills players are aware of.

“I think it’s big for the people in this community and the people around h ere to be a part of that game against that opponent,” Bills safety Micah Hyde said after the game. “Just because we know the history and what’s happened the last 20-plus years.”

Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds shared the same sentiment.

“This is my fourth year playing against those guys and you definitely feel it,” Edmunds said. “Just in the locker room, just in the community and everything. Just because, you know, based on the past, the history between Buffalo and New England, but it’s amazing. Those the type of games you wish for. The type of games we grew up wanting to be in. And just to have it, playoff atmosphere, that made it 10 times better in front of our fans, man. It was loud out there. They bring it each and every game, so it felt good. The energy always feels good.”

Bills head coach Sean McDermott said that whether it’s New England or someone else, it’s still only one game. Nevertheless he understands what it means for Bills fans.

“I’m more happy for our fans,” McDermott said to the media. “It’s not often a coach can enjoy the last six minutes of a game and kinda look up in the stands and see the fans enjoying it at home. I’m happy for them more than anything.”

McDermott was asked what he saw when he looked into the crowd. “Just a lot of people having fun it looked like,” McDermott continued. “I’m happy for them. A lot of hardworking people in this community that get up every morning, pack their lunch and go to work. So, glad to see they can enjoy something like that.”

While the Bills win guarantees them a spot in the divisional round next weekend, who they play and where they play remains to be seen based on the outcome of the Chiefs vs. Steelers game.

If the Chiefs win, the Bills will head to Kansas City next weekend. If Pittsburgh pull the upset, Buffalo would then host the Cincinnati Bengals in Orchard Park.

If this is in fact the only home playoff game for the Bills this season, what a game it was. After many fans waited 25-plus years for this moment, one coan say the Bills delivered.

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