ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — A chilly November night in Orchard Park didn’t stop fans from tailgating all afternoon ahead of Monday Night Football, as the Bills take on the Denver Broncos.
In the words of former Bills head coach Marv Levy, “When it’s too cold for them, it’s just right for us.” From Wyoming to Ontario, Iowa to Western New York, Bills Mafia turned out to tailgate and cheer on the Bills in a game many say is a must-win.
“It’s everything you’d think it would be. Bills Mafia is without a doubt the greatest fan base and it’s so fun to be a part of it. I was so glad we could bring these guys and let them experience all of this as well,” Wade Samo from Lenox, Iowa said.
With the Broncos charging into Buffalo after their bye week and a win against the Kansas City Chiefs, Bills Mafia descended on Orchard Park early Monday afternoon to party and celebrate before the game. Tailgates featured delicious dishes to share with fellow fans, lots of cheering, and of course, throwing the pigskin around.
Many fans traveled from outside of Western New York to watch the game, including the Samo family from Iowa. They drove 14 hours to watch their cousin, Bills offensive tackle Spencer Brown, play under the primetime lights in an all important game for the team.
“They’re better than what their record shows and I think we’re going to see the best Bills football for the rest of the year. It never gets old. Every time I come here and every other game we go to, it never gets old seeing him run out of the tunnel,” Samo said.
For some fans, it’s their first time watching a game in Orchard Park and experiencing the game day atmosphere for themselves.
“It’s really fun and the community is really nice too,” Liam Aspinall from Ottawa, Ontario said. “I’ve walked around the area and I’ve met some new people and played some football.”
“These people are crazy! They just have so much spirit and love for the team,” Salen Samo from Lenox, IA added.
“It’s wonderful and it’s great fun. We’ve seen lots of really cool things. Everyone is really friendly in this town. We can’t believe it. They’ve just been awesome,” Leah Edwards from Wyoming said.
Tailgates wouldn’t be complete without food. The Bills Mafia House on Fay Street is serving up a variety of Western New York favorites to share with each other.
“Everybody just kind of makes their own thing and everybody just kind of shares. It’s a crazy open menu. You never know what you’re going to get,” Shane Prouty, owner of the Bills Mafia House, said.
Bills Mafia says they are confident the Bills can win this game and still make it all the way to the playoffs and Super Bowl.
“Nobody else can win the division until the Dolphins can prove that they can beat the Bills and they haven’t proven that they can beat the Bills. They’ve gotta go through us. The division still runs through us regardless of what their record is right now,” Prouty added.
Bills fans will be right back at Highmark Stadium next weekend as the Bills host the Jets on Sunday at 4:25.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native and Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.