There have been plenty of great moments since the calendar turned to 2018. In honor of 716 Day in Western New York, we’ve picked four of the best sports moment.
#1 – Bills snap a 17-year postseason drought
Nobody will forget where they were or what they were doing on New Year’s Eve 2017. Meaningful football finally returned to Western New York in January of 2018 after 17 years of pain and suffering.
After Kyle Williams scored his first career touchdown in a win over the Dolphins, the heart and soul of football in Western New York experienced playoff football for the first time in his career as well, thanks to a little help from Andy Dalton and Tyler Boyd.
BILLS FANS!!!! YOU’RE GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS!!!!!
ANDY DALTON’S GAME WINNING TOUCHDOWN PASS (ON 4TH AND 12!!!!!) TO BEAT THE RAVENS IS EVEN BETTER WITH TITANIC MUSIC!!!! WHAT A MOMENT FOR THE @BUFFALOBILLS!!!!!
🏈🚢🎶 pic.twitter.com/e9PrO0tHsU— 🏈🚢🎶TITANIC TD🏈🚢🎶 (@TitanicTD) January 1, 2018
The scene at the airport with the Bills returning from their triumph in Miami and playoff berth – epic.
Bills backers far and wide then flocked to EverBank Field in Jacksonville to witness history as the Bills battled the Jaguars in the Wild Card Game.
That playoff game might not have ended in their favor but the black cloud that loomed over the Bills and fans for nearly two decades was lifted.
#2 – The Sabres win the lottery & then draft Rasmus Dahlin
This was a two-for-one. There was no debate about who the best prospect was in the NHL draft.
But, the Sabres only had an 18.5% chance at securing the top pick and they had been in this situation before…and failed…twice.
But, the third time was the charm and luck was on their side as the Sabres won the lottery and the rights to select defensive stud Rasmus Dahlin.
After they selected the slick skating Swede, when he was officially introduced to Western New York the Monday following the draft, General Manager Jason Botterill joked he hadn’t stopped smiling since announcing the selection. With Dahlin expected to make an impact right away, if the Sabres show improvement this season, those smiles won’t be few and far between.
#3 – The UB Women advance to the Sweet 16
Head Coach Felisha Legette-Jack was spotted on camera telling her team during a pregame speech the NCAA Tournament needed a Cinderella team.
Sure, as a 11-seed sure they fit the mold by tournament standards. But, the Bulls were invited, earning their first at-large bid in program history, showed they belonged in the conversation with the nation’s top programs as they dismantled 6th seeded South Florida and then 3rd seeded Florida State on their home court in the Big Dance.
The Bulls rode their historic postseason dominance all the way to Albany to the Sweet 16 and challenged the defending national champs from South Carolina all the way until the final buzzer — setting a new standard of excellence for the program.
#4 – The UB Men win their first NCAA Tournament game
At the beginning of the season, expectations were high for the UB men – and they delivered. A third MAC Championship in four years and another berth to the NCAA Tournament.
But could the Bulls get over the hump and finally secure that elusive win in the Big Dance?
Yes. Between their hot shooting and smothering defense, they knocked off the future No. 1 overall pick DeAndre Ayton and the Arizona Wildcats in convincing fashion with an 89-68 victory.
With their win UB became the 27th 13th-seed to win a first round game in the NCAA Tournament.