BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Saturday’s Bills game against the Ravens was a monumental moment and while 6,700 lucky fans were in attendance, many of them missed out. Eric Matwijow was one of those fans.

“I wasn’t able to go to the games because I opted out and I see people walking by and I’m so jealous. It hurts.”

Matwijow or “Hammer” as he’s affectionately known by the members of Bills Mafia, has run the legendary tailgating hotspot Hammer’s Lot for 30 plus years and has been attending games for just as long.

“Since 1987,previously I worked in the stadium parking lot and all I had to do was show my badge and I’ve gone to every game that’s been here at the stadium.”

With the uncertainty of not knowing if games would happen during the COVID pandemic, he chose to opt-out of his season tickets leaving him outside the stadium on the night the Bills made it to the AFC Championships for the first time since 1993.

“I waited such a long time for this to happen it kind of hurts that I couldn’t go in.”

Despite not being in the stadium to share in that special moment, Matwijow says the entire fanbase is elated to see the tides finally turn.

“It’s kind of a different feeling after 25 years of nothingness and always that hope of next year, next year. Well it’s this year. Right here, right now.”

With vaccines being distributed , Matwijow says he hopes all the members of the mafia will be able to tailgate by next year and celebrate the teams wins.

“I miss all the fans and we’re hoping next year we can have this and everything will be running smoothly.”

Kelly Khatib is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.