Die-hard Patriots fan asks Bills fans the big question: Why?

Junior Timothy Fletcher, raised in Patriots' country, reflects on the inexplicable, undeterred hopes of Bills fans.


Ash DeCann

The pride of a die-hard fan.

The New England Patriots…It is the name of a team that causes football fans around the nation to grit their teeth. This team is a dynastic juggernaut responsible for the downfall of so many teams.

The Buffalo Bills is yet another team that has fallen victim to New England dominance. The Patriots’ success has caused bitterness and envy in the hearts of many Bills fans. In my interview with Mr. Suffoletto, or “Suff,” an avid Bills fan, he told me, “When I see the success that [the Patriots] have had, I want something like that.”

The Bills and the Patriots have played each other twice this year, the first battle resulting in the Bills shutting out the injury-ridden Pats, 16-0. The second ended in a 41-25 loss to the Pats by the Bills. However, the Bills have won only a measly 4 of the 32 games played against the Patriots since December 17, 2000, certainly an unfortunate streak, considering both teams are in the same division.

So, why the dedication? There are countless statements of “this is our year” or “the Bills are going all the way this year” whenever the Bills have consecutive wins. Why? “It’s like patriotism….[Fans] love their home team” says junior Audrey Potter, a Rochester native.

Having moved from Patriots territory in Boston, Massachusetts, five years ago, I thought it was sheer stupidity. Fans were hopelessly undeterred. But after some thought, I could not help but admire such determination.  There must be something, other than winning, I thought, that keeps Bills fans watching their televisions every Sunday with rapt attention. Anyone can be a Patriots fan; it’s easy when your team wins all the time.   Mr. Suffoletto explained that it’s more than the hope of success that keeps him rooting for the Bills; whether they do well or not is not the point. “I mean, I hope they win because you always want your team to win.”

This comes from a man raised on Bills pride. “My dad grew up on Sheldon Rd…a half mile from the Bills’ stadium,” he reminisces. “Every home game we would get together.” Parking the cars of spectators in his lawn to turn a small profit, Mr. Suffoletto spent every Sunday on food, fellowship, and football. “Sure they’re my hometown team, but I feel like they’re a part of my family.”

Perhaps there is something drawing Bills fans together — a sense of community and oneness found in escaping the rush of everyday life to watch your team play. “[Sunday] allows for a three-hour release from day-to-day life in hope that they win,” says Mr. Suffoletto. Andre Muth, a senior, talks about how winning isn’t always what fans are there for. Perhaps it’s the comfort of being with like-minded folk who like the simple pleasures. “They like to take time off — tailgating and drinking beer.”

Perhaps, one day, my loyalty as a diehard Patriots fan will be tested when the winning glory of the Patriots fades. As for Bills fans, they have a commitment that has been tested through the crucible of tough losses and disappointed expectations. The almost impertinent faith in the midst of daunting opposition that Buffalo fans exhibit despite countless letdowns and disappointments is neither stupidity or ignorance, but a glorious pride that the fans of few teams know.

An undying faith...
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An undying faith…