After being crowned the best fans in the league, the Bills Mafia is struggling with not being allowed in the Bills Stadium to watch the games. Fox Sports conducted an “Ultimate Fan Bracket: NFL Edition” to determine which NFL team has the best fan base. Beating out 31 teams, Bills Mafia was awarded the title. Not surprisingly, the fan base is becoming increasingly more frustrated with the state-wide order not allowing fans in stadiums.
As mentioned in a previous Blog Post, New York State’s COVID-19 guidelines prohibit spectators at any professional sports venue. When it was first released, it was said that there will be no fans for at least the first two home games. However, on September 29, the Buffalo Bills released a statement that read, “At the end of August, we announced we would not be having fans for the first two games of our season based on guidance from the New York State Department of Health for professional sports. As of today, there has been no change to those protocols and fans will not be able to attend home Bills games for the foreseeable future.”
Despite the recent announcement prohibiting fans for the foreseeable future, the Bills Mafia has not given up on the fight to be allowed at the games. There have been change.org petitions that members of the Bills Mafia have signed that beg Governor Cuomo and County Executive Mark Poloncarz to allow fans in the stands. Although it is unlikely these attempts will change the COVID-19 guidelines, the fans are not giving up.
The Bills Mafia is not alone in being upset with the guidelines. Rachel Bush, public figure and wife of Bills safety Jordan Poyer, has expressed her desire for spectators to be allowed at the games on her Twitter account.
We reached out to Bush and when asked for a comment on why she believes fans are so important, Bush said, “It’s so important that we start allowing fans to attend games again because I truly believe it would bring game changing outcomes. For example, that Chiefs game. If there were even the smallest amount of fans present I believe the outcome could’ve been different. Our guys want to know who they are playing for! Right now they are lacking that live interaction of our fan base and you can’t replace that presence. Nothing is the same. They need that bills mafia fan base energy again, especially towards the end of a game, when they are winding down and tired, they need that push to keep going! This is a game changing scenario we’re talking about.”
Bush also discussed the struggles for her, as a family member, not being allowed to attend games in person: “For me it’s very frustrating in particular being a wife and not being able to attend. The rules make no sense. Especially when you see on social media basically every other team allowing at least family to attend games. Our men only get to play for so long and it’s very bothersome that we are losing a year of that experience. They are allowed to come home to us each day yet we aren’t allowed to watch them play live Sunday? We live in the same house, see them day in and out, yet we can’t watch them play football live because it’s a ‘safety risk’ right. That alone makes no sense. The stadium is large enough to have every immediate family member attend no doubt. The fact we haven’t been updated or kept in the loop on this whole issue is also very frustrating. I don’t think this is being handled well as a whole at all.”
Although she expressed her frustrations with the situation, Bush expressed her gratitude for Bills Mafia saying, “Bills Mafia is amazing! I’m sure this is hard on everyone, especially knowing how big of a football city Buffalo is. I miss seeing all the excitement on game day, tailgates, everything. Doesn’t really feel the same at all this year and it really is sad! Buffalo has a whole different vibe and it’s not exciting like it has the past few years. Fans need to understand the players feel this way as well, it affects them too. Frustrating situation for everyone, especially when each state and team have the option to handle the fan attendance how they choose.”
Moving forward, if Governor Cuomo does change the state’s COVID-19 guidelines to permit spectators, it would be up to the Erie County Department of Health to decide whether it would be safe to allow fans in Bills Stadium. For now, the Bills Mafia will have to continue supporting the Bills from home.