The Buffalo Bills may have just played in their first postseason game of the millennium, but they are still searching for their first postseason victory, as they were defeated by the Jacksonville Jaguars in a low-scoring affair by a margin of 10-3 in a game that featured an awful lot of incompetent offensive play.
Still, that doesn’t make Bills fans any less grateful for the opportunity to play a 17th game. As I said, it’s been a long time. The last time that they reached the postseason was during the 1999 season. We were living in a pre-9/11 world, and Bills Super Bowls still seemed like a possibility at the time.
For a team that was in the big game for four consecutive years not that long before an unprecedented postseason drought, it is understandable that the Bills’ fanbase is passionate and appreciative of the 9’7 team’s trip into the playoffs. And they showed their appreciation in a very direct and meaningful way.
As you know by now, the Bills’ postseason trip was made possible by a late collapse by the Pittsburgh Steelers’ chief rival, the Baltimore Ravens, who in the final minute of their regular season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals gave up the game-winning touchdown.
Needing just one more stop on fourth and 10-plus, Andy Dalton was able to hit Tyler Boyd down the field, who ran past the secondary, leaving a number of defensive backs in his wake, as he raced into the end zone for the 49-yard score.
Buffalo—the entire city, not just the locker room—was watching the game intently and erupted in emotion when the moment happened, the Bengals snatching victory from the jaws of defeat just as they needed it. The play eliminated the Ravens from the postseason, favoring the Bills as the sixth seed.
The city didn’t forget. In the week since then, the charities of both Dalton and Boyd have seen a surge in donations, a great deal of which have come from Bills fans. One fan even got a Dalton tattoo, crowdfunding for it and giving the excess money to Dalton’s charity.
Between the two players’ charities, Bills fans helped to raise around $400,000 just over the course of the past week. In a season filled with negative storylines throughout the NFL, it’s frankly something of a respite to actually read of a humanitarian story such as this.
Bills fans are certainly an odd bunch. They send themselves through flaming tables, shirtless, in the snow, before games; basically, they are insane. But they also have passion, and they have heart, and they put on a display of both through this widespread charitable rush.
Are greater things to come for the franchise after making the postseason for the first time in nearly two decades? It’s hard to say, as they have an offseason full of big questions ahead of them, including who their quarterback will be in 2018.