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What Makes the Mafia Special?


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15 minutes ago, Neo said:

Well, it became your point after I posted.

 

Your original point that it’s not special isn’t’ diminished by others that, too, are special.  It’s the usage of “silly and juvenile” in your original post that inspired mine.

 

If I understand where you are now, you’ve gone to not unique among the most ravenous fans in the world from nothing special, silly and juvenile.   If the Bills could move goal posts like you did, we’d be playing tonight.


well it depends on the interpretation of “special” then. I took the OP as meaning it to be one of a kind or particularly unique. If you’re taking it as exceedingly loyal or whatever, then we agree. 

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4 hours ago, Augie said:

 

When I attend Bills games on the road, it’s clear that it’s more than that. We can take over another team’s stadium. Don’t compare Bills fans with either of the Falcons fans. I live in Atlanta, and the Falcons are merely an afterthought here. Football fans in the south are 99% interested in COLLEGE football. 

 

Every market, and every fanbase has its own flavor. 

I live in Phoenix and the fans here suck too, but on the flip side there are also Pittsburgh fans.... Green Bay fans....etc. Bills fans are just another group of good fans. 

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6 minutes ago, JoPoy88 said:


well it depends on the interpretation of “special” then. I took the OP as meaning it to be one of a kind or particularly unique. If you’re taking it as exceedingly loyal or whatever, then we agree. 

 

I’ll start by mentioning I’ve lived in several NFL cities. When our sons turned 16 I took them to Buffalo for a Bills game as a rite of passage. I’m sure this happens with all teams, some more than others. The special part was the welcome we received. Once I started talking with people explaining why we were there Saturday after arriving, they were BEGGING us to come to their tailgate the next day. That is not the mood in most cities. 

 

Having said that, it’s a pyramid like most things. Steeler fans deserved credit for representing well, as do Chiefs fans for their tailgating, etc. It’s all good entertainment. 

 

Unique is….unique. Technically they are all unique, but I like ours better!   😋

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12 minutes ago, LeGOATski said:

I live in Phoenix and the fans here suck too, but on the flip side there are also Pittsburgh fans.... Green Bay fans....etc. Bills fans are just another group of good fans. 

 

Maybe “just” needs defining, I don’t claim to be the best. I am sure we are among the best, and in some ways different. Like the Bills team, our fans are top tier. 

 

The thing that sets us apart in some ways is that we were there thru the Dark Ages. Steelers fans are loyal, but they never had extended stench like we endured.  JMO

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12 minutes ago, Augie said:

 

I’ll start by mentioning I’ve lived in several NFL cities. When our sons turned 16 I took them to Buffalo for a Bills game as a rite of passage. I’m sure this happens with all teams, some more than others. The special part was the welcome we received. Once I started talking with people explaining why we were there Saturday after arriving, they were BEGGING us to come to their tailgate the next day. That is not the mood in most cities. 

 

Having said that, it’s a pyramid like most things. Steeler fans deserved credit for representing well, as do Chiefs fans for their tailgating, etc. It’s all good entertainment. 

 

Unique is….unique. Technically they are all unique, but I like ours better!   😋


absolutely well said Augie.

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3 hours ago, Augie said:

 

Maybe “just” needs defining, I don’t claim to be the best. I am sure we are among the best, and in some ways different. Like the Bills team, our fans are top tier. 

 

The thing that sets us apart in some ways is that we were there thru the Dark Ages. Steelers fans are loyal, but they never had extended stench like we endured.  JMO

Detroit fans this year were claiming they're the best for sticking it out through their drought.

 

This type of stuff isn't special. 

 

Now extend this concept to all fan groups in all sports around the world. Some soccer teams have crazier fan followings than the Bills.

 

The special aspect of fandom, if there is one, belongs to individuals out there who stand out above the rest. Like, I'm sure there's some fan out there who has the record for attending every game in person. That's where special comes into the conversation.

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Football is the most important thing that happens in Buffalo, by a longshot. It's not that way in most other cities.  Plus Mafia loves to talk about themselves more than any other fan base, so they do get more PR because of it.  They're not special, just big football fans.

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5 hours ago, JoPoy88 said:


I’m glad you brought up comparisons to die hard SEC fanbases. They and other college program fanbases are the type of ravenous fans akin to the Bills’. And that was basically my point. Considering Bills’ fans as particularly “special” is the actual myopic view. They’re very very loyal and passionate. That’s great! It’s also not that unique or special. Thinking so is just tribalist bias.

I think that's what makes Bills fans "special" at the professional sports level...they have a fanbase more representative of a College town fanbase.  

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11 hours ago, Success said:

The Bills are now the top dog in terms of heartbreaking losses & disappointment.  There really isn't another team that matches us in that regard - we have so many losses that have names most sports fans recognize

 

And we've gotten more fiercely loyal over the years.  Far from giving up, most of us are even more committed, and proud to be Bills fans.

 

And there is something about the nature of the city.  Small market nestled in the far reaches of western NY, which is buried in snow for good portions of the year.  The Bills are THE main attraction.  That's just not the case with larger markets.

 

Resiliency is definitely in our dna 

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23 minutes ago, BillsPride12 said:

I think that's what makes Bills fans "special" at the professional sports level...they have a fanbase more representative of a College town fanbase.  


i agree. again, i think it is a matter of degree and semantics. Personally I disagree with the homer argument that we have “special” and “unique” fans based, at least a little bit, because of clout chasers that coined a cool nickname online and brain dead idiots throwing themselves through tables.

 

nothing is “special” about that. 

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Do you wear Bills gear?  Then you would know what makes Bills Mafia special.  Always, even during the drought, Bills fans go out of their way to excitedly meet me, as I do when I see Bills gear.

 

Loyalty is a virtue, and Mafia have it in spades. 

 

Every NFL fan knows a good amount of huge heartache we have experienced together.  They don't even know the whole story.  When they hear it, people are blown away by what we have been through, and it how only makes us more rabid fans.

 

I respect all good fans, and every team has them.  Buffalo Mafia is all inclusive, and world wide.  The Buffalo community and Bills are are more intertwined then any other team.

 

Doesn't feel great how Mafia responds to tragedy and player injuries?

 

The way I describe Bills fans to other fans- every Bills fans is all in.  There is no casual Bills fans.  All Mafia loves the Bills to different extremes!

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10 hours ago, LeGOATski said:

Detroit fans this year were claiming they're the best for sticking it out through their drought.

 

This type of stuff isn't special. 

 

Now extend this concept to all fan groups in all sports around the world. Some soccer teams have crazier fan followings than the Bills.

 

The special aspect of fandom, if there is one, belongs to individuals out there who stand out above the rest. Like, I'm sure there's some fan out there who has the record for attending every game in person. That's where special comes into the conversation.

 

Let’s not change sports to try to make your point. How many Bills’ road games have you been to in the last decade or so? When the visiting team takes over a stadium on the road, that is pretty special.  And that’s not just one wild and crazy guy. 

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The whole conversation is subjective when we're using words like "best," "unique," and "special."  But I don't think I'm being "tribalistic" - at least not very much so.  

 

I lived in Seattle for several years and some there sincerely believe Hawk fans are the best in the world.  Fans everywhere think like that.  And Century Link/Lumen does indeed get very loud.  So does Arrowhead in KC where I've also lived and watched games.  Yet I don't sense the same level of fanaticism in either city.  

 

Steeler and Packer fans are famously passionate, loyal, and loud.  But I think you need to also consider W-L records.  Those are storied franchises with all-time winning records and Lombardis in their trophy cases.  It's easy to root for a team that wins.  Loyal Lions fans have a point about their fandom.  

 

Are there soccer teams with more rabid fanbases?  Maybe.  I don't follow soccer and haven't spent a lot of time in places where soccer rules.  

 

My personal fandom is pretty obvious.  There are Bills stickers on my cars.  My phone is protected by a Bills case.  My wallet is embossed with a Bills logo.  Naturally, when I travel people make comments.  And they're just as likely to mention the mafia as they are Josh Allen - often something like, "Your fans are crazy!"  

 

Despite the naysayers here, I still believe the connection between the Bills and their fans is special.  Entirely unique and totally unlike anything anywhere else?  Well, no.  But when you consider the total picture: the generous charitable giving, the loyalty through hard times, the loudness of the fans, the mayhem in the tailgating lots, the prominence of Bills gear among the population, the local TV ratings, the way we take over opposing stadiums, and so on...  I think the mafia stands out. 

 

 

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I mean there is the high lead content in the water supply, exposure to heavy metals from the old steel mill.  Half of the mafia was born, played on, or went to school on current Superfund sites and the other half under high transmission power lines.  Whatever gray matter survived childhood has been under a constant assault from Rumpleminz and ice beer.  We're a special bunch.  

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4 hours ago, Augie said:

 

Let’s not change sports to try to make your point. How many Bills’ road games have you been to in the last decade or so? When the visiting team takes over a stadium on the road, that is pretty special.  And that’s not just one wild and crazy guy. 

I didn't need to, but it is relevant to the concept of "special". There's a whole world of fans out there that detracts from the "specialness" we like to apply to ourselves.

 

Seemingly every Cardinals is dominated by the  opposing team's fans. Just the way it is in this town and I don't see it as special. Bills fans travel well and are one of the better fan groups, but that is not a unique thing.

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13 minutes ago, LeGOATski said:

I didn't need to, but it is relevant to the concept of "special". There's a whole world of fans out there that detracts from the "specialness" we like to apply to ourselves.

 

Seemingly every Cardinals is dominated by the  opposing team's fans. Just the way it is in this town and I don't see it as special. Bills fans travel well and are one of the better fan groups, but that is not a unique thing.

 

WHAT? Are we changing things again? Who added unique? Unique is, well……..unique. It is not the same thing as special, as used in the title.

 

Every fanbase is unique, if you think about it. 

 

 May I ask which town you are in? Or how many road games you’ve attended in the last decade or so? It could be ALL of them, for all I know. I’m just trying to understand. We are much better represented on the road than opposing teams are in OP, from my experience. 

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On 2/11/2024 at 12:01 PM, hondo in seattle said:

This is an honest question.  The Bills' fanbase is different.  Players often say we have the best fans in the league and I think they sincerely believe it.  Though players on other teams sometimes say the same thing.  

 

Of course, there's no way to measure fandom.  You can't use attendance because it's easier to fill up a stadium in city with a metro population of 10 million versus one with 1 million.  And a team that wins is usually going to sell more tickets than a team that loses (To our credit, Bills fans show up despite an all-time losing record).   And you can't use season tickets because it's easier to sell them in a city full of millionaires versus a city where people struggle to get by.  So how do you create a metric for fandom that includes not only attendance, but gear worn, cheering volume, fan loyalty, snowmen built, tables smashed, tears shed, and everything else that goes into it? 

 

You can't.  Still, as someone who's spent time in most NFL cities, I remain convinced we have the best fans in the NFL.  But why?

 

I've been driving around the San Francisco Bay Area this Super Bowl week and I've seen 49er gear being worn and flags being flown.  But it seems I see less of that stuff than I'd see in Buffalo on a typical game-day weekend.  And then I thought about demographics.  Barely half of San Franciscans speak English at home.  A third of San Franciscans were born in another country.  Two-thirds were born out-of-state.  San Jose/Santa Clara (the new home of the 49ers) is even more diverse.  Some of these folks might be casual bandwagon 49er fans but they didn't grow up rooting for the 9ers and they don't bleed team colors like you and I do. 

 

Many growing NFL cities are very cosmopolitan with transient populations that don't build up intense team loyalties.  I think that's part of the explanation why Bills fans are different.  But I don't think that's the whole story.  What would you add?  

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t think of any single fan base  as the “best”. There are countless measures and each group is likely to value their own traits. I’m a transplant Bills fan and I hate the Bills Mafia moniker. I think people diving through tables is stupid and that cheering for someone getting doused with ketchup and mustard is absurd. But with that all said, Bills fans show up like no other (of which I am aware) to support worthy charities. That’s something that those fans should be very proud of and it speaks incredibly well of Buffalonians in general. It certainly far outweighs the little things I mentioned above. 

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3 hours ago, Augie said:

 

WHAT? Are we changing things again? Who added unique? Unique is, well……..unique. It is not the same thing as special, as used in the title.

 

Every fanbase is unique, if you think about it. 

 

 May I ask which town you are in? Or how many road games you’ve attended in the last decade or so? It could be ALL of them, for all I know. I’m just trying to understand. We are much better represented on the road than opposing teams are in OP, from my experience. 

I didn't change anything. I guess your definition of special is pretty watered down.

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7 minutes ago, LeGOATski said:

I didn't change anything. I guess your definition of special is pretty watered down.

 

You went from special to unique. Those are different things.  That was on you. 

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On 2/11/2024 at 12:01 PM, hondo in seattle said:

This is an honest question.  The Bills' fanbase is different.  Players often say we have the best fans in the league and I think they sincerely believe it.  Though players on other teams sometimes say the same thing.  

 

Of course, there's no way to measure fandom.  You can't use attendance because it's easier to fill up a stadium in city with a metro population of 10 million versus one with 1 million.  And a team that wins is usually going to sell more tickets than a team that loses (To our credit, Bills fans show up despite an all-time losing record).   And you can't use season tickets because it's easier to sell them in a city full of millionaires versus a city where people struggle to get by.  So how do you create a metric for fandom that includes not only attendance, but gear worn, cheering volume, fan loyalty, snowmen built, tables smashed, tears shed, and everything else that goes into it? 

 

You can't.  Still, as someone who's spent time in most NFL cities, I remain convinced we have the best fans in the NFL.  But why?

 

I've been driving around the San Francisco Bay Area this Super Bowl week and I've seen 49er gear being worn and flags being flown.  But it seems I see less of that stuff than I'd see in Buffalo on a typical game-day weekend.  And then I thought about demographics.  Barely half of San Franciscans speak English at home.  A third of San Franciscans were born in another country.  Two-thirds were born out-of-state.  San Jose/Santa Clara (the new home of the 49ers) is even more diverse.  Some of these folks might be casual bandwagon 49er fans but they didn't grow up rooting for the 9ers and they don't bleed team colors like you and I do. 

 

Many growing NFL cities are very cosmopolitan with transient populations that don't build up intense team loyalties.  I think that's part of the explanation why Bills fans are different.  But I don't think that's the whole story.  What would you add? 

 

Hondo,

 

I think what makes Bills Mafia special comes down to three components:

 

1. The team is our “us-against-the-world” rallying cry: Buffalo’s prime location in the unforgiving North American Snowbelt is certainly part of it, as is the Rust Belt economic collapse from American de-industrialization, living in the shadow of two cosmopolitan centers like NYC and Toronto, existing in a pro sports landscape that will always favor big markets, and of course the accrued memories of heartbreaking football that we share together.

 

2. That “City of Good Neighbors” mentality: For whatever reason, people in the Midwest and in Canada are known for their friendliness. Since Buffalo sits at the periphery of both geographical regions, maybe this partly explains why we donate so much to player charities and treat opposing fans politely during tailgates? We are also geographically Northeast, however…so we’re still known to throw insults and beers and snowballs and Billdos at the opposing team like Massholes, Jests fans, or Philadelphians…

 

3. Buffalo’s blue-collar heritage: A lot of people forget that Western NY was part of the region known as the “Cradle of Pro Football.” Western Pennsylvania and the state of Ohio are much more well-known for their roles in the sport’s formation, but names like Tommy Hughitt and Leo Lyons are not to be forgotten! So why did pro football first blossom in this region and not in others? Well, what helped was that this region was predominantly working-class. Back then, working-class people were known to prefer the physicality of the sport of football (as opposed to, say, baseball) and resonated more with the professional variant that wasn’t affiliated with colleges. Football is also a war-like game of territorial conquest, which is quintessentially American…more so than other sports…and anything uniquely American also tended to resonate more with the working class.

 

And so this blue-collar Buffalonian love for pro football carried on, even as the demographic composition of the region changed over the years. The 1946-49 AAFC Bills had some of the very best attendance figures in that league, as did the Bills during their formative AFL years.

 

I would also be remiss not to mention “Banditland,” which is by far the most rabid pro lacrosse fanbase in the world. Oh, and the fact that the Buffalo Sabres have ANYBODY still attending their games after these past 13 seasons is a testament to this team’s fan strength. During the Bills’ offseason, Buffalo apparently still very much enjoys its pro contact sports!

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