Buffalo is a tertiary city that often gets ridiculed and overlooked. There have been countless times that I say “I live in Buffalo” only for people to respond… Buffalo? Why? Isn’t it cold up there? Ohhhh… but the snow! Do you eat Buffalo Wings for breakfast?
The thing is… yes, yes, it is cold. (We just wear layers and have snow blowers!) Yes… we love our chicken wings and cup and char pepperoni pizza. Yes, we haven’t been AFC East Champions in 25 years. We get it!
But for once, I would like someone to see what I see…that Buffalo is a walkable, dense, diverse city on the edge of something great filled with an unparalleled sense of community. Buffalo, like the Buffalo Bills, is worth rooting for.
Everyone loves an underdog. Maybe quietly… but you know you still root for them. There’s something so special about seeing people rise up. A sense of accomplishment that we live vicariously through. An “if they can do it, we can do it, too” kinda attitude. The underdog lacks traditional confidence, but is determined, gritty and motivated. The underdog must work harder, play harder and fight harder to win.
Like The Buffalo Bills, we’ve been an underdog for my entire life. We have struggled being a rust belt city. Struggled Our population declined by half and jobs left while our poverty and vacancy increased. We even expanded our suburbs creating a nearly abandoned city core. Every year we held out hope for Buffalo and the Bills… and, well, here we are 25 years later. But something special happens each time! Regardless of the outcome of the games or our economy, we still keep pushing forward as one.
Like the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo has had some really strong gains as a community. People are relocating here. There are jokes about keeping Buffalo a secret. Travel and Leisure voted us as a city to visit in 2021. Our small businesses are able to be successful due to our inherently walkable community, vast community support and affordable rents. We’ve been renovating instead of demolishing our historic buildings and neighborhoods. We have a zoning code that doesn’t work against us. We know how to party – our bars close at 4am and we throw art parties in unique places all the time. We just don’t quit – just ask Josh Allen how we raised $700,000 for pediatric care in honor of his grandmother in the middle of a pandemic. We are humble and hungry. Like Josh Allen, we often have to run the ball ourselves on top of throwing to others, just to make something happen. But it isn’t just about Josh, it’s the whole team that works together as a community to make a big DUB (win!) happen.
Yeah, it snows. Yes, we have problems to solve… big problems. Despite our problems, having the Buffalo Bills here in Buffalo is something larger that lets us know where our place is, a sense of pride and being. To be a Buffalonian is to be a Bills fan. If you’re a Bills fan, no matter where you live, you’re a Buffalonian. They’re our team and this is our community. We’ve believed in the Bills, even when it wasn’t popular to. Even barstool sports agrees that we have the best fans. If you want proof – our “Bills Mafia” Facebook page has 193,000 people on it! We have Buffalo Bills backers bars all around the globe. When we travel, there’s a Buffalo Bills logo found somewhere on that journey. No matter what, we are “talkin’ proud”.
While I’m here, I have to give a shout out to the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers who are both doing really well in football this season and are part of our larger Great Lakes community, too. Sure, we are definitely football rivals however, we’ve all been “rust belt” underdogs for so long. I’m excited for them having a solid football year, just as much as I am for Buffalo. (Detroit, don’t worry – your time will come! We believe in you, too!)
So yeah, I proudly live in Buffalo, New York. I’ve traveled the world and still call this place home by choice. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say we don’t mind being the underdogs. Like the Buffalo Bills, it keeps us humble and hungry. We have a rule here in Buffalo: no matter where you live – urban, suburban, rural or from afar, we are Buffalonians and Bills Mafia and that makes Buffalo a place worth rooting for.
Go Bills! Go Buffalo!