The Buffalo Bills (8-6) have used the slogan “Defend our Dirt” (or in the case of the instant classic 13-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts, defend our snow) when referring to the team’s attitude towards playing home games in New Era Field.
As the home portion of the 2017 season wrapped up with Sunday’s 24-16 win over the rival Miami Dolphins, the Bills not only stayed alive and in the hunt for a Wild Card berth, Buffalo also finished with a 6-2 mark in home games, the team’s best record since the 1999 squad won six of eight at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
This season’s Bills started fast, winning their first four home games by a margin of 111-69 over the New York Jets (21-12), Denver Broncos (26-16), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (30-27), and Oakland Raiders (34-14). While Buffalo stubbed its toe in home losses to the New Orleans Saints (47-10) and New England Patriots (23-3), the Bills finished the home portion strong, defeating the Colts and the Dolphins to earn a 6-2 mark playing in Western New York.
It tied the best home record for the Bills since the 1996 team won seven of their eight games at Rich Stadium. That was also the last season the Bills hosted a playoff game, falling to the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-27 in the Wild Card game.
These current Bills can only hope that this season has the same result as the 1999 season: a trip to the playoffs. Coincidentally, the last time the Bills played in a postseason game? The 1999 season, when Buffalo suffered a heartbreaking, 22-16 Wild Card round loss to the Tennessee Titans in the Music City Miracle.