This Sunday a big event is happening and it doesn’t have anything to do with football. Wrestlemania 35 is Sunday and it’s the WWE’s largest and grandest spectacle of the year.
At this point, you have either turned your nose up because wrestling is fake and it’s below you, or you already knew it was happening and are pumped. How does this relate to the Buffalo Bills, you jabroni? As a wrestling fan who has attended the past two Wrestlemania events, it got me thinking about who are the faces and heels for our beloved Bills.
For the uninitiated, a face in wrestling is considered a good guy, while heels are the bad guys. Without further ado, here are the top faces and heels from the Buffalo Bills’ storied history.
The late ‘80s, early ‘90s Bills
This group of players and coaches was grouped together simply because the entire section would have been from this time period. The late 1980s and early to mid-1990s were unquestionably the glory years for this franchise.
From the names everyone knows (Levy, Kelly, Thomas, Reed, Smith, Talley, Bennett, Tasker, Lofton, Reich, Beebe—whose successful pursuit of Leon Lett in an otherwise forgettable Super Bowl XXVII kept the Bills from suffering the big game’s worst-ever defeat) to the more unsung, yet no-less important cogs (Kenny Davis, Shane Conlan, Jeff Wright, Keith McKeller, Carlton Bailey—who preserved the Bills’ Super Bowl streak with his Pick-6 against the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game), these years brought greatness to Western New York.
Thanks to the joy brought to the fan base from these teams and the fact that more than two decades later they are, arguably, even more popular with the fans than they were in their heyday, is the true definition of being a face.
Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.
Ralph Wilson is the Vince McMahon for Buffalo. Without Wilson’s commitment to Buffalo, the Bills—and to an extent football as we know it today—wouldn’t exist today (go look what he did for the Raiders, which saved the upstart AFL).
Just like McMahon, there were times the fans and media would treat Wilson as a heel, discussing his unwillingness to spend money, but overall there is no denying Wilson was a hero to Buffalonians and Bills fans around the world.
Terry and Kim Pegula
After Mr. Wilson passed away, there was a very real fear among Bills fans that someone would swoop in, buy the Bills and then move them to a larger, more profitable market.
Enter the Pegulas. The owners of Buffalo’s other professional sports franchise, the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, who won the bidding for the team. The Pegulas’ commitment to Buffalo is evident (see One Buffalo) and the proverbial monkey on the back of the franchise was quickly removed when the Bills finally made the playoffs after the 2017 season.
With a seemingly solid structure in place with the Pegulas, Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane, and a young quarterback with loads of potential, Terry and Kim seem poised for a long run as the top Faces of the Bills.
Jon Bon Jovi
It may be hard to remember now, but there was a real loathing of the music star who gave love a bad name during the bidding process for the Bills.
There was a petition being circled by 12th Man Thunder to boycott Bon Jovi’s music and that stemmed from the belief that Bon Jovi had no interest in keeping the Bills in Western New York. As we all know, Bills fans are an extremely passionate fan base and even the possibility of someone wanting to move the team results in serious venom, the true trait of a Heel.
Oh where to start with the former first-round pick? There was plenty of animosity toward the former Ohio State Buckeye because of his lack of high-impact plays. That alone wouldn’t have put him on this list. His tweets, however, did.
Back in the summer of 2014, Whitner said that “Wonder how you Bills fans feel when the team is moved? LOL,” and “Can you say Toronto Bills?!?!?1?!”
Much like Bon Jovi’s spot on this list, any mention of moving the Bills is NEVER a good idea. Bills fans can stomach a lot—just look at the support during the drought, but even the notion of not having the Bills to cheer for is something they can’t stomach. Those social media comments—especially considering he directly taunted Bills fans—coupled with his lack of production cemented Whitner’s status as a Heel for the Bills.
Billy Joe Hobert
You may be thinking: “Who?” This is a more personal Heel, but the reasoning is sound. For those who do remember his brief tenure with the Bills, Hobert was brought in as a free agent in 1997 following Jim Kelly’s retirement.
His time with the Bills was over before the 1997 season even ended after Hobert admitted to the media he wasn’t prepared to play. Sucking or having a bad game is one thing. It happens in sports. Bills fans have grown accustomed to that type of play from the quarterback position.
Admitting you weren’t prepared mentally, however, is unacceptable anywhere, particularly in a blue-collar city like Buffalo. Because of that unforgivable admission, Hobert will always be one of my most hated Bills players.
Who else deserves a spot on our list? Let us know in the comments.