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Opinion: The first Buffalo Bills tailgate of the year is always so special

The rite of fall.

Buffalo Bills fans are really excited about this season. Really excited. We all think the team is going to be good this year. There’s just one problem about sharing that excitement with others: Coronavirus.

In Western New York, fans can’t gather in crowds. We can’t tailgate. We can’t throw each other through tables. We can’t light things on fire in the parking lot. We can’t pop a couple tops with friends. We can’t cheer together and high-five when something great happens. At least not in and around the stadium with fellow fanatics.

Before this season, the first tailgate was always a rite of fall in Orchard Park. Maybe it was still hot out and you put on the sunscreen to sweat in the sun all day, full of hope for a good team. Sometimes it was one of those crisp autumn mornings with a hot cup of coffee that gave way to chili to keep you warm. Even in rain or in the midst of a long playoff drought, the optimism, the idea that something great could happen, and the newness of the season were always flowing through the crowd.

Right now we should be standing in light rain with pleasant temperatures as the grassy parking lot slowly turns to mud under our feet with the smell of cooking fires and meat permeating the air around us.

We miss you all. We wish we could be with you. Some day soon, we will be again. Until then, we’re glad you’re here with us virtually. Go Bills.