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City of Good Neighbors? Buffalo Bills fans developing reputation of trashing venues

Not a good look, folks.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

Nationally, Bills Mafia is known as a group of die-hard Buffalo Bills fans who are always passionate about their squad. They’ve donated money to various player charities over the years, as well, and the philanthropic spirit has also become synonymous with the fan base. A new reputation is emerging, though, and it’s more troublesome.

On Saturday night, the Transit Drive-in in Lockport hosted a free event where they broadcasted the Bills’ victory over the Baltimore Ravens on their movie screens. Because it was a night game, it was dark enough for this fun event in a year when fans can’t get together and tailgate at the stadium. Instead, a socially-distanced event was held at the Drive-In for folks to watch the game with other Bills fans but stay in their own cars.

The Drive-in posted this update Sunday night:

We spent close to 7 hours today cleaning up after the game from Saturday in addition to 1 hour after the game ended. We have never seen the lots that bad after movies or concerts.

Normally, cleanup is not such a big deal, but we are not at full staff as we would be during the summer months, and cleaning outdoors isn’t exactly fun or easy when it’s in the mid 30s, and windy.

It seems as though Bills Mafia is highly skilled at breaking tables, but not so great at cleaning up after themselves. If you can bring prodigious amounts of beer and chips with you, it shouldn’t be that difficult to bring a couple of 30 gallon trash bags along, too. Maybe our expectations were too high for an event that was free for the public to attend.

Even with strong sales in the snack bar, most of those profits were absorbed by payroll costs for parking, security, kitchen staff, and cashiers. We are not permitted to change (sic) admission for sports events, as we have been advised by our attorneys. Besides, we really are not doing these events for the money. It would just be nice to not have to spend 8 hours cleaning up after fans who can’t or won’t clean up after themselves.

We will be making an announcement on Monday afternoon regarding the sports event next Sunday that kicks off at 6:40 pm. Go team that rhymes with Chills.

This isn’t the first time Bills fans have been called out for leaving a mess in their wake. After the team’s playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, locals in that city criticized Bills fans for leaving behind piles of trash, melted and broken tables, and setting large fires.

While most of the responses underneath the drive-in’s post are sympathetic with others offering to help clean up next weekend, there are several “What did you expect?” posts among the roughly 1000 comments.

If you’ve been to games at Bills Stadium, you know this type of behavior is pretty typical of a segment of Bills fans. At least those lots get to charge for parking to pay for the clean up (even though I’d argue you should still clean up after yourself). When a local business—especially one that was hurt so much by the COVID-19 pandemic—opens their establishment for a fun event, the least we could do is not trash the place, right?