Buffalo Bills fans are on their way to Kansas City as we speak. They are bringing more baggage than socks and underwear, as this team hasn’t been to the AFC Championship Game in a generation and has never won the big one. The fans we spoke with all think that’s going to come to an end this year and they want to see it.
“We decided to travel to Kansas City with a small, close group of friends because we love the Bills so much and really need redemption from our last two playoff games we all went to together (in Jacksonville and Houston),” wrote Jenna Marasco.
While Marasco was talking about redemption, for most of the fans we spoke with, this will be their first Bills playoff game. With only 6700 tickets each for Buffalo’s two home games this offseason thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, a segment of fans are travelling to Missouri simply because they couldn’t get in the stadium in New York.
“[This is the] first time we’ve sniffed this type of game in my adult life and wanted this experience with my brother,” said Bills fan Joe Gibbs, who lives in Jacksonville.
“I wanted to go to the Super Bowl if they made it, but my brother would not want to spend the money for a ticket so we compromised and are going to this game,” said Chris Gibbs, who will be in his sixth stadium in the last four years. “My wife and I usually go to an away game each year since we have lived down south and wanted the tradition to continue.”
Gregory Grenda has been to a bunch of playoff games, but this one feels different.
“I have been to multiple playoff games over the past [few] years, but this is the first year I am confident we can win,” said Grenda, who says he paid $700 apiece for his tickets. “We are contenders for the Super Bowl, and since I’m not will to pay for tickets to that game if we make it, this is the next best thing.”
Most of the fans bought tickets off re-sale sites for between $500 and $800 per ticket, but some are going for as much as $2000. That doesn’t include airfare, food and drink, hotel accommodations, and everything else that goes into attending an away game.
Luckily (or maybe it’s part of the reason they can go), none of the fans we spoke with will lose substantial income on top of the cost of the trip. Despite COVID-19 restrictions in place around traveling, the fans we spoke with work from home or work seasonally, so they will need to take coronavirus tests upon returning to their places of origin but it won’t hinder them too much.
As expected, the fans all have pre-game plans that involve barbecue and wings. I’ll let some of them break down their plans:
“Tailgating plan is to set up my custom Buffalo Bills smoker in Arrowhead main Oversized lot. Smoke ribs and wings, play cornhole, drink beer, and tailgate exactly how I would for every home game at Bills stadium. I the smoker made by Boat House smokers this year, took a long time with COVID and I haven’t been able to bring it to Bills Stadium yet like I had planned. I couldn’t think of a better way to bust this out at a live game then in Kansas City and I get to do it with my close friends and father. We have all been die hard Bills fans together forever. I have a rub on the wings with them ready to go into smoker and a gallon of Franks to add on after they are cooked.”
“KC Bills Backers has a lot right across from the stadium. The plan is to Uber there and join in. [I] can’t wait to try some KC BBQ and get a W. [We didn’t bring wing sauce because we are] hoping to try new things while on the road.”
“Get to the lot when it opens up, any other time is unacceptable. Tailgate limited to our two ‘pods’ 8 people total. [We are] picking up trays of BBQ from the local spots, [and will] consume enough beverage to stay warm. No one has room for a fryer, sadly.”
“I found out Thursday night that my boyfriend and his buddies decided to rent out a lot from someone local and sell tickets to the tailgate. So we’ve been orchestrating that with the help of @brother__bill on Twitter. Brother Bill is my cousin and recognized in the Bills Mafia world! Go follow him if you don’t! While preparing to drive down to KC from Rochester, NY. There will be Blue lights, folding tables, grilling, wings, red hot (obvs). The guys bought a trailer to hold all our tailgating supplies and had bills decals made to be put on it! I’ll attach the pictures! We also will have a big TV to watch the NFC playoff game. We’ve reminded everyone that social distance is being practiced and if walking around to please keep a mask on!”