(Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Amanda Green. Amanda is a freelance writer and Buffalo sports nut. She has been going to Bills, Sabres and Bandits games her whole life. Amanda has been writing online for a few years now but loves to write about things near and dear to her like the city of Buffalo. Amanda’s best sports memory was Matthew Baranaby’s playoff hat-trick against Montreal and her worst was the Monday Night Football loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Buffalo.)
As minicamp opens and progresses through June, all NFL fans are getting a better look at their teams for the upcoming season. Most NFL fans are especially fired up to see their new free agent acquisitions and rookie draft class on the field. As a Bills fan I am excited to watch EJ Manuel and Robert Woods highlights while tracking down some clips of Manny Lawson sacks. Even with those to keep me pumped up, the actual season still seems forever away. As many know, people in western New York take tailgating pretty seriously. So take it from me, a Bills fan and tailgater; here are my top three “must have’s” you need at a Ralph Wilson Stadium tailgate. Go Bills!
1. Good Food – Without delicious food, you might find your fellow party-goers lingering off to other spots and leaving you alone to man the grill. Sorry to break it to you, but that vegan burger recipe you found on Pinterest isn’t going to cut it. These blue collar fans are looking for meaty ribs, saucy wings and hearty dips. Of course wings are always present at the Ralph. You can swing by Duffs in Orchard Park just minutes from the stadium, or make your own. Another favorite before game time is an assortment of sausages as Buffalo’s rich German, Polish and Italian history provides some of the best available for grilling.
2. Tailgating Games – Everyone knows you’re here to watch the game. Your adrenaline is pumping, and you can’t wait to hear the first hit. Why delay yourself the satisfaction of the joy of the game? Bring your own tailgating games and really spice things up. Cornhole, ladder ball, washer toss, beer pong, and the list goes on and on. Even if you’re just tossing a football around, the whole parking lot is involved. In my experience, Buffalo has a community atmosphere to tailgating so don’t be surprised to hear a passer-by yelling for you to throw them a long pass.
3. Team Gear – Making sure that Bills logo is visible from all sides is something we take seriously in Orchard Park. The only exception being those in ski-gear for snow games if they can’t fit a jersey over their puffy coat. Other than the ever popular jersey Bills fans are avid supporters of Zubaz paired with a custom t-shirt. Its always fun to have group shirts with either your tailgating crew’s name or perhaps a chirp at the opposing team. Classics include “Squish The Fish” when Miami comes to town once a year.
Being a Bills fan is not a fair-weather occupation and neither is tailgating. Whether it is sunny or snowing, we will be there. Perhaps part of the reason tailgating has turned into a giant family event in Buffalo is because of the struggles of the team. We have each other and it is always a great time no matter what. Part of what makes the scene great is the family atmosphere and respect for each other. Unless the Jets are in town, people tend to keep it family friendly and abide by the rules. Whether you are packing up the grill after a win or loss, Sunday’s in fall are always a blast in Buffalo.