BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Buffalo Bills games and tailgate parties go hand-in-hand. And in the hand of many of those tailgaters is an alcoholic beverage.
“Fans can get pretty rowdy and excited about the team on Sundays,” one fan said.
That’s no surprise. And it shouldn’t be surprising either that after kickoff, drunk fans in the tailgate lots become drunk fans in Ralph Wilson Stadium.
That’s what Canadian author Sean MacDonald noticed when he attended the Bills/Bengals game at the Ralph last October.
“People want to know this sort of thing. What were the fans like? And for me, in Buffalo at the game I saw the one memory that stands out is this wild scene in one of the end zone sections, where people were just – I don’t want to say out of control – but really three sheets to the wind,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald didn’t mean to offend anyone. But in his travel guide “Ultimate Football Road Trip,” his one line calling Bills fans the “drunkest” has gone viral.
RELATED | More on MacDonald and his book here
“It’s unfortunate that the comment came across as negative, when it was not meant that way. It was merely an observation,” he said.
But that’s not the observation the Erie County Sheriff’s Office wants families to make.
“I went as a child to Bills games, and that’s how I became a fan. And that’s what we want to carry on in this community because they’re so very important to us,” Erie County Undersheriff Mark Wipperman said.
Three recent incidents show how dangerous alcohol can be.
Dolphins fan David Gerken, who was ejected from the game while drunk in November 2012, was found dead in a nearby ditch. That same game, Canadian Bills fan Rob Sitter was hit by a cab while crossing the street intoxicated. He later died.
Then last year, Bills fan Rob Hopkins infamously slid down a railing while drunk and landed on a fan in the section below, injuring him.
Bills fans want to be known as the most passionate. But the drunkest? Not really.
“It’s very important that everybody who comes to the game enjoys the experience and doesn’t have it ruined by a couple rowdy or uncouth fans,” Brad Blakeman said.