BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As Buffalo Bills fans watch Super Bowl 50 this weekend, they are recalling the Bills first Super Bowl — Super Bowl XXV,
It’s easy to think of the way it ended, that infamous kick that sailed wide right and landed Bills fans in despair, but it was so much more.
It was the Super Bowl where Whitney Houston gave her unforgettable performance of the National Anthem.
It was the Super Bowl steeped in security and almost cancelled by the NFL Commissioner after the outbreak of the Persian Gulf War.
And, it was the Super Bowl where thousands of Western New Yorkers, so excited about the Bills first super game, made a hurried trip to Tampa without hotel rooms and without tickets.
I interviewed many Bills fans in Tampa who were trying to buy tickets on the street, in hotels, and outside Tampa Stadium. Tony DiFilippo of East Aurora told me he would spend $350 each on two tickets so he and his wife could get into the game. (While tickets are going for several thousand dollars for Super Bowl 50, this was back in 1991.)
I was able to find Tony — 25 years after that first Bills Super Bowl. I wanted to know if he ever got tickets for the game.
Tony is now Aurora Town Justice. He told me he was able to find one ticket — but not two. So, he and his wife, Dawn, ended up watching the game in a nearby bar called the Yucatan Liquor Stand.
Still, Tony maintains he had a great time and he’s glad he went to Tampa. “We wanted that field goal to be made. We all wanted them to win, but it was still a great experience,” Tony says.
Tony’s wife Dawn agrees, “It was just like a big adventure. We were all just trying to go (to the game) and it was just really cool.”
Arnie Myers of Alden is another Bills fan who couldn’t get a ticket. He joined hundreds of other fans outside Tampa Stadium watching the game on a TV that was projected onto the wall of a shopping center across the street.
He told me in Tampa that, even though he wound up watching the game on TV, he was glad he was in Tampa and he was having a great time.
Twenty-five years later, Arnie is still happy he made the trip, despite not getting a ticket. He says he and his wife partied for 4 days straight with Bills fans they met, and even Giants fans.
“It was very exciting, very moving. We had a really great time. It was a lot of fun,” Arnie told me last week.
Those Super Bowl memories are still precious to Arnie and Tony & Dawn. And, they all believe they will see the Bills in another Super Bowl some day.
“They have to be there,” says Tony. “It’s such a great franchise. They had a little hiccup this year, but hopefully, in the next couple of years, they’ll be back.”
“I really think they’ll make it to another Super Bowl, ” Arnie told me. I asked him if he would be there. Arnie laughed and said, “Hopefully.”