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Day 1? (It just seems like a good place to start, truthfully, I don’t know what day it is…)
Dear Bills Mafia,
My name is Trish Patel and I have no idea what has become of me. I currently do not know where I am. The days, weeks, and months have blended into one giant mess of time and I fear for my personal safety and wellbeing. As such, I am choosing to send these messages out into the ether. So, if I do not return, at the very least I can present my findings thus far.
For eons, one question has plagued the hearts and minds of all of Bills Mafia: Does Bills Mafia truly exist outside of Buffalo and the US in general?
As a woman of science, this question has intrigued me for far too long and I simply had to try and find an answer. So, I set out on an expedition, travelling the world, trying to find the ever-elusive International Bills Fans. This has been no easy feat, and the first few days seemed to be a futile attempt at the impossible. And then, things got interesting. I found someone. His name is Matt Swain, but for simplicities sake, I will refer to him as “Subject 001”.
I met 001 online (of all places). It was a random occurrence, one which I am eternally grateful for. After some prodding and persuading 001 agreed to tell me his story.
Introducing Subject 001
001 is the founder of the Bills Fan Group in the UK. He’s been a Bills fan since 1999, after the game which “no one will mention”. The Bills reminded him of his childhood football (US translation: soccer) team, West Ham United and their work ethic that really speaks to their fans. They, much like the Bills, are a team you can really root for. For this reason, he was drawn to the Bills and the rest, as they say, is history.
[Subject 001 showed a lot of loyalty to a team he has not grown up around. Could it be that the Bills have such a large following simply because of their “underdog” mentality? I had to know more. I mean, he founded a fan group.]
To get to that stage, he went back to 2013. There was a UK NFL fan Facebook group with a significant number of Bills fans, so he decided to create a separate group just for Bills Mafia. [I went back and tried to find some data on this. Unfortunately, none came up.] After creating the group, he got verified by the Bills Backers and, in the last seven to eight years, it has just gone from strength to strength.
[Subject 001 is very passionate about growing the Bills UK group to much bigger heights. He talked about a website, merchandise, and potential memberships for special perks such as meet and greets or Q&As. A lot is happening.]
I needed to know more about his Bills habits. One thing that is really casting doubt on international Bills fans is the time difference. Surely, this must make things difficult?
001 doesn’t have any superstitions to watching the games, he just sits in his favorite spot on the couch and finds the perfect stream. The issue, he found, is he needs to supress the urge to scream and shout during night games in order to avoid waking up the entire street.
[Subject 001 leads a sad life as a Bills fan, it must be agonizing to not be able to cheer on your team.]
Not growing up in the US, it was only logical to be sceptical about Subject 001’s football knowledge. So, I had to ask him about what he thinks the upcoming season will hold. He predicted 14 wins on the season, with losses coming from the Titans, Chiefs, and Bengals (only because the Bills will have rested all the starters after securing the #1 seed in the AFC).
He also believes Gabriel Davis will have a breakout season. Diggs is more than likely gonna be covered, so Davis will see a lot more snaps. And, like many Bills fans, he firmly believes that Allen can be MVP, provided that he performs well in the first half of the season when it really counts. On the other side of the ball, Ed Oliver has new signings in Miller, Settle, Phillips around him. So, according to 001, Oliver has everything he needs to finally reach his full potential.
[Subject 001 more than proved his football knowledge. At this point, I am confident in my findings so far that International Bills fans do in fact exist. But now, it was time to really put it to the test – merch.]
001 has two favorite pieces, a signed hat and ball from Marcell Dareus. The Bills came to the UK for a game against the Jaguars. 001 was lucky enough to work with the Bills and spend a day in London with Dareus. His favorite story of that day is that, across the Palace, is a park with a small bridge. The huge Alabama defensive tackle spent a few moments on that bridge, reading Shakespeare. Nothing like a little bit of Romeo and Juliet to get the day going.
[Subject 001 has proven himself to be a Bills fan, and a loyal one at that. But, to truly determine his love of the team, I had just one last question: Who is his favorite kicker?]
Just because of the records that he holds and the impact that he had on the team, his favorite kicker is Rian Lindell.
I need you help Bills Mafia, I need you to do some more research on Matt Swain. You can find him on Twitter (@MattSw86) and even on UK Bills (@UK_Bills). He also co-hosts the “Red, White and Buffalo Blues” podcast (@RWBB_podcast). Please find all you can about him.
Subject 001 showed promise of the existence of International Bills Fans. The blasphemy of his final answer still hurts me as I sit here writing out this transmission. It seems that Subject 001 is truly a Bills fan, but missed the mark on the kicker.
However, he gave me hope. Enough hope to keep searching, to find even more of these fans. For now, I must leave, I heard a noise over to the west and need to find a safe place for the night. I will send out another message in a matter of days.
Until then, please tell my family I love them and Go Bills!
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Original Featured Image: @UK_Bills Twitter