Following the Compass: Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills


I got back home from a great trip to the Buffalo area (including a stop in Akron, because I missed out on a trip there a few years back, and a stop in Kalamazoo on the way home, as I won’t be able to make it to the FtC game there in November), in which I visited the venerable Ralph Wilson Stadium. Venerable, in this case, simply means “old”.

Walking into the stadium (which is out in the middle of nowhere), we noted no fewer than 6 guys standing near trees and urinating. Most of them were pointed at some woods, but there was at least one that found a sapling in the middle of an open field. This flagrant display of public nudity/urination was aided by a bountiful supply of Zubaz, at least one style being sold in the Bills team store

Perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised that so many people were watering the foliage outside. Both the men’s and women’s restrooms in our section were flooded and closed. They also shut down the concession stand in our area, because, thanks to the sound judgement of the Buffalo Bills organization, they decided against selling feces soaked hot dogs. The hot dogs we DID get, however, had buns so stale they were crunchy.

The concourses of the stadium seemed to lie both above and below ground, with the outside concourses seeming just to be a fenced in…. area. The internal concourses were narrow death traps. Oddly enough, even though there was sewage flowing freely and the stadium is one of the oldest in the game, it didn’t smell musty or like waste. Instead, it sort of smelled like pretzels. Don’t know why.

This was probably the best fan experience I’ve ever had at a game. By the second quarter, every time the Bills did something good, we were part of a round of high fives from everyone sitting around us. The first time the Bills scored, I was hit in the face. I assume this is because the Bills fans aren’t very good at celebrating. But yes. I simply had a Bills hat, the fans around me weren’t drinking heavily, but by the second quarter, dudes were demanding I high 5 them. I have never been so readily accepted anywhere.

One thing that I enjoyed about the experience was finding out the common opinion is about several of the players on the team. Namely that they are really rooting for EJ Manuel, and that the fans prefer Fred Jackson to CJ Spiller. They also preferred Tashard Choice to CJ Spiller. Generally speaking, the Bills fans did not care for Spiller.

One thing that was impressive was the Bills defense. They had 5 interceptions, Marcel Dareus (current player with the most fans wearing his jersey. Otherwise maybe Thurman Thomas) seemed to constantly be in the backfield, and Mario Williams even made a few appearances, making stops in the backfield. The Bills offense wasn’t special on this occasion, but with the defense as dominant as it was, they didn’t have to be.

One other highlight for me. A Bills fan yelled at every Ravens fan that “Ray Lewis killed a guy!” He had nothing to say to the gentleman wearing a OJ Simpson jersey.

Like I said, this game turned out to be an awesome fan experience, and the game was close, and while it may not have been the best played game (8 turnovers!) , it was an excellent NFL experience.

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