ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — A big part of what makes the Bills so special are of course the fans. News 4’s Kelsey Anderson met up with a handful of those diehard fans before the divisional matchup between the Bills and Bengals, to get their background and what it would mean for them to go all the way this season.
We all know the colorful ceremony that happens outside Highmark Stadium every home game: mustard and ketchup rains down on Ken Johnson, otherwise known as Pinto Ron. His nickname comes from the car that is found at his tailgate in Hammer’s Lot every week: a Pinto he bough for $300 back in 1986. After a few years as the family car, he turned it into a grill on gamedays.
“Somewhere around 1991-92, my wife thought we needed a new car,” Pinto Ron said. “She was grateful I got a new one, and I just started dedicating the Pinto as a tailgating car.”
The super fan has been to an incredible 464 games in a row. He hasn’t missed one game, home or away, since the early 1990’s. So what will Pinto Ron be doing if the team wins the Super Bowl?
Well… he’s not quite sure yet. But he says he does fear for one place.
“I fear for the airport when they (the team) come back,” he said. “You see how many people come back from just an ordinary win and just flood the whole airport area and greet the Bills.”
John Lang, otherwise known as Bills Elvis, says he can’t wait for the parade if (when) the Bills go all the way.
“I’ll probably have to take a couple weeks off from work hahaha there will be a lot of celebrating,” Bills Elvis said.
His Elvis persona began in 1992. Back then, a friend of his bet him he couldn’t make it on tv during a game. So he wrote ‘Squish the Fish’ on a guitar he had laying around his apartment and did in fact make it on the broadcast. At the end of the game, the fans in his section of the stadium yelled at him that he needed to keep doing it… so the rest is history.
He’s been to all but four home games since ’92, and goes to a decent amount of away games as well. He was in Cincinnati when Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field.
“The place was so quiet,” he said. “You could hear the defibrillator from where I was.”
He said the support he felt from Cincinnati fans was like nothing he’s ever experienced.
“I had fans coming up going, ‘Hey Elvis, let me give you a hug,'” he said. “I don’t even know how many of them came up to me, tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Hey, I really hope your guy is alright.’ It was very touching.”
Bills Elvis is the ‘Bills Fan of the Year’ this season, and is up for the ‘NFL Fan of the Year.’ He will be at the Super Bowl because of that nomination. You can still vote for him, here.
BILLS MAFIA BABES:
Kristen Kimmick started the group, ‘Bills Mafia Babes’ back in 2016. She’s been a fan of the team her entire life and wanted a safe space to talk football. In the last seven years, that group has grown into a community of 27,000 women all over the world.
It was a dream of hers to go to every game, home and away, for years and this year she made it happen. It was the season that one game was moved because of snow, and another was stopped short because of Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest on the field.
“There’s definitely been some adversity this season, but I think that’s what makes this our Cinderella story,” Kimmick said.
She said although she’s been to every game this season so far, she knows she won’t want to be at the Super Bowl. She said she wants to be here in Buffalo in that moment.
“I want to be in the city where we went through all of this together, where we dealt with all the things we dealt wit this year,” she said. “I think this would have healing powers in it too, because it just brings everyone back together.”
Chefs Derrick Norman and Richard Peterson, otherwise known as ‘Chefs Norm and Poo’ run one of the biggest tailgate parties outside Highmark Stadium. They’ve been season ticket holders for decades and also go to many away games.
They say said the adversity the team, city and fans have been through have made the fanbase stronger, and will make it that much sweeter if we win on February 12th.
“The whole community has gotten stronger,” Chef Norm said. “The whole fanbase, the whole city has grown together.”
“We’re going to come together as one community and make this thing go the right way,” said Chef Poo.