The Buffalo Bills secured their second playoff berth in three seasons on Sunday night with a hard-fought 17-10 victim against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
And the Bills Mafia, their unique and sometimes over-exuberant fanbase, was keen to show their appreciation for Sean McDermott’s team when they lined up at Buffalo Airport at 2 a.m. in subzero temperatures.
Hundreds of diehards lined the fence at the airport, braving temperatures of 25 degrees Fahrenheit, singing Christmas carols to pass the time, according to WBEN. Then, when the team’s flight touched down, delirious fans greeted quarterback Josh Allen and the rest of the team with cheers. No tables were seemingly harmed in the process of excess celebrations.
BILLS CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT, DEFEAT STEELERS 17-10
“Twenty-six years I wait for this moment, oh my God I’m so psyched,” one fan, named Jason, told WBEN. “Screw work tomorrow, this is bigger than that.”
Allen showed his appreciation to the fans with a simple tweet shortly after landing, saying: “Unreal, Bills Mafia. Thank you!”
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Earlier, after the win at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, head coach McDermott and Allen celebrated with fans who had made the trip.
“Buffalo, we’re coming home and we can’t wait to see you,” McDermott said.
Brandon Beane, the team’s general manager, told Buffalo News: “Find me a fan base that backs their team like this one does, especially with the drought this team had. … Our guys love it. We feel very connected to them and very fortunate.”
Buffalo (10-4) won for the fourth time in five games and recorded its first 10-win season since 1999. The Bills also beat the Steelers for the second time ever in Pittsburgh, first since a 21-point win in the 1993 AFC Divisional playoff round.
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The Bills currently sit in the five seed slot in the AFC playoff picture but have a chance to jump the New England Patriots, who are 11-3. For the Bills to win the AFC East, they need to beat the Patriots next Saturday, and then the New York Jets in the regular season finale, and have the Patriots lose at home against Miami.
The Associated Press contributed to this report