ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) Buffalo Bills merchandise has been flying off the shelves at places like Collector’s Paradise in Eastview Mall. Alec Matz, the floor manager, says the sales boost is a welcome one— the fans, gearing up for the playoff game Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts.
“I hope they go all the way, I really do. You know, I’m cheering for them as a local person,” says Matz.
Outside the store, Don Smith, who has been a Bills game ticket holder for 37 years, won’t be one of the 6,000-plus fans in the stands, but says he’s beaming with pride the Bills are having their first playoff game since 1996.
“Oh my gosh, yes. We’ve come so far, but we’re looking more towards the future. I mean, it’d be great to get the Super Bowl this year,” says Smith.
And restaurants and bars, preparing the best they can for people like Don Smith and the expected fan foot traffic.
“We already have a bunch of reservations, unfortunately, we only have 50 percent capacity,” says Mark Petzing, owner of Shamrock Jack’s Irish Pub at Sea Breeze.
Petzing is actually going to the game. But he wishes this were a time where his staff could open the doors to all. “I feel bad because we will get full and then people get upset when they come in and there’s no room,” he says.
For twin brothers Scott and Jarrod Reed, co-hosts of the Bills fan podcast ‘The K-Gun Report’, like so many, they’d love to join others like Petzing tomorrow at the game or at a pub like Shamrock Jack’s. But they will be opting instead for a small man cave party in the age of COVID-19.
“Instead of 15, 20 people there, there’s going to be five,” says Jarrod. “It’s one of those things with the pandemic. It’s fun but safe,” says Scott.
And for the Bills, win or lose, Matz says this resurgence in Buffalo pride is a score for the region…and for continued sales. “I’m pretty sure Bills fans are still going to be excited and hopeful for next year,” says Matz.
You can watch the Bills vs. Colts game Saturday on WROC News 8. Kick off is at 1:05pm.