STADIUM DUDE’S NFL STADIUM RANK: #29
- Location: Orchard Park, NY
- Opened: 1973
- Capacity: 71,608
- Football weather misery index: 77.6 (worst of 23 outdoor venues)
- Games attended: 8
- Last visited: 2013
The Bills Mafia is certifiably nuts. The tailgate is among the craziest, booziest, and rowdiest in football. You want to see grown-ass men jump off RV’s in an attempt to smash through a flaming portable table? This is the place. I’m convinced the excessive pre-game binge-drinking numbed this dedicated fan base into repeatedly coming out in snowy weather for decades of mediocre football.
Having come here several times, I still struggle to review it. The Rich Stadium/ Ralph Wilson Stadium/ New Era Field/ Bills Stadium/ Highmark Stadium game plan usually involved a party bus to the park (where we’d start drinking at 7am) before tailgating with the maniacs for a few hours. By the time the actual game kicked off at 1, we’d often be lubricated enough that all we wanted was a Beef on Weck and a chance to sing “Shout” (a Buffalo Bills version of the Isley Brothers’ classic) after a Bills’ score. God help you if it was a late afternoon or night game.
I haven’t been there for a while, but I can say definitively that the stadium experience doesn’t match the pre-game. As one of the older stadiums in the league, it still feels rather ramshackle and minor league, despite several renovations. It’s as if you took a Division II stadium and plopped a large upper deck on it. And for half the season’s home games, you risk sitting in a blizzard. It’s underwhelming. Fortunately, you (and at least 50,000 other Bills fans) are likely be so corked from the tailgate, you won’t remember those shortcomings.