During the week before the Buffalo Bills home opener against the New York Jets, Dick DeGroat couldn’t help but feel the familiar buzz that goes hand-in-hand with the start of a new NFL season. He was giddy with anticipation and planned to invite his kids and their children over for a barbecue to watch the game. That’s when DeGroat, a resident of Rochester, says he was hit with a little divine inspiration. The 60-year-old minister decided to make a music video featuring a made-up song called, “Can We Beat The Jets?” – a "Weird Al" Yankovic-style parody on Elton John’s famous “Benny And The Jets.”
“I’ve been involved in church music for a long time, and I was part of a worship band,” DeGroat explained. “So, I’ve written some music before and lyrics come to me pretty easily. It took me less than an hour to figure it all out. Then I got some props together. My wife didn’t know what I was doing, she just heard me rustling around. I asked her to come downstairs for a minute and told her to hold the camera. I took care of the rest.”
Once the video was recorded, DeGroat sent a group text to his family along with the invitation to come over and watch the Bills game. He didn’t think about it again until that Friday, when he and a friend were talking about it at their church group meeting.
“He told me to put it up on YouTube and share it on social media,” DeGroat said. “I had no idea what he was talking about. I’m lucky to be on Facebook. But the next day before the game, he was still texting me and asking me to post it. So, I did. And then it just went crazy.”
DeGroat says the video exploded that weekend when a few Rochester-based news channels picked it up. And Since it was shared across various social media platforms, it now has well over 100,000 views. People began to ask him if he was planning on doing another video for the Bills game against the Carolina Panthers. DeGroat was beside himself. He hadn’t thought that far ahead. But he enjoyed doing the first one so much he figured, why not?
Name: Dick DeGroat
Current location: Rochester, N.Y.
Been a Bills fan for: 40 years
Favorite all-time Bills player: Jim Kelly
Most memorable moment as Bills fan: The Comeback Game against the Oilers in 1992
The next song DeGroat parodied was “Sweet Caroline,” changing the title to “Beat Carolina” and switching up the lyrics. Then came the Denver Broncos game, for which he aptly wrote “Taking Down The Broncos” over the music and lyrics to “Taking Care of Business.” He has successfully created a catchy parody video for every Bills game this season so far. He even did one for the bye week, using *NSYNC’s most popular hit, “Bye, Bye, Bye.”
Still, every week, DeGroat wonders how in the world he's going to top the previous video – especially knowing the Bills plays some of the same teams twice. But he's going to try his best to finish out the season.
"My voice doesn’t sound like it used to and I’m just having fun with it. But I know it makes people happy,” DeGroat said. “It seems like a lot of people are getting a kick out of them. But I had one guy tell me it reminded him of something his father would have done, and his father had recently passed away. With the way the world is lately, if I can make people smile and feel good then I’ve done something good.”
If you or anyone you know is a diehard Bills fan and has an interesting story to tell about rooting for Buffalo no matter where you or they might live, email LynsD21@gmail.com.