Seen and heard around Ralph Wilson Stadium prior to Bills vs. Texans...
Heightened security: The NFL promised increased security after the terror attacks in Paris, and the county doubled down this week following the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. Bills fans, taking in their first home game since early November, got their first taste of beefed up security Sunday morning.
While the Erie County Sheriff's office always has a strong presence outside Ralph Wilson Stadium, some fans seemed surprised to learn the next level of security included SWAT team members armed to the teeth outside ticket gates, as well as the presence of K9 dogs, members of the bomb squad and agents from homeland security.
Asked for his thoughts on officers carrying large weapons at a football game, Jeff Lindstrom of Orchard Park said was glad to see the heightened security measures.
“I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it,” he said. “It’s just like the airport.”
His friend, Ashley Simula, understood as well. “I live in Manhattan," she said. "This is what you see on the streets.”
The sheriff’s office said this week there were no credible threats against the stadium.
Don’t wait, call 8: Benjamin Maloney lives in Toronto, but he and his friends get several American stations on television. They had sweatshirts made for Sunday’s game with their favorite American commercial: Cellino & Barnes.
Seven friends put the number 8 on the back of the sweatshirts to represent the law firm’s phone number.
Long live 854-2020.
Don’t mess with J.J.: Brandon Carson takes pride in the creativity of the signs he makes for each Bills game. His favorite this season is the one he made for the Giants game: “Friends don’t let friends play with fireworks.” But Carson kept it simple Sunday, going with, “Houston we have a problem.”
He considered targeting Texans all-world defensive end J.J. Watt with his sign, but “I didn’t want to pick on him,” Carson said. “He’s an animal.”
That’s a probably a good decision on Carson’s end. Watt entered Sunday’s game with only 2.5 fewer sacks than the entire Bills team.
Friends in reverse: It’s fairly common for Bills fans to put tape over the nameplate of an old jersey and write the name of the new player over the old one – changing Ryan Fitzpatrick’s No. 14 to Sammy Watkins is probably the best example.
But Tyler Chapman of Toronto did something I’ve never seen before: he went in reverse, changing a J.P. Losman (2004-08) No. 7 jersey back to a Doug Flutie (1998-00) uniform.
“It brings me back to when I was a young fella’ with my dad,” he said. “And I love Flutie Flakes.”
She Doesn’t Even Go Here: Jerseys spotted Sunday that had nothing to do with the Bills-Texans game: When the jackets come on, these are harder to find. All I saw Sunday were Brian Urlacher, Rob Gronkowski and Donald Driver.
Next tailgate: Sunday, Dec. 27 vs. Dallas, 1 p.m.
Follow Nick Veronica on Twitter @NickVeronica