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Bills fandom helps Yonkers man dodge traffic ticket

"This is going to be a nightmare," John Rivera remembers thinking as he peered at the flashing police lights behind him.

The Yonkers, NY, resident and diehard Bills fan had been pulled over near East Rock Park in New Haven, Conn., after shooting photos for his photography business.

After presenting his license and registration, Rivera waited nervously in his vehicle - he didn't know why he'd been stopped.

When the officer returned a few minutes later, the driver was met with a stern explanation. "You're getting pulled over because you failed to stop at a stop sign."

Rivera knew he was guilty; he'd missed a stop sign entirely because he'd been distracted, wondering why a police cruiser was stationed in an area where speeding would be unlikely.

"But I'm going to give you a break, a warning," Rivera remembers the officer saying. "I saw the Bills frame on your license plate."

To support his cause, a relieved Rivera tilted his head to reveal the Bills logo emblazoned on the cover of his head rest.

"Four Super Bowl losses in a row, right?" the officer continued. "Seventeen years without making the playoffs," Rivera added.

"Then you've suffered long enough, " the officer said with a laugh.

On Friday morning, Rivera reflected on the fortunate turn of events from earlier in the week.

"Because [the officer] was so serious when he first pulled me over," he recalled, "I didn't expect him to have a sense of humor. That was a pleasant surprise - in addition to not getting a ticket."

Rivera, who works as an information technology specialist while shooting photos on the side, was born in Puerto Rico and didn't know the rules of football until he moved to the United States in the 1980s. His interest coincided with the dawn of the Bills' glory days.

"I started as a bandwagon fan," he admitted in a phone call Friday, "but by the time the run was over, I was invested in the [Bills]. I really loved the team."

Rivera now serves as an admin for #BillsMafia and attended his first football game - a Bills loss - in Buffalo a few years ago. "I still loved being around the fans," he recalled.

Before the officer hopped back into his cruiser, he had parting words for Rivera.

"At least you're not a bandwagon Patriots fan," he said with a chuckle.

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