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Bruce Andriatch: The most memorable Bills game I have ever (sort of) seen

The question isn't "Why did you go to the game?"

The better question is "Where were you?"

Because you missed a day that thousands of us will never forget.

Sunday's near-blizzard that was occasionally interrupted by a Bills-Colts game was not the most exciting game I've ever seen in person. (That would be Bills-Raiders, 1974, on Monday Night Football, remembered by fans as "the Ahmad Rashad game.")

It was not the best performance by a Bills team. (You would be hard-pressed to come up with something that topped the AFC Championship game following the 1990 season that sent the Bills to their first Super Bowl or the Comeback Game on Jan. 3, 1993.)

It also was not the worst weather I have experienced at a Bills game. (The winner and still champion is the divisional round playoff against the Raiders following the 1993 season, when the wind-chill factor dipped to 25 degrees below zero.)

The News' T.J. Pignataro, who often writes about severe weather, looks at home in the conditions. (Photo by Stephen T. Watson)

But I think I speak for a lot of Bills fans when I say this: It was the most memorable game I have ever seen.

The parts of it we could see, anyway.

It was a last-minute decision to attend. Tickets on StubHub and other secondary markets could be had for under $10 for the "cheap seats," and not much more than that for the lower bowl. So five lunatics of my acquaintance – including my father – agreed to join me.

That was before we heard what the weather could be. I like to think we all would have gone even if we knew what we were facing. I know I would have.

The storm rolled in while we were cleaning up after tailgating. It picked up steam while waiting to enter the stadium. When we arrived at our seats around 1:15 p.m., 31 rows from the field, the game was nothing more than a rumor.

"Who's in white?" I asked a guy in front of me, who was wearing a Santa Claus coat.

"The Colts ... I think," he replied.

"Who has the ball?"

"We do. I think."

"Has anyone tried to throw a pass yet?"

"I'm not really sure."

As the conditions worsened, the mood in the stadium seemed to head in the opposite direction. It was hard not to laugh at what was happening or that we were trying to watch it happen in the face of near-zero visibility. When you're in the middle of something so bizarre as to be unbelievable, you can either complain or enjoy. We – and I mean everyone who was within cheering distance of me – chose the latter.

The Buffalo News' Stephen T. Watson, who covers Amherst, is bundled up. (Photo by T.J. Pignataro)

It goes without saying that this was not your typical game, especially the first three quarters. When either quarterback dropped back to pass, it was hard to believe the ball would travel anywhere near where he intended.

A roar would rise up when a Bills running back would turn the corner but then we would look up at the scoreboard and see that the player had gained only a yard or two.

"What yard line do you think we're on?" I asked my new friend.

"Maybe the 30. Could be the 45. I don't know."

For a while, we thought a record would be set for fastest game played; with so few passes and so few runners making it out of bounds, the clock just kept rolling. But the game kept getting delayed by the army of shovelers and leaf-blower operators who were fighting a losing battle.

The highlight may have been when either team attempted to kick a field goal or an extra point. At one time, I saw a group of men whose net worth had to be in the neighborhood of $50 million trying desperately to wipe snow off the ground with their hands and feet so a spot could be made to put the ball down.

How do you not laugh at that?

But because these are the Bills, it seemed like all the fun would end with a loss. The fact that it didn't only meant that the moments between the kickoff and the final gun would be guaranteed to make us smile for a long time.

At least a week, anyway. Ask me how I feel next Sunday.

[PHOTO GALLERY: A Bills game like no other: Buffalo 13, Indianapolis 7 (OT)]

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