The New England Patriots ... not necessarily an exciting topic for Buffalo Bills fans.
As any loyal Bills fan knows, whenever these two teams face off, it seems to make for an action-packed 60 minutes of football.
The two teams played their first regular season game against each other on Sept. 23, 1960, years before the AFL-NFL Merger in 1966.
The Boston Patriots, as they were known at the time, played at their home stadium, Nickerson Field, in Boston. The Bills went on to win the game by a commanding score of 13-0.
Since then, the all-time record between the teams has become 71-43-1, in favor of the Patriots.
Since being selected 199th overall in the 2000 draft, quarterback Tom Brady has risen to fame under the "Bill Belichick Dynasty," and led the Patriots to becoming one of the best teams in the NFL today. Belichick became the head coach of the Patriots that same year. Tom Brady now has five Super Bowl victories, all with the Patriots, and all under Belichick.
As a team, the Bills have only made four Super Bowls in team history, from 1990 to 1993. The Bills were (and still are) the only team to appear in four consecutive Super Bowls and not win a single one. And as unlikely as it may seem, the New England Patriots did not play in any of those AFC Championship games.
Flash forward to 2017, and it’s a completely different story. The Buffalo Bills have now not even appeared in an NFL playoff game since 1999, a 17-season drought. This also happens to be the record for the longest playoff drought in major North American Sports. The Bills-Patriots rivalry has continued to grow, now infamous across the NFL.
Last summer, my family took a trip to Cape Cod and the Boston area. I’d recently found a pair of Buffalo Bills sunglasses, and while I was packing, I decided to try wearing these sunglasses through Boston and Cape Cod. I thought it would be interesting to wander through "Patriots Territory" with these sunglasses.
My family was jokingly concerned for my well-being, as we had no idea what sort of reactions I would receive. Nonetheless, they were on board with my idea.
The first few days didn’t yield any notable reactions from locals. Sure, there were occasional awkward stares and maybe a snicker or two, but no blood was shed.
Later that week, we went to see an all-male a capella vocal group called the Hyannis Sound in Falmouth, Mass.
One of the members is from Rochester.
After the concert, the audience got to meet the singers. I wore my Bills sunglasses to the concert, and was pleased to meet the singer from Rochester with them on my head.
As we were talking, he noticed my sunglasses and shouted the phrase, "Bills Mafia!" which has become a nickname for Bills fans.
The next days contained the usual awkward glances and occasional frowns from Patriots fans.
Another notable response from a Bills fan came when we visited Chatham, another small town in Cape Cod.
My family was just walking down the street, when a pedestrian chanted "Go Bills!" as if he wanted to make sure that the whole town could hear him. At first I was taken aback, before realizing that he had noticed my sunglasses. I then replied with a similar, "Yeah! Go Bills!" and kept walking, glad that we weren’t the only Bills fans in the area.
Looking back on that week, I’m honored to call myself a Bills fan.
Bryan Renzoni is a sophomore at Clarence High School.