Without much warning, the Buffalo Bills gave their mascot a serious face lift and filmed a fairly amusing video of the process.
New look. Same Billy Buffalo.
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) August 26, 2018
When Billy Buffalo led the charge out of the locker room before Sunday's preseason loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Twitter erupted with analysis of the furry motivator-ombudsman's new features.
And, despite a few approving voices - most notably Bills mega-fan Pancho Billa - the majority of fan reaction was that of bewilderment, mockery and a little anger.
In fact, there were many profane tweets that can be softened to "the new Billy Buffalo looks rather wimpy."
Jason Ballok, who wore the Billy Buffalo costume from 2006 to 2011, offered a more measured response.
"Initial reaction to new 'characters' are usually negative and will ease up over time," he explained. "Overall I think they did a good job. The hump had to go and smiles are contagious. The kids will love refreshed Billy and the adults who don’t will always have the Mafia."
Soooo..uh... is anyone else out there a little disappointed with the new Billy Buffalo mascot? #BillsMafia
— Brian Grove (@bgrover05) August 27, 2018
— mary (@emminger_11) August 27, 2018
Billy Buffalo got a face-lift, ditched his pants and sneakers and grew some hair on his elbows? https://t.co/okB0jmLR4k
— Helmet Addict (@HelmetAddict) August 27, 2018
The Bills O-line was so bad today that we totally forgot to address the travesty that is the new Billy Buffalo. Looks like a frigging budget Care Bear.
— George Privateer (@gprivateer) August 27, 2018
— Pancho Billa (@PanchoBilla1) August 26, 2018
The new Billy Buffalo looks like he belongs on Teen Titans: Go.
— Sam Rodriguez 🎮 (@SammyR0d) August 26, 2018
— Buffalo Sports Fan (@BuffaloSportsF2) August 26, 2018
Man.... Billy Buffalo looking THICCC
— Wany (@thehodowan) August 26, 2018
[Quick editor's note: Wasn't the purpose of refreshing Billy Buffalo to make him look less thicc?]
Idk if I’m more mad at the new billy buffalo outfit or the O-line rn 🤨
— lex (@LexiDahn) August 26, 2018
WHAT DID THEY DO TO BILLY BUFFALO'S FACE?!
— Matt Broconier (@MattBroconier) August 26, 2018
— TC Bushnell (@Bittajade) August 26, 2018
— Duffy on WCMF (@DuffyOnWCMF) August 26, 2018
Billy Buffalo visited Dr Pimple Popper I see
— Mike Monaghan (@lifewithmikey52) August 26, 2018
My wife likes the new Billy Buffalo better and I’m now questioning who I married.
— Duke K Rool (@DukeOfAwesome) August 26, 2018
The previous iteration of Billy Buffalo was introduced for the 2000 season, the first of the Bills' 17-year-long playoff drought.
Superstitious Buffalo football fans will hope that this peripheral change - which has nothing to do with a shaky offensive line, uncertain quarterback situation and still-looming running back legal drama - won't be a harbinger for things to come.