As the starting quarterback of an NFL team, there’s not much left unknown about Josh Allen.
The Buffalo Bills’ second-year quarterback has become accustomed to the attention that comes with his high-profile position. Every national reporter who visits Orchard Park is looking to unearth a never-before-heard Allen story.
How he made it from the farmlands of tiny Firebaugh, Calif. – with a population of less than 8,000 – to his current job has been well documented. But what gives him the courage to pick Justin Bieber as his favorite musical artist? Here it is, along with more about Allen’s life away from One Bills Drive …
The Buffalo News: Why is "Stepbrothers" the best Will Ferrell movie?
Josh Allen: “Him and John C. Reilly, they go very well together. Most of their early work is fantastic. I wouldn't say that their last piece of film was very good. I watched like 10 minutes of it, the Holmes and Watson one. Not good. I don't know, I just kind of grew up on that – me and my brother. We kind of related because of the challenges that they faced in that movie and ended up becoming best friends. Me and my brother are best friends, so I think that's probably why it's my favorite.”
BN: That was a loaded question. It's my favorite, so I wanted to see if you agreed. If you want to pick another one, you can.
JA: “No. No. That one, and then I'm going to go with 'The Other Guys.' It's a very underrated movie. Not many people give it a chance. Him and Mark Wahlberg are fantastic in that one. He just plays an awkward, by the book guy, and he's got his alter ego of 'Gator.' I've watched Will Ferrell films over and over and over again, so I know them pretty well.”
BN: So comedy movies, those are right up your alley?
JA: “Yeah. I'm not a big, serious, drama guy. I will do the action thrillers. Speaking of Mark Wahlberg, 'Shooter,' that's one of my favorite movies of all time, too. But comedy is probably my go-to.”
BN: Your hidden talent is juggling? How'd that come about?
JA: “Just one day I did it. I had tennis balls and started trying it. It requires some good hand-eye coordination. I think it helps develop that, too. I did that when I was little. Going to swim meets, I just started juggling.”
BN: Has this progressed to swords or flaming bowling pins or anything like that?
JA: "None of that. Not yet. Wait until football's done for that one."
BN: If you were on 'America's Got Talent,' would juggling impress Simon Cowell?
JA: “No, no. I can only do the regular three balls. That's not very impressive. I've got a couple good magic tricks – card tricks. I've won some money off those. So if you want to lose some money, let me know. That's probably it. There's not many other cool things I can do.”
BN: That works. Magic plays well in Vegas.
BN: Tell me about your pregame routine, from the time you wake up to the ball kicks off. Is it the same every week?
JA: “Yeah. Wake up at 8:30. Obviously we stay at the team hotel, so it's get up, shower, brush your teeth, comb your hair. All that stuff. Put on your 'fit' (read: fancy clothes) for the walk through the tunnel. People take pictures there, so you've got to look kind of nice. I probably arrive here 2 1/2 hours before kickoff. I'll get into our game locker room and hang out in there. About two hours before kickoff, I'll go out on the field and throw for 30 minutes. Go back in and chill for 30, 35 minutes and then we're ready to go.”
BN: You only listen to Elvis on your pregame playlist. What got you into that?
JA: “I don't really know. Last year, iTunes rereleased some of his essential music. I downloaded all of them, and I just go through that playlist when I'm out on the field. That's really all I play. Right when I'm in the locker room before we go out to the field, I'll turn on a couple other things to try to get me pumped up, but when I'm on the field in pregame, that's basically all I'm doing. Keeping a relaxed state of mind.”
BN: Any superstitions?
JA: “Not really. Any time, I'm listening to music or radio, it's got to be an even number. If I'm watching TV, and someone turns the volume to 37, I can't focus until it's turned to 38 or 36. It has to. I'm not superstitious, but I guess I’m a little ‘stitious.’ ”
BN: You pick Justin Bieber as your favorite musical artist. How much heat do you take in the locker room for that?
JA: “Not much. You can ask Lorenzo Alexander. He's got a little Google system, so every time in the St. John Fisher locker room, I'd walk in and be like, 'Hey Google, play Bieber.' Lorenzo didn't like it very much. I think the majority of our row enjoyed Bieber. I'd say half, if not more. Secretly, I think everybody likes him, they're just afraid to admit it.”
BN: Is Bar Bill your spot for a restaurant in Buffalo if you had to pick one?
JA: “Obviously, wing mood, that would be my go-to. O.P. Social is pretty dang good. Their appetizers are fantastic. I go to Mangia quite a bit. I know the owner there. He's a really good guy. There's a few other spots. Ilio DiPaolo's is fantastic. I'm a big fan of Lucia's on the Lake in Hamburg. That one's good. And then downtown, Buffalo Chophouse and Toutant are my go-to. And SEAR.”
BN: What's the ideal wing order?
JA: “I usually get 20. Half hot and half honey-butter BBQ, cajun style. I'm a spicy wing guy myself. Then you have to get fries with it. Have to. So it's not the healthiest diet, but when I have a cheat day, that's what I'm doing.”
BN: Team owner Terry Pegula recommended Bar Bill to you, right?
JA: “Yeah. I was here on my (pre-draft) visit and got snowed in. So some of the guys here were like, 'Dude, you've got to go to Bar Bill.' So we went and hung out and they were the best wings I've ever had. When I got drafted here, I was like, 'I can't wait to get back to that spot.' ”
BN: I never watched 'Game of Thrones,' but you picked it as your favorite TV show of all time.
JA: “Knowing now, I'd probably change that.”
BN: It seemed like everyone had an opinion on the last season. What was yours?
JA: “It was terrible. I'm just kidding. The writers did such a good job of telling stories the previous seven seasons. Every season was 10 episodes or more. That was like what they were known for. Then all of a sudden this last season, it was six. It's like, 'OK, they're going to be like two hours each.' No, they were an hour each. Just the way it ended, I had so much more higher expectations for what should have happened or what could have happened. What they gave us, I was just like, I can't accept that. In my mind, I had thought of so many different possibilities. I had watched so many different videos of what could happen. So many different conspiracy theories about 'Game of Thrones.' I mean, I spent hours upon hours of diving into it. Then get into that final season, and it falls off a cliff. I know there are some people who liked the ending ... but I just wished they gave a little more back story of what happened. It seemed like they rushed the ending.”
BN: Let's talk golf. What is it that attracted you to the sport, and how serious are you about it?
JA: “I love it. I tie it in with my affinity for throwing the football. I think it's very similar, what you feel when you throw a good pass and when you hit a good golf shot. Obviously when I'm throwing the ball, there are a few different variables. A guy is trying to tackle me, placement of the ball, things like that. Then when you're out on the golf course, it's wind, elevation. There are a lot of things that go into that, too, so I put it in that same context. I've been able to go to a couple Masters and a couple U.S. Opens now. I plan on going to as many as I can. I just love watching competitive golf and how they can shape the ball. There's so many things in a golf swing that can go wrong in the shortest amount of time. It's just crazy how some people have been so good in being able to do that consistently. I'm sure they kind of look at football players and quarterbacks in the same way, how they throw the ball and things like that, but personally, I find a similarity between those two things.”
BN: You mentioned Tiger Woods was your favorite athlete growing up. What attracted you to him?
JA: “Not just his domination, but how he went about things. He was always like, 'I came here to win. I'm going to do whatever I can to win.' He wasn't afraid to voice his opinion on that matter. People were like, 'Why do you look so angry when you're golfing?' 'I'm not angry. I'm focused. I came out here to win. If anybody came out here not to win, I think they're doing this for the wrong reasons.' Just the way that he forced himself to be the best golfer he can be.”
BN: Outside of the food scene, what's your favorite thing you've done in this community?
JA: “Going to Niagara Falls was one of the most unbelievable experiences of my life. Went on the Maid of the Mist. I'm not a very nostalgic person, but being down there and seeing how big the falls actually are. It was kind of surreal to be in that position. That was cool. ... The people are just fantastic. Anywhere I go, it's friendly faces, friendly people. I don't really go out much. I just kind of hang out at the house.”
BN: You got a chance to go to Monaco this offseason. How was that?
JA: “We were there for 2 1/2 days and most of it was flying. I got the opportunity to go and I took it. I was asked four days prior to it, and I didn't have any plans. That was one of the bucket list things I had on my list. I got to get in a Ferrari and drive the track with a professional driver. I got in there and was like, 'Go as fast as you can. I want it all.' I took a video of the whole thing. Just the experience of being there – this was my first time in Europe, too, so seeing how different it was over there, but how much people respect that sport (Allen was there for the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix). I got to understand a little better about the technology and what goes into these cars. It's just insane how much thought, technology and money is put into these cars. How loud they are, how fast they are, how respected the drivers are from everybody that goes to these events. It was an eye-opener just to show me there are other things out there.”
BN: Are you a big car guy?
JA: “I have a liking for cars, but I don't plan on buying many. I do enjoy the sound and the look, though.”
BN: What was your first big purchase after you got drafted?
JA: “Probably my car. It's a Range Rover. I grew up always wanting one. I was at a (San Francisco) Giants game and I saw Barry Bonds in a Range Rover when I was like 8 years old. Ever since then, I was like, 'That's the coolest thing ever.' So I did that. I got the Sport, so it goes pretty fast. I probably drive it a little faster than I actually should, but it feels pretty good.”
BN: How rewarding was that, to make one of your dreams come true?
JA: “As athletes, we work pretty hard to get where we're at. To step back and do something for yourself once, that's kind of what I did. I got the car of my dreams. That's really all I need. I've got a house here in Buffalo, and I really don't need much else. I'm trying to be smart with my money – save most of it, invest in the right way and when the time comes, take care of my family when needed."
BN: Finally, what’s your favorite spot to go to get away from football?
JA: “I'm a big Southern California guy. I live in central California, and I go back there and it gets pretty hectic with my family and people wanting to see you and take you to dinner. It's tough because I always put on extra weight when I go there, because I'm always going to dinner. When I'm in Southern California, it's just on the beach. No one really cares about anything else. They're not really big on football. They're just into their beaches and their weather, so that's probably my go-to spot.”
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