ORCHARD PARK — Bills fans are leaving no stone unturned in hopes of best preparing for the bitter cold they will experience during today’s Buffalo-New England Patriots Wild Card matchup.
High temperatures in the high single digits and forecasted lows near zero degrees are expected for tonight’s playoff contest in Orchard Park, set for 8:15 p.m. at Highmark Stadium. The wind chill factor is expected to drop the ‘real-feel’ temperature into the negatives by kickoff.
While Buffalo sports fans are no strangers to arctic conditions, what they’ll experience tonight is expected to be one of the coldest games in NFL history and is likely the coldest game many will have ever attended. Fans are going to great lengths to ensure they’re bundled up enough to withstand the bitter cold temperatures. And in classic Bills Mafia-style, those preparing for tonight’s game have taken to social media to share some of their advice for fellow fans.
On Twitter, Seth Wallace of Oswego (@HeySethReadThis) tweeted on Friday night that he was washing and drying his cold-weather gear, readying it for the cold night that lay ahead. Wallace described his entire game-day wardrobe in detail.
“Lower: Thermals, wool PJs, corduroys, 2 XL windbreak pants,” Wallace began. “Top: thermals, long sleeve T, button-up flannel, cable knit wool sweater, heavy winter coat, decades-old 3XL -12 JK (Jim Kelly) Jersey. Wool hat, goggles, 2X gloves... Feet: warmers, 2X wool socks, work boots.”
On Facebook, Brad Hilchey of Oakfield had a similar plan of attack to that of Wallace.
“My cold-weather gear consists of Winter Muck boots, heated foot warmers, Cold weather sox, long John’s under jeans, heavy-duty Carhartt bibs, under Armor cold gear turtleneck, Heavy Bills Hoodie, down puff jacket, bills jersey,” said the Genesee County resident.
Hilchey added hand warmers under a good set of gloves is a must.
Plenty of other fans that plan to attend Saturday’s game shared their cold-weather secrets.
Alan Plath of Buffalo shared on Facebook that the key to defeating the elements is wearing a windbreaker under a winter coat.
“Someone told me about it, and it was perfect,” said Plath, recalling past games where he had employed the same strategy.
Jesse Bezon of Corfu believes one part of the body is the most important to keep warm — the feet.
“A piece of styrofoam to stand on to get you off the concrete would definitely help,” shared Bezon in a Facebook comment. “If your feet stay warm, the rest of your body usually follows.”
Others have proposed using cardboard if one doesn’t have access to styrofoam.
Eric Raymond of Batavia believes another body part deserves the most attention.
“Keep your butt warm,” asserted Raymond on Facebook. “Literally froze my (butt off) the last winter game I went to.”
A bit higher up on the body, recalling her experience during the first-ever NHL Winter Classic game between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins at Highmark Stadium in 2008, Julie Stearns of Bowmansville wrote on Facebook that her use of ThermaCare Lower Back Heat Wraps wrapped around her midsection proved invaluable.
“I used Therma care wraps and wrapped it around my core before layers, and I stayed nice and warm,” commented Stearns.
Tim Hens, a Hamburg native residing in Le Roy, mentioned the head as the most critical to keep warm.
“Plan on covering all exposed skin with a balaclava and ski goggles,” said Hens.
Others provided a simple strategy to combat the icy conditions outdoors, and that was to simply watch the game from home.
“The real question should be If your going to the bills game tomorrow should you have your head examined,” wrote Batavia native Jeff Saquella on Facebook.
“Wrapped up in my Buffalo Bill’s blanket on my couch, LET’S GO BUFFALO,” wrote Rita E Bovee of Avon.
While some have chosen to remain inside the comfort of their own home, a capacity crowd of Bills fans is expected to pile into Highmark Stadium tonight. It certainly will be an interesting sight to see with each fan presenting their version of cold-weather gear.
It will be a chilly one at the stadium, but don’t expect that to pour cold water on the raging excitement of Bills Mafia.