David Nelson was everybody's "paisan" after his game-winning catch against Oakland. Getty
Bills Mafia welcomed another free agent to Buffalo, when Brad Smith joined the crew from the New York Jets. His ability to pass, run and catch was the perfect ammunition for attacking the enemy and early in the season, the Bills could not be stopped.
Buffalo won its first three games, including a pair of memorable come-from-behind wins over Oakland and New England, and Fandemonium returned to Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Young players like WR David Nelson came through big in high-pressure moments, and the excitement got so intense, a local musician named Matt Diddy put the madness into words with the rap tunes “Buffalo’s Back” and “Buffalo’s Back Remix.”
Bills Mafia understands the negative connotations of the term "mafia", which is derived from the Italian words Cosa Nostra. Its members also defend themselves, when it's suggested that their name is loosely based on the notorious mob families that have existed in New York State for decades.
But as one fan suggested on the popular Bills Forum, The Stadium Wall, Bills Mafia is a metaphor for the close connection between Buffalo's football organization, the city, and its nationwide family of fans.
"This started as a very noble thing -- the idea that too many people rag on Buffalo, its team, its players. Instead of absorbing the negativity and either letting it go (or worse, echoing it), these guys decided to defend the city and the players. Some team members picked up on the vibe, on the sense of camaraderie, and used it to bond, and to build a oneness with the community.
I just can't see this as bad. To me, it feels like a beautiful thing -- one of the many aspects that makes Buffalo a special place, and the Bills a unique team to root for. It's not about "thug life" or anything, but about unity."