Bills Fans Unhappy with Refs in Loss to Bucs Donate to Charity for Visually Impaired

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVDecember 16, 2021

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) runs away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (90) after a catch during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio

Bills Mafia is once again flexing its charitable muscles following Sunday's loss to the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Buffalo mounted a comeback from a 24-3 deficit and had an opportunity to win the game on the final drive of regulation, but a controversial no-call—on a play that replays appeared to show was clearly defensive pass interference against wide receiver Stefon Diggs—led instead to a tying field goal.

Buff-a-Logo @BuffLogo

Nothing to see here <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLOfficiating?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLOfficiating</a> <a href="https://t.co/Y2OhnJYMEb">pic.twitter.com/Y2OhnJYMEb</a>

It was one of several penalty decisions that went against the Bills. That frustration was compounded by the officials making an iffy pass-inference call against cornerback Levi Wallace in overtime to help set up Tom Brady's game-winning touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman for the Bucs.

Terry McAulay @SNFRules

This is not defensive pass interference. The receiver creates the contact. It is especially noteworthy given what was not called late in regulation on the Buffalo 3rd &amp; 2 play. <a href="https://t.co/jQpWye03IO">https://t.co/jQpWye03IO</a>

Katherine Fitzgerald of the Buffalo News reported Thursday that Bills fans have responded by donating over $40,000 to VIA: Visually Impaired Advancement, a nonprofit organization in the city, as a jab toward the refs' lack of vision during Sunday's game.

VIA: Visually Impaired Advancement @viawny

We have seen an incredibly charitable day! Our new total is $40,000. We appreciate your support <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BillsMafia?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BillsMafia</a>! We will keep you updated. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VisuallyImpairedAdvancement?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VisuallyImpairedAdvancement</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBills?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoBills</a> <a href="https://t.co/DM2GYjymD8">pic.twitter.com/DM2GYjymD8</a>

"This is getting us back into the community," VIA's Samantha Burfiend told Fitzgerald. "Maybe there is someone who's visually impaired … and they can find us, and they can give us a call, and we can help them and support them, and using donations toward that support."

It's the latest in a long line of examples of the Bills Mafia, the nickname given to the team's fanbase, helping charities for a wide variety of reasons.

The trend began on New Year's Eve 2017, when donations flooded in to the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation after the then-Cincinnati Bengals quarterback threw a touchdown pass against the Baltimore Ravens that helped the Bills end a 17-year playoff drought. Those donations topped $415,000.

More recently, Bills fans donated over $100,000 to the Food Bank of Northern Louisiana after cornerback Tre'Davious White, a Louisiana native, suffered a season-ending torn ACL in a Thanksgiving Day game against the New Orleans Saints.

The fanbase's giving has continued despite a season that's yet to live up to expectations. The Bills, which entered the year with Super Bowl dreams after reaching the AFC Championship Game last season, own a mediocre 7-6 record and sit on the playoff fringe.

Buffalo will look to jump-start a late-season surge Sunday when it hosts the Carolina Panthers at Highmark Stadium.