The last time the Buffalo Bills played a playoff game at home was in December 1996 so it comes as no surprise that the organization is doing all it can to ensure that at least some of its fans are able to enjoy Saturday’s AFC wild-card game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Fans have not been allowed to attend games at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park because of local COVID-19 restrictions but owner and team president Kim Pegula told ESPN on Wednesday that they were given the go-ahead to host around 6,700 fans as long as they and gameday staff get tested.
“It’s such a great sports town, and this being our third year (of the last four) in the playoffs but not having a home (playoff) game in 26 years, it’s really special for the community,” Pegula said. “I’m amazed. Today we tested over 5,000 people and it went really smoothly and we got it done.”
Testing for fans was covered by a $63 surcharge added to the cost of the tickets.
“The state has said, ‘You can plan (for fans at a second playoff game), but there’s no guarantee,'” Pegula continued. “They want to see how this process goes, in terms of mask-wearing, ingress, egress, all of that. So a lot of our messaging to our fans is to just really follow the protocols that are in place.”
Pegula seems optimistic that the Bills will advance but the Colts will present a tough challenge as Philip Rivers looks to get another shot at Super Bowl glory.