The diagnosis is clear: Western New York has a serious case of playoff fever.
After nearly two decades of promising “there’s always next year,” fans are excited to see their beloved Bills in the post-season, even if it means an extra week or more of stressful situations.
Tim Osberg is a Bills fan who was glued to his TV Sunday, like so many others. "When it got to be fourth and 12, we knew this was it. This was the one play, and we literally ended up hugging and jumping like young kids again."
He’s also a psychology professor at Niagara University.
"It's obviously a tough existence, but I think being that the Bills have had this drought for 17 years, it has tested our faith and I think grown our allegiance to the Bills for everything we've had to go through to get here,” he said. “We know Abraham Maslow felt that above our basic physiological and safety needs, we need to feel like we belong. It gives us that sense of belonging to a community."
There’s no doubt the dedication fans have to their team, but the reception the Bills had when they returned to Buffalo early Monday was certainly a warm welcome home.
"You could just tell by how many people were at the airport at the end of the night, we were just so excited as a town to just move forward and be seen on a national televised event,” said Bills fan Christina Lynch.
Winning does more than just excite fans; it boosts the psyche of the whole area.
"There's a lot of evidence when we identify strongly with a sports team, their successes become our own. It's increased our sense of self-worth,” said Osberg.
Lynch added, "As a city, we are now more grouped together and more excited. Win or lose, I'm still going to be a Bills fan."