“Hey, hey, hey, hey”… It’s a sound synonymous with a city. “Let’s go Buffalo, let’s go Buffalo”… A charging chant in celebration of the Bills.

The "Shout" song has been played in the stadium since 1987, and it’s since been a staple of tailgate lots, bars, and just about anywhere else you’ll find Bills fans. But what if it wasn’t the song you heard blasting after every Bills touchdown? That’s what almost happened 30 years ago.

“Whenever they played it, the fans drowned it out with boos,” Bills fan Patrick Ruffino said.

Ruffino is a big reason that didn’t happen. A lifelong Bills fan, he’s been cheering them on since the AFL championship days when they played in downtown Buffalo. And he was there for the Super Bowl teams of the early 1990s.

By then, the "Shout" song, a takeoff on the Isley Brothers classic, was a hit in its own right.

But prior to the 1993 season, the Bills decided to change their tune. Polaroid owned the rights to the original "Shout" song and wanted the team to pay $10,000 to continue using its version. So they came up with a new one.

“Shout, shout, knock yourself out. I mean, it was an OK thing, but it wasn’t the Bills song. It wasn’t the theme, the fight song,” Ruffino said.

So Ruffino and some fellow fanatics started a committee to save the shout song.

“[It was] pretty much a David and Goliath thing. I mean, a group of crazy Bills fans going up an against a multimillion-dollar organization,” he said.

In an era before cell phones and social media, they wrote letters, called into radio shows and drummed up attention in newspapers locally and nationally. The committee even took up a collection to pay off the royalty fees. Still, even in the preseason that year, the Bills were still playing the new song.

“My feeling I think is it wasn’t until Ralph Wilson personally got involved that the song is still here,” Ruffino said.

Ruffino received a letter from the Bills owner himself.

“It just says you know, he does realize how important it is to the team’s history and the efforts of the Shout Committee, he thank us,” he explained.

In the end, Polaroid waived the royalty fee, and the team went back to the "Shout" song for the 1993 season opener, thanks to the efforts of a few diehards who changed the course of Bills history.

“It would’ve been 30 years of Bills fans never knowing "Shout," never hearing the "Shout" song, never knowing what the "Shout" song was,” he said.

And that’s something to shout about.  

Ruffino is Bills Mafia through and through, even though the fan base was called the "12th Man" when he was leading the efforts to save the Shout song. Thirty years later, he’s still helping his community as he works for 26 Shirts, the company that raises money for those in need through sales of Buffalo-themed gear.

Do you know of someone that should be featured in our next Stampede Stories segment? Head to spectrumlocalnews.com and submit a nomination.