I had no idea this was such a big deal. But many in our AFC East community went bonkers after I mentioned last week there were three teams representing the state of the New York -- The Buffalo Bills, New York Giants and New York Jets. Buffalo fans flooded my inbox saying there's just one team in New York state.
Here were some responses:
Paul from Centennial, Colo., writes: Sorry, James, and I honestly mean no offense by this, but if you don't get the "Buffalo is NY's only team" comment, then you are new to the AFC East. And more to the point you are new to the nightmare, black cloud, curse, bad luck, mismanagement, etc that is everything about being from Buffalo and being a Buffalo sports fan. Buffalo IS the red-headed stepchild. Upstate NY'ers hate the nonstop attention that NYC garners. They hate the wealth while the rust belt gets...rustier. They hate being forgotten. Folks in Buffalo have gigantic chips on their shoulders and a monumental inferiority complex.
Mitch from Buffalo writes: Hey James! I read your last blog post from your AFC East mailbag. One of the comments was about how the Bills are the only true New York team and you truthfully admitted that you didn’t get why people think that because even though the Jets and Giants play in the Meadowlands, its only a short ride from the city. The thing is, us Bills fans love to say that because Buffalo is the forgotten city on the wrong end of our own state. When somebody says "I'm from New York", nobody asks you are you from Upstate or Downstate they just assume you live in New York City. The same even when you say "I'm from Buffalo", usually people ask "How close is that to the City?" We take a lot of pride in anything we can put a 'New York' label on because usually all the labels are taken by the City.
Neal from Queens, N.Y., writes: Hey Mr. Walker, next time a Buffalo fan makes the stupid "Bills are the only NY team" comment, remind them that the Jets originally played in Manhattan at the Polo Grounds as the Titans. Then, remind them that the Jets played in Queens, NY, for some 20 years at Shea stadium. Then remind them that they tried to build a stadium in the West Side of Manhattan in 2002, but the polls and concerned citizens shot down the plans. I HATE it when Bills fans say that; they don't know THEIR HISTORY!
Vince Eagle from Orange City, Fla., writes: I think the biggest reason people consider Buffalo the only New York team is that the revenue generated by the Jets and Giants only helps New Jersey. All of the bars and restaurants that are near the stadium get the increased sales and the tax revenue goes to New Jersey.
Colin from L.A. by way of Syracuse, N.Y., writes: I was reading your weekend mailbag wrap up and saw your comments on the New York/New Jersey thing, and thought I might offer an explanation for NY. You are right, the Giants and Jets are NY teams, but more correctly they are NYC teams. Upstate (bastion of the Bills) is proud of its differences from the city, and after 12 years without the playoffs, decreasing prosperity and migration outward, Bills fans hold onto this geographical fact as a major source of pride. For a community fighting hard to retain its identity, this is just another point of pride that fans hold on to. If the Bills do well, expect it to be trumpeted even louder.
Thanks for the explanations, everyone. It doesn't change my stance that New York state has three teams. But now I have a better understanding of how Bills and Jets fans feel about it.