49 yards and 17 years: Buffalo recalls its New Year's miracle

0 Comment

Rookie first-round pick Josh Allen will make his first start for the Buffalo Bills this Sunday, but he might be only the second-most-popular quarterback to fans at New Era Field attending the team's third preseason game.

Andy Dalton is expected to be the star of the show when the Cincinnati Bengals arrive in town for the first time since knocking out the Baltimore Ravens last season in the teams' regular-season finale to give the Bills their first playoff berth since nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

Dalton became a folk hero in Buffalo when his improbable 49-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyler Boyd on fourth-and-12 sent the Bills to the playoffs to end a 17-year drought.

"Somebody said [Dalton] could run for mayor in Buffalo and put up a fight against Byron Brown in an election if he wanted to," said Del Reid, the co-founder of the "Bills Mafia" fan group and creator of 26 Shirts, a Buffalo-based company that sells T-shirts and donates part of its proceeds to local, charitable organizations.4

The Bengals' heroics spurred Bills fans to begin donating to the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation, mostly in increments of $17 because of the number of years of Buffalo's playoff drought. In total, more than $415,000 has been donated to Dalton's charity as a result of his touchdown to Boyd.

"I love that story because, as a club, we do a lot of things -- PR, marketing -- we do a lot of stuff, [but] that was totally fan-based," Bills owner and president Kim Pegula said this week. "I love how organic that was and how it represented our fans. We get a lot of flak for jumping on the tables and some of the craziness we do. But then for our fans to kind of turn it around and show that kind of respect and appreciation to an opposing team, I’m sure our fan base is going to be very appreciative and give him a very big welcome, for sure."

Dalton and his wife, Jordan, are giving back to Buffalo. On Sunday, she will announce a donation to pediatric department of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and host a gathering of Bills fans, including Reid and Kevin Forrest, the first fan to donate to Dalton's charity. The Bills then will host the Bengals at 4 wholesale nike nfl jerseys

"Not that it’s possible after all that money getting donated, but I think [the Daltons] are going to be very surprised at the reception that they get even eight months later," Reid said this week. "I think it’s going to be pretty cool. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m so glad it’s a preseason game, too. It’s going to have more of a lighthearted feel to it."

Tags: , , , ,