Ryan Fitzpatrick has been vocal about his love for the Buffalo Bills and their fans, and he showed his dedication to the team in dramatic fashion on Saturday night.
The veteran quarterback joined a number of other former Bills players who attended the frigid 47-17 drubbing of the New England Patriots that send the Bills on to the divisional round of the playoffs. But unlike many of his fellow alums, Fitzpatrick watched from the stands alongside fans and braved the single-digit temperatures — and even took his dedication to the next level.
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Fitzpatrick Braves the Elements
The Wild Card playoff game was a big draw for former Bills players, with many flying in to Buffalo to watch as the Bills exorcised the demons of 20 years of Patriots dominance with a dramatic win. The Bills turned in a historic playoff performance, scoring touchdowns on all seven of their drives before a final kneel-down to end the game.
Two beloved players, Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas, were on the field as the team’s “Legends of the Game” and hyped up the crowd prior to kickoff.
But it was the appearance of another beloved former Bills quarterback that caught some of the most viral attention. Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started for the Bills from 2009-2012, attended the game with his sons, sitting in the crowd among the fans and at one point even taking off his shirt while braving the single-digit temperatures.
The pictures earned Fitzpatrick some praise from many Bills fans, and the appreciation appears to be mutual. Though the 39-year-old quarterback has played for nine different teams, but still speaks very highly of his time in Buffalo. Appearing on The Adam Schefter Podcast last season, when he was a member of the Miami Dolphins, Fitzpatrick was asked if he had a favorite team.
“I mean, I can’t like… I’m going to get in trouble if I answer that one,” Fitzpatrick said.
Schefter pried a bit more, noting how much he loved Denver and Chicago.
“Well yeah… that doesn’t make it any easier,” Fitzpatrick said after some prompting. “Cause my favorite NFL city? It’s Buffalo.”
Schefter dug a bit further, asking what made it so special.
“It’s Buffalo. That’s why, because it’s Buffalo,” Fitzpatrick said.
Homecoming in the Works?
There could be a chance that Fitzpatrick is at more home games in the coming season. The Bills will likely have a need at backup quarterback this coming offseason, as Mitch Trubisky signed on a one-year deal is expected to compete for starting positions, an opportunity that the Bills can’t provide.
Fitzpatrick held the starting job with the Washington Football Team this season before undergoing season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his hip. As Liz Roscher of Yahoo Sports noted, Fitzpatrick will be a free agent next offseason and could be an attractive backup option.
“So where does Fitzpatrick go next? At this point it’s hard to tell,” she wrote. “There’s almost always a team that needs a QB like him: an experienced veteran who can help the young guys while giving a solid (and sometimes inconsistent) performance. That’s not a knock on Fitzpatrick — teams genuinely need quarterbacks like him, or else he wouldn’t have been able to last nearly 20 years in the NFL.”