Even though there are still 81 days until the 2022 NFL season officially starts, the Buffalo Bills‘ official Instagram account is doing an incredible job of getting fans hyped right now. On Saturday, June 18, the team posted a photo of backup quarterback Matt Barkley which caused quite a stir for Bills Mafia.
The USC alum, who previously served as quarterback Josh Allen‘s backup between 2018 and 2020, re-signed with Buffalo in March. Even though the Bills had already traded with the Cleveland Browns to bring in Case Keenum to replace Mitch Trubisky, adding Barkley, who remained close friends with Allen, brought a familiar face to the quarterbacks’ room.
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To honor Barkley’s return to Buffalo in 2022, the Bills had the 31-year-old recreate an iconic moment in franchise history. The Bills captioned the post, “Oh Mama. 😏 #BillsMafia,” which quickly racked up tens of thousands of likes.
One fan commented, “IF YOU KNOW YOU KNOW,” while another person simply commented, “Renegade!!!” A fan account noted, “Only the real ones know.”
Barkley Called ‘The Renegade’ Moment Against the Steelers ‘A Highlight of the Year’
The viral picture references the Bills’ primetime Sunday Night Football matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers in December 2019. The game was tied 10-10 with just over 10 minutes left on the clock when Heinz Field started playing the 1978 Styx hit, “Renegade,” which got the hometown fans riled up.
With the entire stadium on their feet, waving their Terrible Towels, NBC broadcasters Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth explained to viewers that the Styx song was “the Steelers rallying cry,” as reported by The Athletic‘s Tim Graham on December 16, 2019.
“The cameras, however, didn’t show how the visitors responded,” Graham continued. The Bills, inundated with ‘Renegade’ at practice too many times to venture an accurate number, erupted in euphoria. Defensive linemen Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson wailed on air guitars. Backup quarterback Matt Barkley took off his parka and whipped it around overhead.”
“We finally heard our song!” Bills former defensive end Jerry Hughes said at the time. “And when you get to hear it, with all the Terrible Towels waving and the fans going crazy, it had us fired up. We said, ‘If this is a playoff atmosphere, we’re ready for it.'”
Shortly after the song played, Allen threw a 40-yard pass to wide receiver John Brown and got into the endzone for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown on the next play.
While Hughes recently signed with the Houston Texans this offseason, the stars of this “Oh, Mama,” sidelines moment are back in Buffalo. In addition to Barkley, defensive end Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips both re-signed with the Bills this offseason.
Barkley Has Taken Over Cole Beasley’s Jersey Number
While thousands of fans absolutely loved the new photo of Barkley, especially the Step Brothers inspired photo featuring Allen posted the day before, others noticed the veteran quarterback was wearing his usual jersey number. While he’s worn either #5 or #7 throughout his career, Barkley will wear No. 11 for the 2022 NFL season, which used to belong to Cole Beasley, whom the Bills released this offseason.
The No. 5 jersey was already taken by wide receiver/kick returner Marquez Stevenson and cornerback Taron Johnson recently switched to No. 7.
In addition to the Bills, the NFL journeyman has played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons, and the San Francisco 49ers.
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