A heavy snowstorm blanketed the field at Highmark Stadium ahead of the Buffalo Bills‘ matchup against the Miami Dolphins on Saturday, December 17, and while the field was cleared before kickoff, the stands remained filled with snow.
While the Dolphins packed 1,400 pounds of protective gear to play in the snow, they didn’t have anything to protect them from flying snowballs. During the game, fans continuously pelted snowballs onto the field, the bulk of which appeared to be targeting Dolphins players. While a digital sign went up at Highmark stadium asking fans to stop throwing snowballs, the message didn’t work.
With about eight minutes left in the second quarter, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel approached referee Bill Vinovich, per SB Nation, and the game was officially paused. New York Upstate‘s Ryan Talbot tweeted, “According to Peter Schrager, Mike McDaniel is asking officials if the Bills can be penalized” for the fans throwing snowballs.
The ref then announced the following message on the stadium’s loudspeaker, “Please stop throwing snowballs. We’ve just been informed that if a snowball hits someone, it’ll be a 15-yard penalty against Buffalo.”
ESPN‘s Dan Graziano tweeted, “A couple of extra stadium security guards have moved into the stands behind the Dolphins’ sideline. I’m guessing Miami’s players and coaches were not thrilled about the snowball situation.”
While Dolphins fans were happy to see their coach take a stand, Bills Mafia couldn’t believe it. Brooke Kromer, whose father is Aaron Kromer, Buffalo’s offensive line coach went off on McDaniel. Kromer referred to the insane heat the Bills played in (while the Dolphins’ bench remained in shade) against Miami back in Week 3 and tweeted, “We died of heat stroke & I didn’t hear Sean McDermott complaining during the game… now Mike McDaniel wants a 15 yard penalty for snowballs??? GIVE ME A BREAK LOSER!!!”
A Bills fan account tweeted, “McDaniel said ‘Make it Colder’ but complaining when a snowball hits him.” Earlier this week, McDaniel described dealing with inclement weather as merely a mind-over-matter issue, and proudly rocked a t-shirt that read, “I wish it were colder,” at practice on Wednesday.
One fan tweeted, “Took one quarter for mike mcdaniel to go from ‘i wish it was colder’ to begging for a penalty for fans throwing snowballs lol,” while another man wrote, “Dolphins just mad because Bills fans can throw snowballs more accurately then Tua can with a football.”
Twitter Stronly Reacted to the Ref’s Warning
Fans and analysts also ripped the ref’s for acquiescing to McDaniel’s complaint, as there were ton of Dolphins fans at Highmark Stadium for the primetime matchup, as well. Syracuse.com‘s Brent Axe tweeted, “It’s ridiculous this is happening and #Bills fans should be better, but What’s to stop a Dolphins fan from doing this now?”
Pardon My Take‘s Jake Marsh quipped, “Just waiting for the referee to make the announcement… ‘Unsportsmanlike conduct, drunk fan in Section 132, row 7, seat 6. 15 yard penalty, automatic 1st down.'”
ESPN‘s Marcel Louise-Jacques reported that the ref’s warning didn’t work anyway. He tweeted, “Not sure if that snowball penalty applies at halftime but Dolphins players were certainly pelted with them on their way to the locker room.”
Bills QB Josh Allen Discussed Home Field Advantage in the Snow
During an appearance on Kyle Brandt’s Basement on December 12, Bills quarterback Josh Allen admitted the Bills’ ability to play in the cold is an advantage but said, “Miami’s got a weather advantage, too. The opposing sideline is in the sun. It’s 20 to 30 degrees hotter on the away side than the home side. but having the cold here, kinda evens stuff out.”
While McDaniels downplayed the effects of a snowstorm considering both the Bills and Dolphins “will be playing the game in the same elements” on Saturday, the same can’t be said for when Buffalo played in Miami earlier this season in 110-degree weather. At Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, the away team’s bench gets baked under the sun while the Dolphins’ home bench remains in the shade.
During the Bills 21-19 loss to the Dolphins in Week 3, wide receiver Stefon Diggs, along with several other Bills players, were forced to exit the game due to heat illness, receiving fluids in the locker room before being able to return to the field. Diggs said during an appearance on Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz that it was an exhaustion level that the eight-year NFL veteran has never felt.
“Hell no. I’ve never been that tired in my life. I had full-body cramps after the game. I’ve never experienced that before. Probably laid on the table and was like ‘Yeah, this is it for me.'” Diggs revealed. Le Batard said the Bills “played in inhumane conditions” and the two-time Pro Bowler didn’t disagree.
“Yeah, I think it’s set up that way,” Diggs said. “Because if you ever notice on that Miami field, the majority of the Miami side is under the shade, and our side? It’s in the sun that ya know, turns those grapes into raisins. It was real fun out there. Full body cramps is when your hamstrings, quads, arms, stomach — all the good stuff cramps up. It’s just part of the game.”