Ryan Fitzpatrick on Connection to Bills Fans: ‘Those Are My People’

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Getty Ryan Fitzpatrick on the field during a Buffalo Bills game.

Ryan Fitzpatrick played for nine different NFL teams over his 17-year career, but said he will always hold a special connection to the Buffalo Bills and their fans.

Fitzpatrick announced his retirement this week, ending his career after an injury-shortened season with the Washington Commanders. Appearing on a podcast with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Fitzpatrick ended hopes that he might sign a one-day contract with the Bills to end his career.

“It’s not like one particular team is going to hold a press conference for me,” Fitzpatrick said, explaining his decision to call his own press conference to announce his retirement.

Though he won’t end his career as a member of the Bills, Fitzpatrick did have plenty of good memories to share about his four seasons with the team and the enduring fanhood that followed.

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Strong Connection to Bills

While he made six different stops after leaving the Bills after the 2012 season, Fitzpatrick said he’ll always feel the strongest connection to the Bills and their fans.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever felt more at home in a stadium or with a fan base than — and I was in Buffalo for four years,” he said. “But those are my people. I feel like I understand them and they understand me. It was one of the great pleasures of my career playing there in Buffalo.”

Fitzpatrick made his feelings about Bills fans known during his career as well. In another appearance on Schefter’s podcast last season, while he was a member of the rival Miami Dolphins, Fitzpatrick said Buffalo was the favorite stop of his career.

“I mean, I can’t like… I’m going to get in trouble if I answer that one,” Fitzpatrick said when Schefter asked about his favorite team.

When Schefter continued to pry and talked about his love of Chicago, Fitzpatrick admitted that he had a soft spot for Buffalo.

“Well yeah… that doesn’t make it any easier,” Fitzpatrick said after some prompting. “Cause my favorite NFL city? It’s Buffalo.”

Fitz Explains Viral Moment at Bills Playoff Game

Fitzpatrick let his love for the Bills and their fans show in January, when he braved the single-digit temperatures in Orchard Park to watch the Bills dismantle the New England Patriots in a wild-card playoff game. After the Bills capped off their seventh straight touchdown drive, Fitzpatrick and his sons took off their shirts to celebrate.

Fitzpatrick explained that he and his two oldest boys had gone to the Super Bowl for the last five or six years, but he didn’t feel up to a trip to Los Angeles so they instead decided to take in the Bills game. The former Bills quarterback said it was his sons’ idea to go shirtless, and he ultimately got caught up in the moment and went for it.

“We flew up that day, went to the game, and the whole time from the car through the parking lot to the game my boys were like, ‘We’re taking our shirts off, dad.’ I was like, ‘OK, it’s negative-3 out, just relax,’ ” Fitzpatrick said. “It was after the seventh touchdown. It was such an amazing energy and feeling in that stadium, I felt like it was time. Me and my boys threw the shirts off.”

READ NEXT: Former Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Goes Shirtless at Frigid Playoff Win

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