NY Governor Issues Warning After Bills Travel Home: ‘We’ve Been Begging’

Buffalo Bills

Getty The Buffalo Bills huddle up during a snowy game.

The Buffalo Bills (12-13) had a lot to celebrate after defeating the Chicago Bears (3-12) on Christmas Eve as this 35-13 victory clinched the franchise their third straight AFC East title. While the Bills deserve to be applauded for their on-field heroics, they’re facing backlash on social media for their off-the-field actions.

The Bills were forced to spend the night in Chicago on December 24 due to the historic snowstorm blanketing Western, New York, however, the team was able to land in Rochester on Christmas Day, and take a bus to the Bills’ training facility, where everyone’s vehicles were completely buried.

Videos of the Bills shoveling out their cars and driving home with massive blocks of snow sitting on top of their vehicles quickly went viral. While some fans were thrilled to see the players and coaches get home to their families on Christmas, others were angry that the team seems to follow different rules than everyone else in Buffalo, all of whom are still under a strict driving ban. According to WGRZ, locals “aren’t expected to be able to hit the roads until later this week.”

On Monday, December 26, New York Governor Kathy Hochul issued a new warning pleading with residents to stay home. “We’ve been begging,” Hochul said, per WGRZ. “We’ve been asking, and the vast majority of you have, and I’m so grateful for that. But those of you who violate the driving bans, you may think you can go to the store for that six-pack, but you are endangering other people. And it’s frustrating.”

The snowstorm has already claimed 25 lives, per The Washington Post, in what the newspaper calls “Buffalo’s worst blizzard in 50 years.” As of Monday, approximately 12,000 people in Erie County remain with power, and another foot of snow is expected to drop. “First responders are still struggling to reach people trapped in their cars, while people stuck in shelters and nursing homes are running out of food,” the Post stated.

Twitter Had Strongly Mixed Reactions to the Bills Skirting the Travel Ban to Drive Home

The Athletic‘s Tim Graham pointed out the hypocrisy of the Bills being able to drive without consequences and boldly posting videos of themselves skirting the rules on social media. Graham tweeted on Sunday night, “People are dying. People are snowed under without heat, electricity, food, medicine, human contact. Special people get to break the rules. I get that. But keep a low profile. Show humility. Don’t glorify your immunity. That video is just rubbing people’s noses in it.”

Twitter had strongly mixed reactions to Graham’s criticism. One person tweeted, “You’re just realizing now famous people get special privileges? Remember Covid?” while another person wrote, “I’m thrilled the Bills got home, but when I struggled to get out of my house today to report to work at a local hospital and saw all the other people just driving around, I got pretty pissed off.”

People slammed Graham for his critical remarks and the local government for not saying anything about it. One Bills fan tweeted, “Tim. This is an embarrassing comment what are they supposed to do to sleep in their vehicles?” while another person wrote, “They should walk home right?”

One person tweeted to Hochul and several local new stations, “Lots of us wondering why @BuffaloBills were allowed to drive and utilize state resources with the travel ban? There are people in dire need of medical attention, heat and food and bodies left to recover,” while several resident voiced backlash on the videos of the Bills driving home that were posted on Instagram and Twitter.”

Bills safety Damar Hamlin posted a video on his Instagram Stories while driving home, which showed complete white-out conditions.

Another person tagged both Hochul and Erie County Executive Mark Polonarz and wrote, “My buddy deploys overseas tomorrow morning. His mother could not hug him goodbye due to the driving ban, he lives outside Rochester, she lives on the same road as a Bills player, but the Buffalo Bills were permitted to drive home today. Why is that.”

Next Up, the Bills Travel to Cincinnati on Monday Night Football

Joe Burrow

GettyJoe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals attempts a pass during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2022.

The Bills may struggle to get back to the practice facility in order to prepare for their upcoming matchup against the Bengals (11-4) on Monday Night Football. Hopefully, however, there’s enough time to allow the inclement weather to abate, allowing the team to safely travel to Paycor Stadium for the primetime matchup.

Buffalo opens as 1.5-point underdogs to defeat quarterback Joe Burrow and the Bengals in Week 17. While the Bills have already punched their ticket to the postseason, they’re fighting to hold onto the No. 1 spot in the AFC, and clinch home-field advantage.

Read More