Ralph Wilson Stadium
Orchard Park, NY
New York Jets
vs. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills Stadium
October 3, 2010
38 - 14 Loss
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Capacity: 73,967 seats
Playing Surface: Titan 50 by A-Turf
Draft Beer: $6.50
Hot Dog: $3.00
Stadium Parking: $25.00
One Bills Drive
Orchard Park, NY 14127
Stadium Review - The Demise of the Franchise
A cold and rainy weekend in October set the scene for our NFL Football Family Weekend Retreat as the men in my family reconvened in Orchard Park, NY for our 15th annual celebration. Every year we pick a Buffalo Bills game to attend and from all corners of the country, we make our way back to western New York for a weekend of food, folks, and football. So with the NY Jets game comfortably set in our crosshairs, we rented an RV, prepared an incredible menu of foodstuffs, and headed toward the RV parking lot at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The RV lot at the Ralph is rather unique. Apart from its heated, cinder block shower and bath facilities that are cleaned throughout the weekend, RV's are allowed to begin parking in the lot as early as Friday evening and they can stay there until Monday morning. When coupled with the world-class tailgating you'll find Buffalo Bills fans being actively engaged in, it's one of the top five football fan experiences in the league.
We arrived in lot early on Saturday morning. The skies were overcast, but it didn't stop us from setting up the Fowling lanes to begin a full day of tournament action. Fowling, as you know, is the new tailgating game that combines the pin-point accurate passing of the game of football with the ten pin configuration of recreational bowling to create an incredibly unique asphalt experience, one that you'll find is much more relevant to pro football tailgating than that bean bag toss game you see fans bring to the lot each week. Teams of two match wits on the fowling lanes as they attempt to knock down their opponent's pins by throwing a football at them. The two teams alternate throws until a full set of bowling pins is knocked down. The first team to knock down all of their opponent's pins wins the frame. As Commissioner of the American Fowling Association, I am one of the game's biggest supporters and perennial ambassadors to the rest of the league. For more on the rules of fowling be sure to check out www.fowling.org.
Later in the evening, we began preparing a full feast of tailgating fodder. After fifteen years on the blacktop at Ralph Wilson Stadium, we've become some rather accomplished blacktop culinarians in our own right. For Saturday evening's meal we set a 12 pound roast on the charcoal flamed rotisserie roaster for the traditional Buffalonian Beek on Weck sandwich. The motorized rotisserie was then flanked by a pair slow roasted beer can chickens cooked in my keg-a-que. Neglecting the need for your typical noodle and potato sides, our male dominated cooking staff prepared a mainly carnivorous selection of evening entrees. Apart from the ice cold beverages of choice that were used wash down our main course, the only other side dishes that were employed might have been a couple of potato chips and a cookie ... all that other stuff just complicates things. When you tailgate with the Steiniger Clan, you're looking at a full compliment of entrees that once roamed the earth or swam in its waters.
Sunday morning came quickly and it was still raining. Undeterred, we wandered over to Kenny "Pinto Ron" Johnson's tailgate in Lot 1. Kenny has recently come under NFL scrutiny for some of his tailgating antics which include bowling ball shots and the iconic ketchup opening ceremony. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Kenny is the tailgating innovator that cooks his food on the hood of his red Ford Pinto using hand tools and garden implements. It's actually really incredible; garden rakes are used to cook hamburgers, trowels double as spatulas, hand saws and shovels are used as frying pans. It's the Barbecue meat-fest that Craftsman never intended and its all in good fun.
I'm actually not quite sure what the NFL is trying to accomplish by alienating some if its most die hard fans. I certainly understand and support its position on excessive drinking, which in the hands of the irresponsible detracts from the stadium experience of us all. However, I guess I object to the means by which this strategy is currently being employed. I maintain that if you want to create a better stadium atmosphere, throw the drunks out, revoke season ticket holder privileges, punish the select few that ruin it for us all, don't tread on the guys that are an institution in the parking lot ... that's just bad business, but I digress ...
In any case, as gametime approached, we headed into Ralph Wilson Stadium for the Bills matchup against the division rival New York Jets. Remember when the Jets were the doormats of the league? The underachieving franchise in distress? The easy win you could count on twice a year? My, oh my, how times have changed. It's hard to accept that these days, my beloved Buffalo Bills have replaced them as the laughing stock of the National Football League, and it continued on Sunday.
From kickoff, right through when the last few seconds ticked off the clock, the Buffalo Bills showed what true mediocrity in this league looks like. They couldn't run the ball on the Jets stout front line. They couldn't find open receivers as the Jets defensive backs blanketed Buffalo pass catchers. They couldn't stop the run as LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene each victimized the Bills defense for over 100 yards a piece. Watching this game was brutal because it brought to light how far we've fallen as a franchise. After years of poor drafts, a refusal to sign home grown free agents, and a front office that annually purged the talent pool at One Bills Drive, we have become the Detroit Lions. What a mess ...
For more information on the city of Buffalo, NY check out my other reviews by clicking on the links below:
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NHL: Buffalo Sabres, HSBC Arena - General Information
|City of Buffalo Local Information|
Top Tourist Attractions:
Niagara Falls - Maid of the Mist Boat Tour
Anchor Bar - Originator of the Buffalo Chicken Wing
Buffalo Chicken Wings
Kimmelweck "Beef on Weck"
LaNova White Pizza
What They're Drinkin':
Labatt's Blue, Molson Canadian, Yeungling
Kenny "Pinto Ron" Johnson's Tailgate Party
Recreational Vehicle Lot
Pocket Map of Buffalo
Stadium Parking Map
Local Sports Media:
The Buffalo News
Chippewa Street (SoHo, Papaya, Pure, Omega Lounge, Bayou)
Elmwood Avenue (Mister Goodbar, Coles, Sahara Grill, JP Bullfeathers)
Delaware Avenue (Nektar, Toro, Fahertys, The Thirsty Buffalo, Snooty Fox,
Hertel Avenue (Fiamma, Shadow Lounge)
Anchor Bar (Originator of the Buffalo Chicken Wing)
Pearl Street Grill
Buffalo Chophouse (Steak)
Tandoori (Indian Cuisine)
Kentucky Gregs (BBQ)
800 Maple (Brick Oven Pizza, Martinis)
Papaya and Seabar (Sushi)
Northend Trattoria, Romeo and Juliet's (Italian Cuisine)
Getting to the Stadium:
To get to Ralph Wilson Stadium, you're going to need to drive to Orchard Park, NY, which is a suburb of Buffalo. Public transportation is not an option here.
Where to Stay:
I would suggest staying in a hotel in downtown Buffalo to take advantage of the nightlife. The best hotel is definitely the Hyatt Downtown, located a stone's throw from the Chippewa Street bar district. the Hampton Inn downtown and Adam's Mark are also good options.
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|15 year Anniversary||The Quest Machine made the Journey||Twenty-Four Pound Roast Beast|
|Fowling in Buffalo, NY||Pin-Point Accurate Passing||Throwing for the Win|
|The Family Retreat Crew||Big Hans, Erik, and Myself||Hans and Hans by the Fire|
|Pinto Ron's Grilling Surface||Pat and Don from Coffin Corner||Coffin Corner Crew|
|Slicing the Beast||Ketchup Opening Ceremony||The Beer Can Chicken is done|
|Jarius Byrd Fan Eric||A View from the Field||Ralph WIlson Stadium Revisited|
Please feel free to post any suggestions or comments you might have for my journey to
Ralph Wilson Stadium, including the following:
- Local Hotspots (Bar Districts, Restaurants, Clubs)
- Local Foods (Traditional Cuisine, Micro Brews)
- Tailgating Traditions
- Your Experiences or Helpful Hints
- If you saw me let me know!
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