Meet the Co-Founders of the #BillsMafia

 

From the left Bre, Leslie, Del are your #BillsMafia founders.

From the left Bre, Leslie, Del are your #BillsMafia founders.

I never exactly knew what #BillsMafia stood for, going back to the first time I saw it being used on social media. Before I had met one of the founders of the #BillsMafia, I gotta be honest I had no idea how big it was. Enter Del Reid of 26Shirts, Fan Alliance Board, and co-founder of the #BillsMafia. I had seen a few things about 26Shirts, and wanted to chat with Del about helping him spread the word. I was very much intrigued by the #BillsMafia, being a Buffalo guy all my life, and knowing very little about it. Del graciously reached out to co-founders Leslie and Breyon Harris, they accepted and we planned a conference call.

Bre and Leslie followed Stevie Johnson and became friends. - Photo via www.sikids.com

Bre and Leslie followed Stevie Johnson and became friends. – Photo via http://www.sikids.com

Del and Leslie are season ticket holders that live in Western New York. Breyon now lives in Virginia Beach, but is originally from Buffalo. The Bills are undefeated when Breyon has attended a game at the Ralph, (2-0) so he made it clear the playoff drought may be on him. They’ve all been huge Bills fans for most of their lives, which if you’re in your thirties makes sense. You lived in the Super Bowl era! The funny thing though is that none of them knew one another personally, they just met while on Twitter ūüôā

The Reason Why 

It’s been a long time since I really loved the Buffalo Bills. I’m not saying I wasn’t a fan, I was but as season after season dragged. Hope became more and more difficult as the years dragged on, and¬†honestly by week ten or twelve I would check out. Games which at one point as a child, were like the Super Bowl, now had so little meaning other than catching up with some old friends and enjoying a few beers.

Meeting Del and feeling the passion he had for the Bills, made me want to have hope again. I wanted to feel those goosebumps again, when the games mattered more than which high draft pick you got. Playoffs, or even ten wins for that matter would be amazing again.

Then, September 8, 2014 happened.¬†It may live on as a day of infamy in Buffalo. Simply because, it’s the day Terry and his wife Kim Pegula bought the Buffalo Bills.

Phone Call

I have been lucky enough to do some cool things in my life, but this was pretty amazing. Breyon, Leslie, and Del chimed in at 10 and away we went. To be able to talk to the co-founders of the Bills Mafia the day after we found out the Bills were to remain in Buffalo for my lifetime, was a simple stroke of luck.

What’s Going On In Buffalo: “Well guys it’s been a crazy week for Bills fans. Let’s open with the question. What does the sale of the team to the Pegula’s mean to you?”

Del: “Wow, yeah. Personally I think it means the Bills will be here for the rest of my, and hopefully my children’s lifetimes.”

Breyon: “Outside of winning the Lombardi trophy, it’s the Buffalo Bills and Bills fans biggest and most important victory. Not only will The Buffalo Bills be around forever, more importantly the best fanbase in all of sports will last forever. “Traditions, the passion, the love will be passed on from generation to generation.”

Leslie: “They’re here to stay, for GOOD!”

WGOIB: “You guys had never met before, when you started the #BillsMafia correct?”

Leslie: “Yeah we were friends on Twitter, and that’s really how we met.”

WGOIB: “So when was the first time you actually met one another?”

Leslie: “Pretty sure It was a television interview we did in Rochester, Del would remember the date. I can’t recall off-hand”

Del: “Yeah it was in 2011.”

WGOIB: “So twitter played an important role in creating the #BillsMafia?”

Breyon: “I met them on twitter because we were¬†Bills fans”

Leslie: “Yeah, it was really twitter and our love of the Bills that brought us together.”

Breyon: “Del more or less, would ‘lol’ at my tweets and we’d interact with jokes and such. Me and Leslie liked Stevie (Johnson), and that’s how we met.”

WGOIB: “Tell me about the Adam Scheffter incident.”

Del: “Oh boy, that got blown way out of proportion.” “We were tweeting him about some stuff he said about the Bills, and then he blocked me and Bre.”

Leslie: “That’s true, I even exchanged direct messages with him but to no avail.”

WGOIB: “So thats kind of like a rite of passage to be in the #BillsMafia?”

Leslie: “I guess you could say that, but he still hasn’t blocked me (chuckling)”

The #BillsMafia now a non-profit organization that raises money for Roswell Cancer Institute. Their twitter handle has over thirty thousand followers, a billboard by the stadium, and continues to grow each year.

The #BillsMafia sells all types of Bills related gear that benefits charities across WNY! - Photo via Twitter!

The #BillsMafia sells all types of Bills related gear that benefits charities across WNY! – Photo via Twitter!

WGOIB: “When was the moment you realized the #BillsMafia was bigger than you could have imagined?”

Leslie: “Hmm….. I was tweeting and the actual Buffalo Bills account used the #BillsMafia hashtag. That kind of struck me as big.”

Del: “I actually was at the 2012 Bills Draft party and some people came up to me and asked to have their picture taken with me. It was a little surreal”

Breyon: “When #BillsMafia tattoos started popping up., and when my man Shane painted the #BillsMafia logo and hashtag on the side of his house. You may have seen it, his house is located right outside The Ralph.”

WGOIB: “Yeah I have seen that house!”

What to do? - Photo via wgrz.com

What to do? – Photo via wgrz.com

WGOIB: “New Stadium or Retro-Fit?”

Del: “I feel like we should go one thing at a time. The Pegula’s obviously have a plan and I think we should just enjoy right now.”

Leslie: “I love the Ralph, bought haven’t really given it much thought. I guess a retro-fit is probably the best for me. I would really miss tailgating, and the Ralph is accessible.”

Breyon:¬†I think eventually we’ll need a new stadium, to compete with today’s NFL. I think with a new stadium would be great for not only Bills games but for other events and entertainment to come to the city of Buffalo and to boost WNY’s economy (ie: hosting the Super Bow)l. How big would that be for WNY?

WGOIB: ” That would be pretty amazing! I guess all I have left is who you got on Sunday?”

Del: “Bills 115-0 (laughing)”

Leslie: “I’m gonna be a little more conservative 31-7. Buffalo wins!”

Breyon: “Bills win, I don’t think Miami can overcome all the emotion and excitement that has taken over the team and WNY. I got Buffalo 28-10.”

We ended our call and went our separate ways, but in the end we all had one thing in common! We’re all #BillsMafia! Oh and 24-7, Bills win in an electrically charged stadium on Sunday! Cause in¬†the end isn’t that what really matters ūüėČ

-If you’d like to learn more about the non profit #BillsMafia, then visit¬†their¬†website¬†http://billsmafia.com/¬†. You can also follow¬†Del – @mrdeadlier, Leslie –¬†@leslieanne94 and Bre – @bre_88¬†on twitter! They also support their BillsMafia Facebook page at – https://www.facebook.com/BillsMafia

 

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