November 28, 2010 is a day that will live in Bills infamy. Bills fan Delmar Reid remembers it like it was yesterday.
That was the day the Bills were playing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ralph Wilson Stadium. With the game tied four minutes into overtime, Bills receiver Stevie Johnson dropped what would have been a game-winning touchdown throw from Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Steelers eventually would kick a field goal to win the game 19-16.
After the game, Johnson tweeted a message to God, "I praise you 24/7 ... and this is how you do me!!!! You expect me to learn from this????"
"The next day, Adam Schefter of ESPN, retweeted his tweet from the night before which in Twitter time is about a month later," Reid said. "So a bunch of us kind of jumped on Adam a bit and said what the heck, why would you do that?"
Why would Schefter retweet Johnson? After all...Bills fans spent the day before dealing with the dropped ball.
"And to be perfectly frank, if I missed it on that Sunday, I miss a lot of tweets," Adam Schefter said. "And I think what happened in that particular case was on Monday, I never even saw the tweet. It was on NFL Live. It was on NFL Live at 4 o'clock eastern. And I thought, that's interesting. That's entertaining. That's noteworthy."
As for Reid and his associates, they found it entertaining to mock Schefter on Twitter.
"And it was just an inside joke from then on, just the four or five us were the BillsMafia because Adam Schefter had been upset with us or whatever," Reid said.
So Reid and the other wise guys began using the hashtag #BillsMafia. And people took notice.
"The fact that the players engaged in the hashtag is really what made it so popular," Reid said.
"The way the fans, the way they interact with each other and interact with the players, I thought it was a great idea. Social media is making us more accessible to the fans," said Chris Hairston, Bills offensive lineman.
"And from that point, it just blew up," Reid said.
"I think it speaks to the passion of the Bills fans bonding together behind their team," Schefter said.
#BillsMafia could have fizzled out. Instead, fate made an offer the mafia could not refuse.
"It took off so quickly we ended up selling merchandise and all that stuff. And we figured this is an opportunity to use our powers for good and maybe help some people out in the process," Reid said.
Those people are the children of Carly's Club; the pediatric ward at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
"I've seen first-hand a lot of the good that Roswell does in terms of helping the cancer patients and supporting their families," Reid said.
Every dime made from BillsMafia merchandise is donated to Carly's Club.
"I mean it's a great way to help out those in need and a great way to come together for a good cause," Hairston said.
Coming together to support their Bills, each other and those in need.
"The fact that it has led to the good cause that it did is encouraging, so if people want to give me flack for helping spur some sort of movement that led to contributing money to fight cancer, they can give me all the flack they want," Schefter said.
The mafia may be done yelling at Schefter...but the wagon keeps on circling.
"Anybody can be a part of it. There's no registration. You don't have to be a made man to get into it," said Reid.
But you do have to be a Bills fan...whether you shout it or not.
For information on buying merchandise, go to the #billsmafia website.