Update, 11:43 a.m. EST: Andy Young of Spectrum News reports that the Bills are receiving help from Orchard Park Police and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office in getting to the airport in time for their flight to Detroit.
Update, 11:19 a.m. EST: Buffalo Bills COO Ron Raccuia is among members of the organization driving around the Orchard Park area this morning, picking up Bills players and ferrying them to the airport for their flight to Detroit, per Tim Graham of The Athletic.
Bills COO Ron Raccuia, while actually driving to pick up players just now, tells me: “We are doing everything we possibly can to pull this off and get to the airport and get to Detroit this afternoon. Every aspect of the organization is a part of this effort.”
— Tim Graham (@ByTimGraham) November 19, 2022
That flight, according to Abby Fridmann of WIVB-TV in Buffalo, is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. EST.
Update, 9:43 a.m. EST: The Buffalo Airport announced that runways have been cleared and re-opened. That just leaves the hurdle of actually getting the team to the airport for their flight.
Original story: The Buffalo Bills have trudged their way through massive snow piles to escape to Detroit for a pro football game before, and they’ll attempt to do so again today (Saturday) in advance of tomorrow’s “home” game against the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field.
It won’t be easy. On Friday morning, the Buffalo Airport announced that runways were temporarily closed due to snow, and a travel ban has been issued in the City of Buffalo, to add to pre-existing bans in surrounding areas.
With snow stopped in Western NY (for now), the #Bills are working on getting players out of their homes and to the airport. The plane to Detroit is scheduled for this afternoon. And the hope is it goes off ✈️
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 19, 2022
Orchard Park, NY was subjected to a New York State record snowfall in a 24-hour period ranging from Thursday through Friday evening, with 66 inches of snow falling in that time frame.
The Bills have two obvious objectives today, both of which will be adventurous to achieve:
- Make it to the airport
- Fly to Detroit
So long as the airport is able to clear off runways in a timely fashion—and that’s still a big “if,” considering the snow is not expected to stop falling until Sunday—that is the easier of the two hurdles. Arriving at the airport might be slightly trickier.
I’m very interested to see how we getting to Detroit
— Quintin Morris (@QuintinMorris_) November 19, 2022
Can we move the game back here Sunday night? I feel like that still is the safest option. Being a) it’s still snowing and will be all night and b) I haven’t seen the road since last night no clue how these guys will be expected to get out in the morning with even more snow.
— Rachel (@Rachel__Bush) November 19, 2022
Former Bills center and current radio color analyst Eric Wood, who was part of the 2014 Bills team that had a regular-season game against the New York Jets for this same reason, reminded fans on Saturday morning that it was enterprising locals with snowmobiles who helped the team make it to the airport for their flight to Ford Field.
For those wondering how the Bills will get to the airport today, just a reminder that in 2014 some of us got picked up from our houses on snowmobiles by random strangers. They’ll do what’s necessary to get to Detroit today. I can guarantee you that.#BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/1fCEXsNYPs
— Eric Wood (@EWood70) November 19, 2022
That confidence that Buffalo will find a way to make it out to Detroit may not be matched by all. Should any further complications arise, it’s possible that the Bills will face a just-in-the-nick-of-time arrival situation—or, perhaps, the NFL will need to consider modifying the start time of the game.
We’ll keep this post updated throughout the day today as the Bills’ travel journey continues.