BUFFALO, N.Y. — Devoted NFL fans show their love and support to their favorite teams in many distinctive ways. Pittsburgh Steelers fans spin their notorious “terrible towels” as they cheer for the black and gold. Green Bay Packers fans wear foam blocks of cheese on their heads when they attend games. However, Bills fans are continuing the trend of unique traditions with one of their own – jumping through tables.
“My friends and I are all Bills fans, so we’ve definitely broken a table or two,” said Zac Case, a lifelong Buffalo fan. “It’s one of the craziest traditions in any sport.”
“It’s one of the craziest traditions in any sport.”Zac Case, Buffalo Bills fan
For the past few years, a growing number of Bills fans and tailgaters have ended their pregame and postgame parties by jumping off a tall structure such as a truck, and through a folding table. The idea behind this ongoing trend is to entertain friends, get fans fired up for the game and of course, destroy the table. Though, due to the continued success of the Bills, breaking through tables is becoming more popular by the day for these fans.
Through 13 weeks of the NFL season, the Bills have a record of 7-5 and would make the playoffs as a wildcard team if the season were to end today. Although the team has begun to skid in recent weeks, losing four of their last seven contests, Buffalo possesses both a top five scoring offense (#5) and defense (#2). Since the Bills have built a winning culture and excite their fans to extreme levels, viral videos of fans jumping through tables surface the internet on a weekly basis.
Tim Delaney, the director of sports studies at Oswego State University, believes this trend will continue with Buffalo’s success.
“The Bills winning has drawn more media attention to the team and in turn, this attention has led to the fans trying to make sure that some of the focus is on them,” Delaney said. “Certainly, if the Bills continue to win for years to come, the jumping through tables trend will likely continue.”
While the “Bills mafia” has coined this trend as their own, this isn’t the first football trend to go viral. Fans of the Minnesota Vikings have been participating in their “skol chant” for years, but this trend really gained notoriety in 2017 throughout the Vikings 13-3 season. The chant requires a group of fans to clap their hands over their heads while screaming the word “skol” in rhythm with a drum beat that gradually gets faster.
In fact, the trend became so popular that thousands of Vikings fans once packed the Mall of America and did the skol chant on every level of the building, which resulted in the event going viral. Although both trends are vastly different, they share similarities in their virality and how recognizable they are to their individual teams.
While to some people, Bills fans are mainly known for smashing through folding tables, this isn’t the first trend Buffalo fans have gotten to go viral.
On Nov. 8, 2020, Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s grandmother passed away a day before Buffalo had a game versus the Seattle Seahawks. Instead of opting out, Allen started the game and led the Bills to a 44-34 victory. Following the game, Allen posted to Twitter asking fans to make donations to Oishei Children’s Hospital in honor of his late grandmother. In response, Bills fans showed their quarterback a tremendous amount of support as donations to the hospital quickly surpassed $1 million.
The trend became so popular that fans of other NFL teams joined in and donated as well. Given how strong and impactful this movement was, the Oishei Children’s Hospital recently commemorated Allen’s grandmother by installing a memorial plaque of her in their building.
Buffalo fans have shown their ever-growing love and support for the team in a multitude of ways since the Bills joined the NFL in 1970. However, the trend of fans jumping through tables may be the most unique to date. Although football may fans enjoy watching the “Bills mafia” get rowdy and smash each other through tables every week, these actions don’t come without consequences. Fans that take part in this dangerous trend risk suffering serious injuries as well as injuring others.
Adam Rank, an NFL Network analyst, advises that all fans who take part in the trend to be cautious while doing so.
“I grew up watching professional wrestling, so I think what they’re doing is really awesome,” Rank said. “But I’ve seen so many videos of people missing the table completely and severely hurt themselves. I just hope they’re being as cautious as possible when they do it.”
“I just hope they’re being as cautious as possible when they do it.”Adam Rank, NFL Network analyst
Though jumping through tables is one of the more dangerous phenomena in current sports culture, it has become a viral trend that continues to get more popular each day. Bills fans have turned this into a weekly tradition; one that has taken the world by storm. No matter win or lose, tables will inevitably be broken on Sundays in Buffalo.