Originally written on Chicks in the Huddle  |  Last updated 9/26/12

If you’re a Bills fan–and even if you’re not–you might have noticed the Twitter hashtag “#BillsMafia” attached to football tweets, especially during games. But if you’re not a Bills fan–or maybe even if you are–you probably don’t know exactly what it means.

Turns out, you’re not alone.

Lifelong Bills fan Del Reid “co-created” the phrase, but he didn’t know what it would eventually come to mean, or that what started as a joke between a few Bills tweeters would turn into a full blown movement.

“The entire thing was an accident, to be honest. The term “Bills Mafia” was an inside joke between @bre_88, @leslieanne94, @Billsfan99, @SAINTRHYAN and a few others following our being blocked by Adam Schefter,” said Reid, known by the handle @mrdeadlier on Twitter.

So what did they do to ruffle Schefter’s feathers? They teased him.

Remember Stevie Johnson’s now infamous God tweet? Well, the NFL insider was a little late to the game that day and RT’d Johnson’s tweet nearly 24 hours later and way after the rest of the football and non-football world was buzzing about it. Reid and his fellow tweeters started tweeting old news updates with the hashtag “#SchefterBreakingNews” at the end, poking fun at him.

Schefter didn’t like that too much, so Reid coined the phrase “#BillsMafia” during that Follow Friday and it slowly took off among fans. When Nick Barnett signed with Buffalo, he started using it and the rest is history.

Now, players know it, fans love it and non-Bills peeps are starting to take notice. It’s an easy, fun way for fans to interact with one another and for players to get in on the conversation, too. Sometimes it’s a support system, with tweet threads looking like a therapy session. Other times it’s virtual hi fives. No matter what, it’s always a family.

And Bills fans have always been part of a special kind of dysfunctional family. But now, BillsMafia has become something to grow that family even bigger and make that bond even stronger.

“While we we may not agree on all things in other aspects of life, there’s one thing that binds us together: our love and passion for the Buffalo Bills,” said Reid.

He’s not ready to take credit for forging a brand new generation of Bills fandom, though.

“It’s humbling to have been a part of what helped launched this thing to begin with, but I truly believe that if it wasn’t our ‘Mafia’ it would have been something else,” said Reid. “Bills fans were ready to unite and become a force to be reckoned within the realm of social media. Call it zeitgeist.”

And it’s already gone beyond a social media mafia. The second annual Tweet Up is Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 and 30. Besides being a chance for Bills fans to gather outside of the game and tailgating, it’s also for a great cause.

From 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, head over to the Pan American Grill in Hotel Lafayette in Downtown Buffalo. There will be free food and a cash bar with 10 percent of its profits going to Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Exclusive merchandise, like hats and shirts, will also raise funds for Roswell.

On Sunday morning, join BF for a tailgate party in Hammer Lot before the game against New England. There will be a Chinese auction where people can try to win items donated by other fans, local businesses and some Bills players.

Think of the weekend as a chance to put a face to those tweets. If I could afford a plane ticket, I’d be there myself (jealous!).

“It’s a great time to hang out with other fans in real life that you typically only engage with on your smart phone,” said Reid. “(And) we donate all our profits to charity.”

Despite its ever-growing presence, both online and in real life, some people still aren’t sold and think it’s just a cheeky name that desperate Bills fans give themselves. The numbers say otherwise. The official BillsMafia twitter, @TheBillsMafia, has 8,684 followers (many of them former and current players), and climbing. The Facebook page, www.facebook.com/billsmafia, has more than 2,000 “likes.”At billsmafia.com/store, merchandise is for sale with proceeds benefiting Roswell.

With such rapid and unexpected success, where does Reid see his accidental phenom in a couple years? He “has no idea” because now it’s up to the fans.

“This whole thing was never planned but we’re willing to let it take us wherever it wants,” said Reid. “We’ll allow it to get as big as it wants to get.”

And it could get big–very big.

Every team has its legion of fans but Bills fans have always seemed to have a little something more. Maybe, it’s extra big hearts to handle the rollercoaster seasons or super thick skin to repel the hate thrown by media, other fans, basically everyone.

So, it’s no surprise that when it comes to making a name for themselves with something like BillsMafia, these fans (myself included) are in all the way.


Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Here are your 2015 All-Star reserves and pitchers

Are LeBron, Cavs just playing teenage games?

Bucks president threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

ESPYs golf classic moving from Trump course

Report: Pierre-Paul could miss training camp, start of season


Report: Spurs sign David West

Report: Marc Gasol signs five-year deal with Grizzlies

Manu Ginobili announces he will return next season

Robinson Cano dealing with stomach ailment all season

Tony Romo on Dez Bryant's contract: 'I think it will work out'

Dwayne Bowe: I’m here to fill Josh Gordon’s shoes

Bridgewater on Vikings: 'we’re not as good as what we think'

Floyd Mayweather Officially Stripped Of Welterweight Title

Mo Williams signs 2-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers

Carli Lloyd had vision she would score four goals in World Cup Final

Carli Lloyd needs help to carry all her World Cup awards

Russell Wilson abstaining from sex with girlfriend Ciara

Coach K on meeting Beyonce for first time: 'I felt like 13'

Three-star TE Michael Irvin Jr. commits to Miami

Bryce Harper skipping HR Derby because of dad's injury

Braves the most interesting team to watch at the deadline?

Video shows FSU QB De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Is James Harden dating Khloe Kardashian?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 2015 All-Star reserves & pitchers

Are LeBron, Cavs just playing teenage games?

Bucks threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

Bryce Harper to skip Home Run Derby

Video shows De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Odell Beckham Jr. poses for nude version of 'The Catch'

Report: Giants pull offer to Pierre-Paul

Report: Jordan was tired of Chris Paul

2015 All-Star starters announced

JPP injured in fireworks mishap?

Odell Beckham doesn't want to be known for 'the catch'

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.