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Buffalo Sports Fan of the Week: Matt Devine

Buffalo Sports Fan of the Week: Matt Devine

So I had an idea for a new segment through this already long and boring season without a first round draft pick and a losing hockey team; focus on the amazing fan base our sports teams have!

I sent out a feeler tweet knocking around the idea of focusing on a different super fan each week (as you can tell it’s going to be every Friday), but I never knew I was going to hit such a jackpot within minutes of sending out my idea:

“@GdoubleT:

If you think you’re a Buffalo super fan and deserve to be featured on our site, contact me!”

— John DiCarlo (@PacoPants) February 25, 2015

After Matt’s friend John “nominated” him, Matt got in touch with me and sent me what can only be considered the Buffalo Bills man cave that can put any other man cave to shame:

@GdoubleT:

my living room is pretty sweet

— Devo (@mdevine29) February 25, 2015

I reached out to Matt and he kindly answered the tough questions that the world wanted to know:

So Matt, how long have you been a fan of the Buffalo Bills? Why?

Matt:  I’ve been a Bills fan my entire life.  My dad was a season ticket holder in the 80’s and 90’s, so I would get to go to a game or 2 a year. My 1st game was in September of 1990 and it was one for the history books. The Bills were losing to John Elway and the Denver Broncos late in the game, but then the Bills scored 3 touchdowns in 77 seconds and ended up winning 29-28. Rich Stadium was so loud that the refs stopped the game and threatened to give the Bills a penalty if the fans didn’t quiet down. That only made the place get louder. After that I was hooked. That was the first year of our 4 straight Super Bowl appearances.

Matt: I started my collection when I was very young.  I was Jim Kelly for Halloween for like 3 or 4 straight years starting in preschool.  I started out collecting Pro Set football cards. I liked those the best because they made cards for every starter on the team. During the Super Bowls, I would line up all my cards of the offense and defense, and have them reenact the previous play. I remember getting yelled at when Alvin Harper scored a TD against the Bills in one of the Dallas games and I ripped up his card. So I’ve always had Bills gear. Darryl Talley gave me his game worn glove after a game when i was younger so that probably started my love of memorabilia. But I became a serious collector probably about 10-15 years ago. Who are some of your favorite signatures? Can you name all of the signatures you have?

Matt: I have about a hundred, give or take, autographs of players. I have signed jerseys by Kelly, Reed and Thomas. I have a ton of signed footballs cards and pictures. Also I have a football signed by all 22 players that played in all 4 Super Bowls. Thats probably the thing thats worth the most. My dad is a big reason why I’m such a big fan. He would take me to go meet all the players at different signings and charity events growing up so thats how I got a bunch of autographs. Also I have all 10 of the Bills Hall of Famers signed mini helmets, with the exception of Bill Polian, which I’m hoping to get one when he gets inducted in August. Do you have a favorite piece?

Matt: I have a lot of cool stuff, the HOF helmets, the team signed Super Bowl football, every different helmet the Bills have worn since 1960, Lee Evans game worn pants, the stadium seat from Rich Stadium, unopened bottle of Champagne from Super Bowl XXV. But my favorite is definitely a signed football from a little known reserve cornerback named David Pool. When he played for the Bills in the early nineties, he played a charity basketball game at my elementary school against the teachers. 5 year old me was the only one to know who he was, so he gave my his wristband. We became pen pals and he came over for dinner at my house. He invited me to go inside the locker room at Fredonia for training camp, but a week before I was supposed to go, he injured his knee and was released from the team, so I never got to go. Fast forward 20 something years later and my mom got a hold of him on Facebook, and got him to send me an autographed ball for my birthday. So that is easily my favorite piece. Is that seat significant? An actual seat you had a ticket in, or just a seat you got your hands on?

Matt: The seat is signed by Van Miller and its from Rich Stadium when they made the renovations in 1998. I met a guy from Grand Island who helped work the renovation and had a couple for sale. So i couldn’t pass up a chance to have an actual piece of the Stadium. If we ever get a new downtown stadium, I would love to buy my seat from the Ralph. I’ve had season tickets in the same seat in section 117 since 2003. Just Bills? Do you support any other local sports teams? Matt: I love the Sabres and the Yankees, My room started out a mix of the 3 teams, but the Bills slowly took over the room. I still have a fair amount of memorabilia and merchandise for those two teams, but no where near the amount of my Bills stuff. I try to get to 3 or 4 Sabres game a year, and take a road trip to NYC for Yanks games every now and then. Other than being one of the most passionate Bills fans alive, what else do you do?

Matt: When Im not searching online for some new cool piece of Bills memorabilia, I’m a firefighter, paramedic and bartender. Unlike most people that like to use their days off over the summer when its nice out, I save my time off for Sundays in fall. So if I’m not watching the game at the Ralph, I’m at home watching the game in my Bills room. Once a season, me and a couple friends pick an away game to go to. So hopefully I can go to every stadium in the NFL to see the Bills play.

Getting the chance to speak with Matt was awesome.  In an awesome coincidence, Matt and I have sat in the same section at Ralph Wilson Stadium for years and we never knew it.  We didn’t even follow each other on Twitter until he was nominated, but I can tell you for sure that I can’t wait to have a beer with this bearded super fan come September!  If you want to know more about Matt or his collection, follow him on Twitter @mdevine29.

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