UPDATE: The Bills/Steelers Wild Card game has been postponed until Monday due to weather conditions. Our original story follows.
The expression “the 12th man” has a long history in football, and plenty of NFL teams have embraced that. The phrase is used to refer to a team’s fans, who — the theory goes — can help shape the on-field action without ever leaving the stands. The Buffalo Bills are one such team; in 1992, they inducted the 12th man into their Wall of Fame. And if you’ve spent any time with members of the #BillsMafia (full disclosure: I have some friends who fall into this category), you know full well the depths of their fandom.
All of which might help explain why the Bills recent called for their 12th man to, en masse, make a rare appearance on the field at Highmark Stadium in advance of Sunday afternoon’s Wild Card Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The forecast for this weekend in western New York involves a fair amount of snow, which will need to be cleared if the game is to take place. And that’s what’s led to the team asking fans who have the time and inclination to help with the shoveling.
The Bills made the announcement on Friday afternoon, telling interested parties that they’d be needed starting at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night through the following morning. And yes, the work is paid — shovelers will get $20 an hour for their labor. The team’s announcement also states that “[c]omplimentary food and breaks will be provided throughout the shifts in a comfortable warm area.”
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Prospective shovelers are also asked to bring their own shovels, if they have them. (The announcement noted that shovels would be given to those who did not.) All told, it doesn’t sound like a bad deal — and it might well make for a great story somewhere down the line. Provided the Bills win, at least.