ORCHARD PARK - For the first time this season, the Buffalo Bills will not be available to watch on local television, as CEO Russ Brandon announced there were still some 15,000 tickets left to sell.
The Bills not being on television in December is certainly not something new, especially in recent years.
"Well I mean it is tough. You definitely want a full crowd to play in front of," Bills' running back Fred Jackson said Wednesday. "That is looking like that is not going to be the case, but we will come out and play and try and put on a show for the fans that are in the stands. That is just about it, come out there and do what we can and show up and play football. (For) the fans that are coming out to watch, hopefully we can go out and get a win for them."
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Going to games late in the season in Orchard Park has been more work than it has been worth lately, and with people getting into the holiday spirit and spending money on gifts, buying a ticket to watch two losing teams probably isn't high on too many peoples' lists of things to do.
"I think the biggest thing there is if you are not winning, I think you are going to see (unsold tickets)," Bills' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "Unfortunately, you look at how much excitement there was at the beginning of the year, and how we have not met expectations that we have had for ourselves and people have had for us, that is going to happen. The only way you bring them back is winning games."
The Bills will have a chance at getting a win this week, as they will face the 2-9 Jacksonville Jaguars, but a win might not come as easily as expected two or three weeks ago. The Jaguars beat the Tennessee Titans last week- the same Titans team that came to Ralph Wilson Stadium in Week 7 and broke the Bills' hearts with a 35-34 win - and took the Houston Texans to overtime in Week 11. And now, it may not help that the 12th man won't be at its loudest.
"Yeah and that is our responsibility," Bills' head coach Chan Gailey said of whether or not unsold tickets being bad for business. "Win to keep the fans excited about the football team. That is our responsibility. The fans are great. They are extremely loyal and they want a winner just like anybody else. I totally understand that."
For the fans who will be at the game Sunday, hopefully the rest of the Bills will be able have the same attitude as defensive end Mario Williams.
"I cannot focus on (unsold tickets)," Williams said. "I am trying to go out and play. Blacked out, televised, whatever - you have to go out and play."