When the Buffalo Bills had to move their entire operation to Detroit’s Ford Field on short notice for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns due to massive snow accumulation in and around their home stadium, it took everybody on the team to get that done. More than six feet of snow hit the suburb of Orchard Park, so everyone had to get going in a hurry, and this left some of the most important Bills in need of assistance just to get out of their houses and onto the plane from Buffalo to Detroit in the first place.
“We had two plans,” Bills Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Ron Raccuia said, per the team’s official site. “They were supposed to work in conjunction with each other. We had a series of plow drivers lined up to go to players’ houses and plow them out and then the players could drive to the facility, but early Saturday morning we realized that wasn’t going to work. There was too much snow for plow trucks to move and there was a driving ban in Orchard Park. So at that point we shifted to a full-scale pickup operation.”
Snowshoes. Snowmobiles. Snowplows.
We found a way to get to Detroit. 😤
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) November 20, 2022
The Bills were assisted by the fact that the snow had drifted north, giving everybody involved some time to put the plan together.
“We broke it down into neighborhoods and determined who could get out and how close they lived in proximity to other players and staff,” Raccuia said. “Then [Football Administration and Operations Coordinator] Ryan Moore and [Coordinator of Player Services] Kelsey Harkins basically ran point on logistics. So as they were calling players, they were then calling us to update us on the status of players being able to get to the stadium. There were more numerous impassable streets than we had anticipated.”
General manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott picked up players and coaches who lived near their homes. Raccuia rode with Vice President of Communications Derek Boyko, and they were picking up players along the way. Offensive tackle Dion Dawkins was in the most precarious position, because he was in the city of Hamburg, which had received 73 inches of snow.
“It took us an hour and 25 minutes to get from near the stadium to Dion’s house in Hamburg, one way,” Raccuia said. “We tried at least three different ways to get there, and we kept getting turned around.”
Running back Devin Singletary’s street hadn’t been plowed at all, so he got an extra lower-body bump: Walk a quarter-mile to his ride through five feet of snow.
“I had to walk from my house out to Southwestern so [Assistant Director of Pro Scouting] Chris Marrow could pick me up,” Singletary said. “The snow was up to my waist. Walking through that snow was like a beach workout. I got to the end of my driveway and had to take a breath. Some of my neighbors filmed me walking down the street. I saw it later on social media.”
Tight end Dawson Knox was one of several players assisted by those who lived nearby, and wanted their guys to get to the game.
“It’s the City of Good Neighbors, man,” Knox said. “It’s hard to believe, but we pulled it off. I was carrying my suitcase over my head trudging through the snow. Tommy [Sweeney] was with me. Thanks to an assembly line of neighbors shoveling, we were able to get out. They just all showed up and got to work. I have a long driveway, so there was no way we would’ve gotten out. It was amazing to see.”