Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has never played a football game in Buffalo, NY. He knows nothing about the many menacing elements that can exist there. Ralph Wilson Stadium can be a very unpredictable place to play for a variety of reasons. Nobody knows what Smith’s first experience there will be like when the Chiefs take on the Buffalo Bills this Sunday.
Alex commented to the Chiefs’ official website yesterday on the most obvious of challenges he may face, the crowd. “Obviously, you have to deal with crowd noise, especially on big plays. Cadence, snap count, things like that obviously come into effect,” he said. Bills fans can be a raucous bunch, but they can also be fairly easily quieted.
Buffalo won the AFC East in six consecutive seasons from 1988-1993. The Bills went to the Super Bowl four years in a row at the end of that stretch. I can understand their fans frustration with them not winning a single one of them, but I’ll never forget what I saw while watching a game in 1994.
The Bills were struggling that season, but they weren’t dreadful. They finished the season 7-9. They had been in the playoff hunt as late as week 14, but lost the final three games of the season. In their final home game of the season against the New England Patriots, I specifically remember seeing a fan with a bag over his head and thinking … Really?
Kansas City’s quarterback denied being told anything about the winds in the “Ralph.” Weather can certainly be a factor there. Buffalo sits right on the eastern shore of Lake Erie and the body of water makes their climate very unpredictable as well.
Lake effects can be treacherous and occur very early; high winds coming off the frozen lake later in the winter are brutal. The day before the famous Blizzard of ’77 hit the depth of snow in Buffalo was 59.1 inches. During the storm, winds reached as high as 69 mph. The lowest recorded temperature there is -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s impossible to predict exactly what Smith and the Chiefs will encounter on Sunday against the Bills, but things are looking favorable. Buffalo is struggling at 3-5. The forecast is calling for a mild overcast day with a high of 43 and light winds of 10 to 15 mph.
Alex and company should remain cautious…you just never know what you’ll run into in Buffalo.
Troy Alan is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TRantMedia.