How much can you get done in 13 seconds?
For the Kansas City Chiefs, it was all the time they needed to change the trajectory of their season, and tie the game with the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Division playoffs this past NFL season.
It led to a dramatic overtime victory, sending the team on their way to the Super Bowl — which they eventually won — crushing the hearts of Bill’s fans everywhere.
When we hear of teams winning in such dramatic fashion, we’re used to seeing images of raucous fans descending upon the city and celebrating — we don’t blame them.
But what happened after this playoff game is a refreshing take on the typical celebrations many have come to either love or fear.
Though Bills fans were devastated after the defeat, Chiefs fans were able to give them a reason to cheer up. Kansas City fans have collectively helped to raise over $300,000 for a children’s hospital following the dramatic victory.
But not just any hospital — a local hospital in Western New York, the home of their rivals, the Buffalo Bills.
The dramatic 13 seconds in the game took on new life, as many fans sent in donations for $13.
The Oishei Children’s Hospital (OCH) shared the news on Twitter, stating they received over $312,000 from more than 15,800 donors. The OCH says the donations will help ensure they have “all the tools needed to be ready to help,” alongside a photograph of the grateful team of nurses and practitioners.
The fundraising actually has an interesting origin story.
The Buffalo Bill’s fan base — known affectionately as the Bills Mafia — has been known to donate to charities affiliated with opposing teams. This scale of generosity, as we’ve come to see, is often contagious, and served as the inspiration for the Chief’s fan base.
Chiefs fan Brett Fitzgerald was the first to propose the donation idea on Facebook, where it quickly caught on, clearly resonating with over 15,000 Chiefs fans throughout the nation.
“The credit goes to Bills Mafia,” Fitzgerald told reporters. “I’m just some guy who put something on the internet.”
The fundraising seems to be part of a larger trend among NFL fans, as the Bills Mafia also raised over $40,000 for a visual impairment charity after NFL referees allegedly missed a pivotal call during a game between the Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After the Bills beat the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs in 2022, they also helped raise more than $400,000 for the opposing team’s quarterback’s charity.
In the Facebook group that started these donations, the comment section tells a story of opposing fandoms interacting quite differently than how they do on the field and at the stadium.
Much of the media surrounding sports fans centers on disagreement, and even violence. In this case, however, Bills fans are in ‘enemy territory’ posting about how much they appreciate the fans of the team that just ended their season– clearly recognizing what transcends football.
The story of Bills Mafia’s charitable contributions is a testament to the power of sports bringing people together for a greater cause. In a world where we are often divided by our differences, this group of football fans is setting a shining example of how we can unite for the greater good.