Never been to an NFL training camp and want to really know what it’s like to sit in 100-degree heat while players stretch, hit tackling dummies and kickers try to split uprights? Busted Coverage is spending part of its summer to do a mini-NFL training camp tour. Our camp extravaganza continued Saturday night in Pittsford, NY on the campus of St. John Fisher College, is home to the Buffalo Bills’ training camp. Before we go any further, if you are looking for player updates and how Shawne Merriman’s achilles is doing, wrong blog.
Bills Camp Location:
3690 East Avenue, Rochester, New York 14618 (About 1hr and 30 mins, 87 miles from Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park).
• Parking tip – Pittsford-Menden and Pittsford-Sutherland High School lots are open for parking with a $1.00, 5 minute school bus shuttle ride to and from the front door of camp. And it was a very smooth run operation, in and out no problem.
• The parking lots on campus were pretty much on lock down to fan cars. However there were some “family run” lots within walking distance charging for prime spots close to campus.
Bills Camp Observations:
• What an operation, as you can see from the photos, this was not their first rodeo. There was a full fledge Bills Store tent on location, completely air conditioned with everything from new player jerseys, traded players jerseys, kids gear, women’s gear, etc. You name it, they had it. And it was priced fairly decent in comparison to the local stores and online shop.
• The stands were full, bleacher bench style seats on either side, with chair back seats on the 50. Portable reserved seating on the opposite side of the field. Standing room only on the fence was popular with the hat-on-backwards crew.
• Best seating location? Anywhere in the stands or in the standing room along the fence.
• This was definitely the complete fan experience. There was an autograph tent, the Buffalo Jills Cheerleaders were on hand, Free Tim Horton’s Iced Coffee, Free Sierra Mist soda, plenty of western New York food favorites on hand to purchase from vendor tents.
• There was even a kids fun zone, where kids could hit tackling dummies, run plays, punt, pass and kick. This was set up to be very family friendly, so if you wanted to bring your kids it would be a great thing to see. (Saturday night happened to be Fan Appreciation Night, and they even ended the practice with a fireworks display).
• There was an autograph tent , on site, with random players signing each day, being announced in the newspaper before each practice session.
• None, but doesn’t mean you couldn’t bring in a little something of your own. No security on hand. No one even checked our bags walking in, which in this day in age, was a little out of the ordinary. There were several tents set up on site that were even rented out for parties at the training camp. Those tents had adult beverages available to the party goers.
Proximity To Players
Solely based on the way that the facility is set up. There is about a 6ft wall from the field to the bleachers, and if you waited long enough or caught it at the right time, players were coming by signing things that the fans had hanging over the wall. The autograph tent helped in the fan proximity to players.
It’s camp. Players go through drills. However, there was enough to do other than just watch the practice, that if you got bored you could get up and walk around to the vendors, get something to eat, or browse the Bills Store. If you got there early enough you would most likely get a seat in the bleachers, and probably wouldn’t get it back if you got up. Believe it or not, the Bills really put on a classy operation and it was a top notch experience, even for a first time NFL training camp trip.
• Great people watching and can’t say it enough, the energy of the crowd cheering for the players everytime the team made a good play, really got me pumped for the season to start. Bring on the football already! And just like the Browns camp, BC spent other than a tank of gas to get there, $7.00 (drink, tolls, candy bar). This is the final frontier that most NFL teams haven’t tried to rip off the fans. Enjoy it while you can.