We made the playoffs.For the first time since 1999, we made the playoffs.
The reactions to the proverbial monkey being lifted off an entire city’s back were incredible and emotional and real and warranted. For people of a certain age (including mine) the feat felt fictitious—a glitch in the Madden simulation. For those of an older generation the feeling still felt foreign, like a memory from long ago resurfacing.
But, in many ways, the Buffalo Bills win (and that of the Cincinnati Bengals) was a redemption story not all that unfamiliar to the Buffalo Niagara region.
Over the last five years, our region has seen $19.2 billion in development investments. That capital has given new life to a now vibrant waterfront. Young millennials are coming to the city at rates well over the national average for walkable streets, hundreds of miles of bike lanes, easy public transport, and a lively after-work scene.
Most importantly, Buffalo business is booming. More than $3 billion in investment has gone into the Central Business District alone. The entrepreneurial ecosystem was ranked #2 in the country by Entrepreneur.com. Both public and private investment has increased confidence. Major companies are finding Buffalo a perfect fit for new operations, like Tesla and Panasonic for their groundbreaking Solar Gigafactory. Real estate is controllable and inexpensive, talent is available with cost-efficient wages, and power is premium with Natural Wonder of the World Niagara Falls in our own backyard.
To many people that list of accomplishments and assets would have seemed unimaginable oh, let’s say, 17 years ago.
In many ways, Buffalo is the great sign of American endurance. Its history has been written, erased, and rewritten again.
When watching those playoff celebration videos, you see reliaince. You see a fanbase that endured 17 years of football that ended in the regular season. And now, you see hope.
We made the playoffs. We're bringing Buffalo Niagara back. This is just the beginning.
As 12-year veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams said, “Now, let’s go make some noise.”