Batteries, Mooning Nuns And An A**hole With A Shoe: Bills-Dolphins Games In Buffalo Never Fail To Entertain

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BUFFALO — One year when the Miami Dolphins visited the Buffalo Bills in December, the sideline reporter for NBC Sports wanted to do a segment on how the Dolphins were stuffing their shoes with Cayenne pepper to keep their feet warm.

To help their broadcast partner illustrate the point, the Dolphins had a staffer named Craig Heil bring out one of the player’s shoes for the reporter to use as a prop. While Heil was waiting for the segment to air pregame, Buffalo fans noticed Heil in Dolphins gear walking along the Dolphins sideline holding a shoe.

So first one guy called out to Heil, and soon an entire section of Bills fans were chanting at the Dolphins staffer:

“A**hole with a shoe!

“A**hole with a shoe!”

Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino part of classic rivalry with Bills.
Quarterback Dan Marino was part of the great rivalry between the Dolphins and Bills in the early 1990s. (Getty Images)

Dolphins Visits To Buffalo Had Much At Stake

During another winter trip to Buffalo, Miami’s team buses were rolling down Abbott Road when players noticed a guy dressed as Santa Claus cursing at the buses and then pelting one of the buses with a chunk of ice.

Another time a man dressed as a nun yelled obscenities at the Dolphins buses. And how did the players know the nun was actually a man?

“Supposedly there was some mooning going on,” said Stuart Weinstein, who served as Miami’s head of security for 34 years.

That was in the early 1990s when the Buffalo Bills were the class of the AFC East and the Dolphins were the only division opponent able to challenge that dominance.

The series typically included an early-season game in the Miami heat and a late-season meeting in Buffalo’s frigid temperatures. That’s how the AFC East was decided from 1990-95, with the Bills always beating the Dolphins in the playoffs even if the teams split their regular-season games.

Well, history might be repeating this weekend. The Dolphins travel to Buffalo for a Saturday game that will go a long way in deciding who wins the AFC East.

Like those games, Saturday’s meeting will be played in cold, snow and ice. And it’s possible that years from now the current generation of Dolphins and Bills players will relive tales about what happened in this game.

The Bills and Dolphins of yesteryear clearly have those tall tales.

Bills running back Thurman Thomas part of classic rivalry with Dolphins.
Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas was something of a Dolphins killer in the early 1990s. (Getty Images)

Bills Dominated But Not Without A Fight

Consider a late season 1995 meeting in Buffalo that led to a couple of postgame standoffs between players.

On Dec. 17, exactly 27 years from Saturday’s game, the Bills beat Miami 23-20. They sealed the victory with a Thurman Thomas run for a first down. And on that play fullback Carwell Gardner and Dolphins linebacker Bryan Cox got into a scuffle. Both were ejected.

“I walk Bryan off the field along with a [law enforcement officer] and they get to the locker and I leave the LEO with Bryan in the locker room and I go back on the field,” Weinstein said.

“I come to find out Carwell instead of going to his locker room comes over to our locker room. Bryan heard Carwell is outside our locker room and so Bryan, who just got out of the shower and had a towel wrapped around him, wants to go outside in 20-degree weather to fight the guy.”

The LEO got in the way of that incident. But as Miami’s buses loaded, Cox apparently saw Carwell walking to his car and starts yelling at him. Gardner and his brother Donnie, who had played for the Dolphins, come toward the Miami buses to challenge Cox.

That’s when Cox and defensive tackle Tim Bowens got off the bus to fight the Gardners.

Weinstein and a couple of the team’s contractor law enforcement officers got off the bus to stop Cox and Bowens.

“That’s was ’95 and we went back up there about two weeks later in the playoffs and they beat us pretty good,” Weinstein said. “That was coach [Don] Shula’s last game.”

Current day Dolphins and Bills can rekindle an old rivalry.
Quarterback Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills is tackled in the fourth quarter of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on September 25, 2022. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Bills And Dolphins Rekindle Rivalry

It was a different time. Bills fans routinely pelted the Dolphins sideline with beer bottles and batteries. After Cox made headlines by saying he hated Buffalo days before a trip to Orchard Park, he was greeted with boos and racial epithets during pregame warmups.

“Cox had made some comments about Buffalo fans which wasn’t well received,” Weinstein said. “People started using the N-word, which a bunch of us that were on the field pregame heard. And Cox got angry.”

Cox infamously greeted the entire stadium with twin one-finger salutes during player introductions which were aired live on television. The NFL fined Cox. He not only appealed but sued the league for putting him in a hostile work environment. The fines were rescinded.

There were also more routine moments such as when fans threw objects at the Dolphins bench.

“That happened a couple of times,” Weinstein said. “If you have 200 or 250 security types and 80,000 fans there’s only so much you can do. But, yeah, batteries landed in our bench area, and actually, I caught one.

“But, hey listen, those fans came from Canada, from Western New York. When you think about it when you go up there, it wasn’t a very affluent area. And the Bills were something the fans could rally around. And I commend them for it.”

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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