In frigid conditions, in the wee hours of the morning, a huge crowd gathered to welcome Allen back. It was their way of saying “thanks” in the wake of the 17-10 road win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Allen’s gleeful, gracious reaction was a work of art. No, literally, it became a work of art. But before sharing that story, let’s rewind to how the Allen and the Bills got there.
Josh Allen helped avoid another drought for the Bills
The Bills had a brutal 17-year playoff drought, suffering futile seasons from 2000 through 2016. Their luck finally changed when they essentially sneaked into the playoffs in 2017 in part because of an unlikely Cincinnati Bengals win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Josh Allen joined the Bills as the seventh pick in the first round of the 2018 draft. To say he started slowly is an understatement; his initial performance produced a 0.0 quarterback rating.
By the end of 2018, a different Josh Allen was on the field. After being sidelined for much of the season because of injury, he returned with his mental game sharpened beyond all expectations.
The Bills’ big playoff-clinching win
Despite having an incredible season, the Bills needed to take down the Pittsburgh Steelers to guarantee a playoff spot without additional drama. With the next game scheduled against the division-leading New England Patriots, the window was rapidly closing.
The Steelers, in full-on quarterback crisis, left the struggling Mason Rudolph benched in favor of their third option. Devlin “Duck” Hodges gave up three disastrous turnovers, while Josh Allen enjoyed incredible defensive support.
The Bills’ seven-point lead held throughout the entire fourth quarter. The game ended on Pittsburgh’s turnover, ending hopes of a possible tying dive in a split second. The Bills are going to the playoffs.
Josh Allen and the night of the selfie
Bills fans are dedicated. Really, really dedicated. They’re the rare sort of fanbase that braves horrible weather and losing seasons without batting an eye.
Yet it was still unexpectedly heartwarming to see a huge crowd gathered to greet Josh Allen as he landed back home from Pittsburgh.
Picture the scene. It’s two in the morning. The weather is freezing — you can see Allen’s breath. Yet when he sees the fans welcoming him home, you can actually see the energy course through him.
He runs up to the fence, takes a lucky fan’s phone, and takes the most famous NFL selfie of the year.
The picture was a social media sensation. But Bills fans are a little different. This sort of moment needs honors a little closer to home.
How Josh Allen became a literal work of art
On a lark, a Bills fan said the Josh Allen selfie should be in a gallery. Specifically, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
No one could’ve expected the proprietor would oblige quickly.
The gallery is currently closed for renovations, so some fans assumed the moment was simply a joke. Not so. The official account for the gallery posted proof that the picture is already framed, mounted, and ready for viewing in January.
There you have it. Josh Allen’s playoff-clinching performance, and the joyous response from his fans, is now officially a work of art. For the sake of long-suffering Bills fans, let’s hope he has a few more iconic moments left in him.