Bills fans came out in record numbers this past season to register to be a designated driver and helped the team finish in the top five in the entire NFL in signups.
2014 Top 5 Teams in Designated Driver Sign Ups:
1. New England Patriots – 28,798
2. Kansas City Chiefs – 17,626
3. Miami Dolphins – 17,572
4. Baltimore Ravens – 16,027
5. Buffalo Bills – 14,284
Unfortunately, everyone has experienced someone affected by drunk driving, and the Bills have partnered with TEAM Coalition (Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management), and MADD (Mother's Against Drunk Driving) to promote awareness and support responsibility. The Designated Driver program is important to all the family and friends of those who have had loved ones killed by drunk drivers.
"The Bills were one of the two first teams to partner with MADD on their designated driver program," said Debbie Weir, MADD chief executive officer. "Over the past five years, the Bills organization has truly committed to encouraging designated driving and it shows in their results. Bills fans have embraced the call to make sure their game-day experiences include a non-drinking driver and MADD's Erie County volunteers have worked hard with them to get as many non-drinking designated drivers signed up as possible. MADD is proud to be partnered with the Bills and their fans to help keep the roads safe."
"Support of the Designated Driver program by Bills fans has been outstanding," said Jill Pepper, TEAM Coalition executive director. "The enhanced promotion of the program by their team, and substantial increase in fan participation by committing to be a designated driver shows that Bills fans really care about their gameday experience and are committed to driving sober. The Bills achieved three impressive responsibility firsts in 2014. Not only did they win the Responsibility Bowl, but they also won the Bud Light Good Sport Designated Driver Challenge with the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, and they finished in the top five for designated drivers league-wide."
2009-2014 Bills Designated Driver Signups and NFL Ranking:
2014 - 14,284 - (5th)
2013 - 7,202 - (15th)
2012 - 4,452 - (22nd)
2011 - 3,375 - (25th)
2010 - 1,783 - (29th)
2009 - 1,422 - (27th)
Anheuser Busch (Bud Light), and Delaware North Companies were valuable partners in support of the Bills Designated Driver program. Each fan who registered to be a designated driver on gameday received a complimentary soft drink and had the chance to win great prizes like autographed footballs, helmets and even a trip to the Pro Bowl or Super Bowl.
In addition to the top 5 finish in designated driver signups, Bills fans helped the team win the AFC East Division Bud Light Good Sport Designated Driver Challenge and the 2014 Responsibility Bowl.
2014 Bud Light Good Sport Designated Driver Challenge Winner:
Buffalo Bills 107,244 Dolphins 95,940 Jets 23,652
The Bud Light Good Sport Designated Driver Challenge was a competition between three of the AFC East teams: the Buffalo Bills, the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets. The Bills were the winner of the Bud Light Good Sport Designated Driver Challenge by having the most total points at the end of the 2014 regular season. Points were earned when fans pledged to be Good Sports - designated drivers - at NFL games and when fans showed support for their favorite team's responsibility efforts on Facebook and Twitter.
*2014 Responsibility Bowl Champions:
Buffalo Bills 36,853 *Patriots 12,991
The Responsibility Bowl was a five-round tournament pitting all 32 NFL teams in head-to-head match-ups throughout the season. Teams advanced through the rounds by earning points when their fans pledged to be responsible, either by signing up to be designated drivers at the games or by responding to social media posts from the teams and their partners about the competition. The Bills beat the Vikings, Dolphins, Texans and Bears on their way to the Championship round where they beat the Patriots for the Responsibility Bowl Championship title.
These NFL-wide competitions encouraged responsible fan behavior, and raised awareness about existing designated driver programs offered at all 31 NFL stadiums. NFL fans who planned ahead to use public transportation, take a taxi or a car service or make other arrangements so that they never drive drunk helped earn points for their favorite NFL team.
"The Designated Driver programs that TEAM Coalition and MADD help organize are a fun and unique way for the Bills to share the message of responsible fan behavior, and we continue to see a positive trend of a better gameday atmosphere in Buffalo," said Andy Major, Buffalo Bills vice president of operations & guest experience. "We appreciate and value the supportive Bills fans that are respectful and courteous to fellow fans, practice responsible behavior and responsible drinking, and cheer on our home team loudly and proudly at The Ralph. We truly have the best fans in the NFL."