The Buffalo Bills wanted a police escort to get home during the weekend's blizzard driving ban. Local police said 'no.'
- The Buffalo Bills requested a police escort home after they landed in Rochester over the weekend.
- Local police denied the request because there was a driving ban and they aren't essential workers.
Football wins don't buy you special treatment in Buffalo.
The Buffalo Bills asked for a police escort home during the blizzard-induced driving ban over the weekend, but local authorities shot the request down.
The football players weren't "essential workers," a top county official said.
After the Bills' Saturday road win in Chicago, the team flew into Rochester, New York, while nearby Buffalo was getting pounded by a winter storm that dumped feet of snow on the area and left dozens dead.
From Rochester, the team still needed to make it home to Buffalo.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said at a Wednesday press conference that when they landed, the Bills asked the Erie County Sheriff's Office for an escort back to Buffalo about a 75-mile drive west, despite the ban on travel.
Poloncarz said their request was denied because sheriff's deputies were responding to "life-threatening situations." So the team drove themselves.
"They were not allowed to travel. They did," Poloncarz said. "At that time, there was actually heavy snow still. I don't want anybody to think that Erie County gave preferential treatment to the Bills."
"As much as they're essential for our mental health when they win, they are not essential workers," he added.
—Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) December 28, 2022
But the Bills denied that this ever happened and said they never asked police for an escort home.
"We made sure that we were not diverting any resources needed in any part of our community, whatsoever," Ron Raccuia, the Buffalo Bills' executive vice president and COO, told The Buffalo News. "We were in constant communication not only with them, as well as other agencies throughout Western New York, from the day we left for Chicago on Thursday until the day we returned. But we did not ask for or receive special treatment. We would not do that."
He said the team made the "very difficult decision" to return to Buffalo amid a blizzard because the team wanted to be home for Christmas and they "tried to do it as safely as possible."
The Buffalo Bills did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Videos posted to social media show players found mounds of snow on top of their cars once they landed in Rochester.
—CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 25, 2022
—CBS News (@CBSNews) December 27, 2022
Poloncarz said on Wednesday that the driving ban will remain in place through the rest of the day in Buffalo. The National Guard and military police are helping keep road traffic under control, he added.
"We know that some people are low on food. We have rations available at area warming centers. Please work with neighbors and friends, walk to open stores if possible," Poloncarz tweeted Wednesday. "This is a delicate balancing act to keep tens of thousands of vehicles off clogged roads going to grocery stores."
There are several warming centers open across Erie County, according to The Buffalo News.
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