Stadium-crossed lovers: Local couple rooting for separate teams ahead of Bills-Dolphins game

Local couple rooting for Bills AND Dolphins

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IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. — It’s no secret that Bills fans can be intense. They take their games, their community, and definitely their rivalries very, very seriously.

Ahead of Sunday’s Bills-Dolphins game in Miami, one local couple will be rooting for both teams.

Dan Brown grew up in an NFL-neutral home in the Utica area. A football player himself (an offensive lineman) he was wooed as a teen by the Miami Dolphins. 

“I just started kind of watching them and never stopped,” he said. “Just seeing some of those plays, the Hail Marys they kind of won games with, and just going, ‘Wow that was pretty impressive.'”

On the other hand, his wife Veronica Chiesi Brown is about as die-hard of a Bills fan as you can get. 

“I think I was born red white and blue, maybe?” she joked. “My first tattoo I ever got was three years ago, and it’s a Buffalo Bills logo […] it just it was a thing, right, it was pride in Buffalo, it was the Sabres, it was the Bills, it was anything Buffalo. And it just – it was a real big part of our family life too.”

When they met in 1996, the couple said their rivalry wasn’t that big of a deal. But as they got to know each other, and as their teams got better and better, the rivalry grew. 

 “What drew it more out — our rivalry — was because the longer we were together, the more we realized it was a part of our life,” Chiesi Brown said. 

With her Bills-loving sisters living in the area, Chiesi Brown definitely has the home team advantage when it’s game time.

“A lot of weeks we’ll have the Bills game on, and I’ll be kind of off in the corner on my phone or on my laptop watching the play-by-play,” Brown said. 

“We give him food and water, it’s okay,” Chiesi Brown added, laughing. 

Chiesi Brown is the first to admit: She’s definitely the more intense fan. 

“I am extremely into it,” she said. “And I’ve got to give him credit. Especially when Sunday comes and they play together, I try to be cognizant and respectful of him. But he is more [respectful] of me, because he knows I get more emotionally attached.”

But the game aside, there’s more to being a football fan for both members of the Bills Mafia and the Fin Nation.

For Brown, that’s an appreciation of the art of football. 

“We’re both fans of the sport,” he said. “It’s not like we watch only the Miami and Buffalo game, we watch football all day Sunday.”

For Chiesi Brown, it’s about the community. 

“You support each other, you support a community, you can get behind fundraisers and things like that, you can find connections between fans.”

So while the two love to trash talk ahead of (and during, and after) the games, they’re quick to compromise. 

Chiesi Brown: He understands its not just about the football team, it’s what it means to me. And like any good relationship, you understand what means the most to somebody and you kind of, you know, compromise. Not to say you don’t pick on each other — because his only comeback right now is “We won the Super Bowl.” And I said that doesn’t count, because it was before you were born.

Hailie Higgins: Does that count?

Brown: It counts.