January 4, 2021
In early 1991, shortly after the Buffalo Bills loss in Super Bowl XXV, Bills quarterback Frank Reich came to Hornell for an event and made time to meet with Andy Lewis, a resident of Canisteo, New York, who suffered from Muscular Dystrophy. A few months before, in December 1990, during the Bills first Super Bowl run, Andy’s older brother Stevie Lewis had died of the same disease. During his visit, Reich expressed his condolences to Andy for the loss of his brother and the two spoke at some length.
Andy and Stevie were both passionate sports fans. Though both were wheel-chair bound with a rapidly degenerative disease and unable to participate physically, they remained actively engaged as fans. Their greatest love in sports was of course the Buffalo Bills.
Andy Lewis fought his battle with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy for two more years. Less than two months later on January 3, 1993, Frank Reich, playing for the injured Jim Kelly in the Wild Card playoff game at Rich Stadium against the Houston Oilers, found himself down 35-3 early in the second half. Reich then led the Bills to the greatest comeback in NFL history. The Bills won in overtime, 41-38.
This week, twenty-eight years later, Reich is the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, who are coming to Buffalo to play the red hot Buffalo Bills, who have not won a playoff game in a quarter century. Bills fans will always remember Reich fondly, but Reich has a special place in the hearts of many in the Canisteo Valley for taking time to meet with one fan in particular, many years ago.