For lifelong Bills fan Joe Schieve, an Aug. 28 trip to the team's new store unfolded into an amusing story, if not an omen for the coming season.
The business teacher and lacrosse coach from Johnson City High School -- just west of Binghamton, NY -- was in a rush as he freshened his Bills wardrobe for the 2014 season, glancing quickly at the front of a New Era team cap before gliding through the checkout line in Orchard Park.
The following day, Schieve showed off his new Bills apparel to his wife, Michelle, who uttered an unexpected reply.
"Why'd you buy a Patriots hat?" Schieve recalls her asking.
As Schieve looked closer, he noticed that the front of the Bills hat featured the correct logo, but, oddly, the back displayed New England's insignia and logo. He quickly shared the bizarre story with his social media networks -- he's @Dnick55 on Twitter -- and it grew legs to Busted Coverage and SB Nation, among other sites.
"The funny part of the story was that it could have been any other NFL team, but it had to be the arch-rival Patriots on the back," Schieve wrote in an email. When the Bills learned of the mishap through the Busted Coverage story, Schieve says he was immediately contacted by team representatives so they could address the issue.
A Bills season-ticket holder and devoted fan, the Johnson City teacher has no intention of discarding the hat.
"It has a great story behind it, and I hope it brings the Bills a lot of luck this season," Schieve wrote. "I view it as an omen that the Bills will finish in front of the Patriots this year, since we are in the front of the hat."