You don’t need to be a Buffalo Bills fan to know famous players like former quarterback Jim Kelly or that their fans take tailgates to extreme levels. But if you are a part of Bills Mafia, you know superfan Pancho Billa and his significance to the organization.
When the Bills played, whether on the road or at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York, there was Ezra Castro, dressed in his famous outfit. When the Bills won in December last season, according to ESPN, defensive tackle Harrison Phillips delivered a signed photo by the team. When the Bills selected Ed Oliver with their first round pick (No. 9 overall) in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Houston star draft pick paid Pancho Billa a visit in the hospital.
Although Buffalo Bills superfan Pancho Billa lived in Dallas and was originally from El Paso, Texas, he was seemingly always right there in Buffalo. Unfortunately, a long battle with spinal cancer ended and he passed away Tuesday morning at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He was only 39.
A life was taken way too soon, but the memories of the sombrero and facemask will last forever in Buffalo Bills history. May the first member of the Buffalo Fan Wall of Fame rest in peace.
“Our hearts broken as we have lost our dear brother Ezra “Pancho Billa” his morning. We are thankful and forever grateful for all the love and support during this journey. Ezra was surrounded by family and loved ones. At this time we ask for privacy as we mourn our loss.”
Ezra Castro’s hobby was the Buffalo Bills. He saved money year-round to go see Bills games any chance he could. This wasn’t just a Bills superfan. This was family. Everyone felt that way, too.
“Pancho was a pillar of positive strength and energy for me and all of #BillsMafia,” Bills co-owner Kim Pegula wrote on social media. “He’s been a tremendous inspiration for our team. I was fortunate enough to spend time with him and get to know his story. My heart goes out to his children, friends and family. Viva Los Bills!”
At the 2018 NFL Draft, Pancho Billa even got to go on stage and read Buffalo’s third-round pick (No. 96 overall), which happened to be Harrison Phillips out of Stanford.
Pancho Billa is gone, but PanchoPower will never be forgotten.