Rochester, New York is now the most hyped hometown in America thanks to Pepsi and stud wide receiver Sammy Watkins, a lifelong Bills fan.
This past Sunday, over 7,500 fans celebrated Rochester’s win in the Pepsi contest with their own ultimate Super Bowl halftime experience headlined by singing/songwriting duo Nico & Vinz, and appearances by new head coach Rex Ryan and Watkins.
Watkins was the NFL Rookie of the Week three times during the 2014 season and was the NFL Rookie of the Month for October. He also set single-season franchise rookie records with 65 receptions and 982 receiving yards, while scoring six touchdowns.
Talk about the work you did with Pepsi.
I worked with Pepsi on the “Hyped for Halftime” contest, which was a contest to find the best fans in the NFL. Rochester, NY did a great job as fans and I’m happy to say we won. They did it! They’ve been leading us for 30 to 40 years, helping us on and off the field, so this is a great treat for them.
One word to describe Bills fans is “crazy.” When we’re hitting at all points on offense and defense, the stadium gets crazy. Sometimes, we have to quiet them down so we can get the play call in. Pepsi was looking for the best fans and this proves we’ve got the best fans. And, Rochester got their own Pepsi Halftime Show, just like the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show with Katy Perry.
I read you were a Buffalo Bills fan as a kid, so you can really connect with the people. What’s it like to be a fan and grow up and join the Bills?
Yes, I was. They were my favorite team to watch when I was younger. To be here playing for the Bills? Man, it’s great! It shows you how blessed I am. I’m in a great situation with the team I love. I try to go out every week and put my best on the field, fight to get the win at the end of the day. That’s what I think it’s all about at the end of the day as a member of the Bills: fighting with the guys next to you and coming out with a win.
Who was your favorite Bills player growing up?
Lawyer Milloy for sure, but I had a couple of them. Eric Moulds, Andre Reed, Jim Kelly, Thurman… All those guys. Drew Bledsoe, Nate Clements, Takeo Spikes… A lot of guys.
What was your “I’m in the NFL now” moment, on or off the field?
Every National Anthem, you realize it’s a blessing. Not too many people get to be on the field, let alone play. Or get to be right next to a Peyton Manning and watch him play. Or, you’re right next to watching the best defensive line in the NFL. Those moments, you realize you’re in the NFL. You’re with the best of the best and you’ve got to go out there and compete.
What’s your favorite play from your rookie season?
Winning the game against the Vikings when I scored on the goalline with one second left. It was a great play call. Coach Moore (former 10-year veteran wide receiver Rob Moore) put me in the position to make the play. He basically said, “This game is going to come down to the wide receivers. Get ready because it may be you.” He called the play, and I made a great play at the end of the game.
Who is the best defender you’ve faced?
Darrelle Revis, the guy who I think is the best corner in the league.
In your football career as a whole, even going back to Clemson, what is your signature moment?
I literally think every time you step on the field is a signature moment, but I would say pregame specifically. You’re just blessed to be out there, not too many people are blessed to be in a position like this, playing with these greats. You’re just recognizing how fortunate you are to be on the field and how you are inspiring others. That’s a significant moment.
Pregame warm-ups is the best feeling ever; just seeing the fans pack the stadium, you get to work out and you get to try and look pretty in front of everyone. Then once the game starts, everything’s not so pretty!
The Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show is the most-watched musical event of the year. Click here for more details.
Check out Sammy Watkins on Twitter.