Buffalo Bills' Highmark Stadium is open to Mother Nature with little protection from impending snowstorm

The Buffalo Bills stadium design provides little protection from the elements – both snow and cold. And a significant snow threat has forced the NFL to move the matchup with the Cleveland Browns to Detroit.

It's no secret that when lake-effect snow hits Buffalo, Highmark Stadium gets hit too. The Buffalo Bills stadium design provides little protection from the elements – both snow and cold. It is these risks that likely weighed heavily on the NFL to move Sunday's big game out of Buffalo to Detroit.

The team said due to public safety concerns the match with the Cleveland Browns will be moved to Ford Field in lower Michigan, where less snow will be falling.

The last time the NFL moved a game out of Buffalo due to weather was in 2014.

Drastic temperatures aren't in the forecast, but the surrounding snow will feel colder, especially with the lack of heat in most of the stadium. Only a select few areas in Highmark Stadium have heating, and due to its design, almost all seating has no protection from the elements – including the impending snow.

Now, the Buffalo Bills recently released renderings for their new state-of-the-art stadium expected in the fall of 2026, and the team and designers knew that the lack of heat and no overhang to protect fans were issues.

"In addition to the stacked seating that will provide protection from the elements, extensive radiant heating will be in place to enhance fan comfort," Bills insider Chris Brown wrote about the released renderings.

And while the design is always subject to change, the new stadium is said to have a clearer focus to be both "functional and comfortable" for the Bills Mafia.

But in the meantime, the open-air stadium will have to do with the little heat and feet of snow

Snow removal at the Buffalo Bills stadium

What happens, and how do they remove feet of snow from Highmark Stadium? With a little help from the community.

In previous seasons, the Bills have called on the public for shovelers.

With shovels provided by the stadium, fans work to clear the snow section by section.

Meanwhile, snowplows take to the field, where snow is removed and relocated behind the stadium.

Is Buffalo Bills’ Highmark Stadium field heated?

It would be a whole lot easier if the Buffalo Bills' Highmark Stadium field was heated, but unfortunately, it's not.


Unlike Lambeau Field in Green Bay, the Bills stadium has A-Turf Titan, a product made by a western New York company. 

The Buffalo Bills are the only team in the NFL to have this type of turf.

Being that Buffalo is the 4th snowiest city in the U.S. and receives just shy of 8 feet of snow per year, it would be a wise investment for their new projected stadium. 

'Snow Bowl' of 2017

The Buffalo Bills are no strangers to playing in more than a foot of snow.

Just a year before quarterback Josh Allen was drafted to the Bills, an iconic 'Snow Bowl' game was played, where heavy lake effect snow dumped 16.7 inches in Orchard Park, New York.

The Bills and Indianapolis Colts played a game in near-blizzard conditions at Highmark Stadium (then named "New Era Field") on December 10, 2017, and it was projected that up to nine inches of that total fell during the game alone.

Scenes showed near whiteout conditions as players worked to move the ball down the field.