EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — With Championship Sunday upon us, Buffalo Bills fans everywhere are on the edge of their seats — just one win away from getting back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1993.
Perhaps no Bills fan in the country would have enjoyed their playoff run more than the late Ezra Castro, better known by his superfan persona “Pancho Billa.” Castro, a native of El Paso and a graduate of Riverside High School, died in 2019 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was just 39 years old.
The Castro family tells KTSM they are pulling harder than ever for the Bills and know how much “Pancho Billa” would have loved to see his team back in another Super Bowl.
“It has been very emotional for the family,” said Castro’s brother Jaime. “Through Ezra’s journey, we’ve met a lot of good people. People that are like family to me. It’s not until you understand and see the love, appreciation and the passion that a loved one has for something. To want to see his team succeed and then never get to see it, but then it’s right after [Castro’s death] — all his dreams of what he wanted has come to realization and it’s tough.”
“Pancho Billa” was a superfan in superhero form. While battling cancer, he made appearances at the last two NFL drafts. Since his death, the team continues to honor his memory by wearing authentic “Panchos Army” jackets before and after their games.
“This goes beyond sports — this about showing compassion, showing humanity, it’s about showing there’s so much more to us guys banging on the field,” Jaime Castro said. “It’s about people who love us and we’re returning that love right back.”
Ezra Castro is survived by his fiancée, Veronica Borjon and their two children, 8-year-old Gino and 5-year-old Lourdes. Gino has since carried on his father’s legacy and goes by the nickname “Panchito” within the Bills Mafia fan club. In fact, Gino will attend Sunday’s AFC Championship Game in Kansas City against the Chiefs.
“He’s [Castro] happy his son is getting to see this,” Jaime Castro said. “His son is a loyal fan, his daughter is a loyal fan, and he’ll be at the championship game this weekend. I know his son is where he would want him to be.”
The Bills are a 3.0-point underdog against the Chiefs on Sunday, but Buffalo has been proving people wrong all season and you just get the feeling, “Pancho Power” could play a role in Sunday’s matchup.