Starting off as a quarterback that barely made the roster in St. Louis his rookie season, the 29-year old now sits in the catbird seat with a loyal and passionate fan base watching his every move on the field.
With all due respect to Mario Williams, Stevie Johnson, Fred Jackson and more, they aren't going to be the determining factors of making the playoffs or failing to do so for a 13th straight season. While they can have a big impact, the fact of the matter is in the NFL, you sink or swim with your quarterback.
In 2012, Fitzpatrick is the guy. He's the player on this roster that will determine the Bills' fate more than anyone else.
And for the first time in his career, the pressure is on him to perform.
There's no doubt that Fitzpatrick is a great story. Coming up the ranks in the NFL the way he did, being especially personable and accommodating with fans off-the-field and even being known to fling a joke or two are just some of the reasons why the people of western New York have really embraced him.
The tough thing is though, all that means nothing if number-14 doesn't get it done consistently enough in 2012.
There are no more excuses for this team. The rebuilding project seems to be getting close to completion. The Bills felt they were so close that they went out and had one of the most productive off-seasons in franchise history.
They re-signed their own, they went out and roped in one of the biggest fish on the free agent market -- needless to say it's been a big build-up for fans since the season ended.
While the sum is greater than any individual parts, the most important number in that equation will be how well or poorly the quarterback plays.
Fitzpatrick has had two straight seasons where he's been a statistical maven to start, only to be followed up by lackluster play that saw his touchdown-to-interception ratio sink like a block of cement in the water.
Even with all the new pieces this year, he will be the biggest story throughout the season. If he struggles, that means the team struggles. And while having some defensive backing this time around could infinitely help his efforts, ultimately the onus is on Fitzpatrick to assure a victory when the team needs it most.
He will be tested early on. A litmus-type opponent in the New York Jets in the first week will offer a nice gauge, but the brutal stretch in late September through early November that pits the Bills up against teams that went a combined 66-30 last year will be the ultimate challenge.
It will be the toughest stretch of football, in terms of pressure to perform, that Fitzpatrick has faced in his life.
Will the freshly re-signed quarterback with a franchise-caliber contract live up to the hype? Or will he evoke yet another public outcry at the position that has seen more volatility since Jim Kelly retired than an active volcano?
No matter the case, he will undoubtedly be the man to watch as the Buffalo Bills chase after something that has evaded them for so long.
That ride starts this week, as the Bills open up training camp at St. John Fisher College.
And for Fitzpatrick, it's just another step up in the rather interesting NFL journey he's endured thus far.