Filed under: Buffalo Bills, NFL News, Uncategorized | Tags: Bills in Toronto, Buffalo, Buffalo Bills, NFL
I know my posts are usually riddled with sarcasm and puns, but I’m going to take it down a notch today.
The hot topic around WNY this year has been the gloomy-looking future for the “Buffalo” Bills. I’m not going to claim today that I am totally qualified to answer the question of whether or not they’ll leave. But I do know I have some semi-educated thoughts and ideas (or at least degrees in Economics and Law), so here we go.
Buffalo is not a major city anymore. If the NFL was created tomorrow, there is no way we’d even be in the running. And that’s obvious, but a needed starting point.
Most Buffalo fans feel as though we deserve to keep our team, and I wholeheartedly agree. We have some of the most die-hard, loyal, sports-oriented, amazing fans across any sport. But the NFL has sent the message to us loud and clear that that just isn’t enough. And we as fans, as much as we want to prove we can sell out games, can’t do much to keep them here on our own until there are more of us (or we as a group become exceedingly wealthy). While the lowest ticket prices in the league are super awesome for us, the Man doesn’t see it that way.
The Bills in Toronto is a very touchy subject. I go back and forth on it several times a week, especially on the choice of game this season. But there’s one thing I do know, minus the threat of them packing up and completely moving to Tdot (which in my mind is unlikely, they’d support 2 more hockey teams before they could support an NFL team on their own), sharing our team with the region we’re in can only help right now. Anyone who doubts the economic impact should realize this: the Toronto-based group hosting the series paid the Bills $78 million for the 8 games… more than double the Bills’ calculated 2006 operating income (thestar.com). Some of the tickets on StubHub are listed at $1,250 each for the PRE-season game. You know, the ones you never want to go to so you give the ticket to your neighbor’s nephew? $1,250. The cheapest pre-season game ticket? $89. Not to mention all the huge Tdot companies buying up luxury seats and food at those oh-so-low Sports Service suit prices. ($55 for a nasty cheese pizza. $100 for an order of wings. Trust me, I worked in the Ralph Suites for years.) However, as much help as we’re getting from the Tdot market right now, I’d like to look at them as a welfare program. Just there long enough to get us back on our feet.
Buffalo needs to become a globalized city again for the NFL to stop laughing at us and give us a little credit. That doesn’t mean we have to give up our underdog status, or our blue-collar identity, but we have to be able to compete financially with the big dogs. We need to be a household name as a city, not just a team. A random Chinese citizen needs to be able to point us out on a map. In the mindset of being realistic, we’re never going to be the global power we were before we shot ourselves in the foot by inventing air conditioning (thereby moving industry southwards) and building highways for trucking. But we can be competitive again. I know no one over the age of 35 in this town thinks that’s possible, but it really is.
Plenty of people in this town have plenty of really good ideas on how to accomplish that, too. Take Kevin Gaughan and TheCost, for example. It’s a simple idea- smaller government = less taxes = more investment = more jobs. Not to mention less time spent bickering and more time spent progressing. Easy, right? You’d think so. How about Brian Higgins? After like, 924 years someone is finally doing something about our waterfront. It’s like it’s rocket science or something. Why is everyone around here soooooo afraid of change? The Aud is the perfect example. Who the heck was arguing to keep that big, ugly, asbestos filled block of cement on our waterfront? Why do people want to keep a 30 year old building so badly? Maybe it’s easier for me to say this because I’m young. I have lots of options when it comes to preserving my memories- digital pictures, emails, videos/DVDs, you name it. But whatever. Moving on, Buffalo Homecoming has lots of available jobs listed. And UB 2020 is the next (I think) really good idea. I could handle Buffalo being a college/hospital town. That’s all Boston is, and they have lots of major league teams, and lots of money. And they were broke just like us not too long ago.
But I’ve been noticing something lately as an avid Buffalo-promoter. There are two types of Buffalonians, generally broken up by age group. One, the 35 & uppers. They are convinced that nothing can and ever will change, and are content sitting around being negative all day. They are annoying. But then there’s the second group, us youngins. We are a little more positive, and less adverse to change. Yet… we don’t do anything about it. Which is even more annoying. We complain just as much. When someone tries to fix something, we want to know why they aren’t fixing 10 other things, or why they didn’t choose to fix something else first. Want proof other than the way we’re dealing with the Bills situation? Take a look at half of the comments on this Buffalo Rising post. Why doesn’t anyone around here step up? I’ve never been one to picket or parade, but it isn’t hard to get involved with some of these community efforts. Thankfully, there are several human exceptions to these rules and maybe some change will happen around here soon. And maybe everyone will prove me wrong.
What I’d really like to see is another Green Bay situation so I could own a piece of the team. But that’s impossible, so the next best thing would be for a group of investors to get together and give us a chance to rebound. I’m thinking Jim Kelly, Tom Golisano, Jack Kemp, Thurman Thomas, maybe a Knox or two, maybe even a Toronto investor. Obviously this is not a new idea, as Jim Kelly has talked openly about it. But even Jim Kelly will want to make some kind of money on such a large investment. Most importantly though, we should all really hope and pray that those snots that are Ralphie’s heirs don’t get a hold of the team, or we can say goodbye.
Last but not least, I want the league to recognize that there would be no league without Ralph Wilson and the Buffalo Bills. Not only did he lend money to the Raiders and offer to lend it to (blegh) the Patriots in order to keep the AFL afloat, but he spear-headed the idea of revenue sharing. (Gasp!) Our owner’s ideas shouldn’t be what shoots us in the foot. We’ve done that enough to ourselves.
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