In case you missed it, NBC’s Peter King reported on “Football Night in America” that former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly is putting a group together to buy the Bills from Ralph Wilson.
Wilson, who’s kicking it at 90 years of age, has established quite the business relationship with Rogers Communications, which has the Bills playing eight games over a five-year span in the city of Toronto. Speculation is that Rogers has interest in purchasing the team upon Wilson’s death.
We’ll give this to Kelly — he’s dedicated to the city of Buffalo and Western New York. Of course, since Kelly arrived on the national football scene with the University of Miami more than 25 years ago, it’s been hard to find someone to argue that the guy isn’t passionate.
Nothing irks Kelly more nowadays than the Bills’ apparent slow evacuation from the Queen City. We spoke to Kelly when he was in town for the Steelers-Bills game at the Rogers Centre in August, and although he was courteous (artificially or not), he made one thing clear: if he has something to say about it, the Bills aren’t going anywhere.
Sure, it sounded like Kelly was hoping the Bills could get the best of both worlds — the corporate giant that is Toronto and the home base that is Buffalo. He kept emphasizing that it was important for the Bills to establish a connection to Toronto while remaining in Western New York.
In other words, the team should be the snotty teenager who takes money from her rich daddy or the deadbeat dad who tries to re-establish a relationship with his son once he’s been drafted third overall in the NBA. You pick the analogy; either way, there’s no denying that Toronto and Rogers want more out of this relationship than the satisfaction of helping the Bills.
There’s a belief that Kelly has a relationship with billionaire businessman Tom Golisano, who owns the Buffalo Sabres. Under regular circumstances, you’d think that Kelly, Golisano, and whoever else Kelly has in his back pocket would have the money to complete the transaction with Wilson before his death.
But these aren’t regular circumstances. Not with Rogers involved. Not with Toronto 160 kilometres down the road. Not when you consider the tough economic situation south of the border. Not when it appears as though Wilson could be waiting for the highest bidder, not the friendliest.
We’re not convinced Kelly has actually researched the discrepancy. We’re pretty sure he’s just a guy with a lot of passion. A guy who hasn’t lost a lot (aside from four Super Bowls) and doesn’t like losing.
We respect that. But if this is about money, Rogers can be the lead candidate to take over ownership of the team. That, though, depends on what Uncle Ted and the company want to do. First, the focus for Ted himself is likely his own health. But this isn’t about him personally; it’s about his company acquiring a potential asset.
Kelly is thinking a little more altruistically, and his intentions are on the table. It’s time for Rogers to respond, either publicly or privately, and make a run at this team.