It’s funny. Right after the president of a billion-dollar company came out and listed five teams that he had contacted regarding a move to Los Angeles, locals from the five cities mentioned emerged to throw water on the relocation fire.
In Jacksonville, for instance, Gene Frenette wrote in the Florida Times-Union that we’d be smart to ignore these stories due to their ripeness and frequency.
But in Buffalo, Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News has written the exact opposite column, stating that “Bills fans should be wary of franchise predators.”
What’s strange is that the Jaguars were one of the handful of franchises mentioned by AEG’s Tim Leiweke.
The Bills were not.
“The sense of security among Buffalo fans is based on one obvious condition: Ralph Wilson remaining alive and in control of the team,” wrote Sullivan. “When Wilson is gone, all bets are off. If he dies, the Bills would be at or near the top of any list for possible relocation. Wilson has no known succession plan. He plans to have the team auctioned to the highest bidder. It’s hard to imagine the top bid coming from someone who intends to keep the Bills in this market.”
While Sullivan does his best Buzz Killington impersonation, he does make an effort to state that not being named by Leiweke is something Bills fans should take solace in. But is that even the reality? Leave it to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio to throw on log on the fire:
There’s a good chance, however, that the glass is in reality much more than half empty. With Albert Breer of NFL Network pointing out that, in reality, AEG has been communicating regularly with more than five teams, the Bills become the odds-on favorite for the role of Team No. 6.
And No. 6 could be No. 1. Leiweke isn’t stupid enough to publicly out the teams that he believes are the best candidates to be available to be bought and then moved. Instead, it’s more likely that Leiweke’s list consists of teams that he knows AEG won’t be buying and moving; thus, he had no qualms about putting those five franchises in a delicate position in their current homes.
And as Sullivan points out, the recent talk regarding the possibility that Los Angeles lands not one but two teams will only make matters worse and heighten the fears of those in Western New York.
The sad but simple reality is that the Bills would likely generate a lot more cash in L.A. or Toronto. When Ralph Wilson dies, the team will be sold to the highest bidder, and if said bidder wants to turn max profits — and you can be sure that he or she will be pressured by the league, which has to approve his or her purchase, to maximize revenue and grow the pie — then the team will eventually have to change its address.