I know, I’m scared too. We’re having a legitimate discussion about a matter related to the Buffalo Bills, and it’s Super Bowl Media Day. Hold me.
Reports circulated early this morning that, as expected, the Bills will extend the Bills Toronto Series for five more years, which isn’t good for anyone. Well, it’s good for Ralph Wilson, and the weight of his pockets.
How much Wilson’s pockets will drag because of this new agreement remains to be determined, and we’ll update this post when/if that information is leaked later today (holding your breath on that will be unhealthy). The Toronto Sun’s John Kryk — who originally reported the extension back in May, and then again confirmed it this morning — expects the new deal to be worth “significantly” less than the $78 million Rogers paid during the first largely failed run of Bills football in Toronto. He also reported that there will be five regular-season games, and only one exhibition game throughout the length of the new contract, which will officially be announced today during a midday press conference.
Neither fan base wins here as this joke of a series plods along. The Toronto NFL fan will continue to be branded as apathetic, when in truth there’s plenty of passion for NFL football in the city and more broadly in the country, but the Bills have been mistakenly and horribly marketed as “Canada’s team”. Yes, there are plenty of Bills fans in southern Ontario, many of whom make regular treks to Buffalo. But there are just as many who either don’t care for the Bills, or if they desire to see NFL football live, they’d like to view it in a true, legitimate football atmosphere, and not the toxic dumpster that is the Rogers Centre. It’s merely adequate as a baseball facility, and woeful as a football venue with its cavernous space.
The lack of tailgating is a huge whiff too. Add it all up, and those factors contributed to the worst attendance in the history of the series last month when the Seahawks throttled a hapless Bills team, 50-17. Only 40,770 people decided the game was worth their time, leaving just over 13,200 seats empty.
Bills fans will continue to be robbed of a home game, which effects both the intense pride of one of the most passionate fanbases in the NFL, and more importantly, it also effects the result on the field. When a team plays the Bills in mid December as the Seahawks did (Dec. 16), they should have to deal with and prepare for the elements. Maybe there won’t be a blizzard on that particularly day in Buffalo, but at the very least it’ll be cold. Usually damn cold, and that’s the Bills’ home-field advantage.
Of the five regular-season games played so far in the Bills Toronto Series, four of them have taken place in November or December. The mercury may have been dropping, but that mattered so very little inside the cozy and warm confines of the concrete dome entrapment that is the Rogers Centre.
Say, Eric Wood, tell us what you think…
“You’re making a team from out west travel, and then you give them the comfort a dome, and you don’t make them play in our stadium. We have no home-field advantage allowed. We travel, too. I just think it’s a joke. And it’s a bad atmosphere for football. I mean, nobody wants to play there. I guess for opposing teams it beats the hell out of going in somebody else’s stadium and dealing with a bunch of crowd noise.”
Yep, that’s about right.