The Bills are coming home to Orchard Park for the first time in a long time. In fact, it’s been so long that the Bills have been on their actual home field that Randy Moss was preparing for his first game in a return trip to the Vikings the last time it happened.
I’m not writing this because I feel the Bills should have gone after a high-priced, moody wideout (even though that always works out well for them), but rather because of how it doesn’t get talked about nearly enough what a slap in the face the Toronto situation is to the fans in Buffalo.
The Bills have one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases in all of the NFL, and they are rewarded with an inferior product and the stealing of one of their home games. While the Toronto deal was supposed to regionalize the team’s fan base and increase cash flow, it is difficult to see where it is paying dividends.
The Bills have been selling out game after game with a terrible team. Now that they have started playing games in Toronto, where are all these new Bills’ fans to fill the stadium? The Jacksonville game was the first game that hasn’t sold out in quite some time. I guess the trip to Buffalo from Toronto is too far (which would make you think it’s pointless to try and expand your reach there to a certain degree) so these folks from Toronto just wait until the Bills play in Canada to come see them. While the game against the Bears appeared to have a sellout crowd, it was apparently because Toronto has a huge Bears’ following. When the crowd did finally realize there was a football game being played in front of them, they only seemed to cheer the Bears on. The Bills are 0-3 in Toronto, including two divisional losses. Luckily the Bills have been terrible, so the losses have not affected their chances to make the postseason. Which raises another interesting question…
While the Toronto games have been said to be more profitable than an average home game for the club, where has the investment back into the club been? Dwan Edwards and Andra Davis are solid players, but they are not marquee players. It’s difficult to ascertain where this Canadian money is going unless it’s just lining Ralph Wilson’s pockets. Apparently players don’t want Canadian money? Oh wait, Ralph is spending money…I forgot the Chris Kelsay re-signing.
All the Toronto Series does to Bills’ fans is hold them hostage for the fear of losing their team. I know Ralph Wilson is the only reason football came to Buffalo, and I appreciate that. If that’s the reason he’s a hall of fame owner, however, how about selling half the team to people who intend to keep the team here? That way, Ralph can still reside over this train wreck in name, while the new owners can secure the future of the franchise in Buffalo, and start putting together a quality product (I know a certain hall of fame QB who guarantees that there’s interested investors). Then Ralph can continue to be a hero to Bills’ fans, entrench himself as a worthy hall of famer, and save his legacy in Buffalo. Otherwise, his star will continue to dim, and he’s damning this franchise to an Art Modellian fate…one Buffalo will likely not be lucky enough to recover from.