Buffalo Bills’ owner Terry Pegula appeared on Radio Row with John Murphy at the Super Bowl. Here’s everything they talked about.
Buffalo Bills‘ owner Terry Pegula has been in Houston for the week as the NFL and all of its fans prepared for the big Super Bowl game between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots. He took some time out of his day on Saturday to sit down with John Murphy on Radio Row to speak on a variety of topics.
Not only did Pegula compare Tom Brady to McDonald’s, but he talked about Sean McDermott, Mary Wilson, other owners in the league, the Super Bowl game and the presidential race’s affect on the TV ratings.
We are going to break everything down with this transcript, giving the fans a good look at what’s going through Pegula’s mind right now.
Buffalo Bills’ Head Coach Sean McDermott
Murphy: What’s been your early impression of Coach McDermott, what do you think?
Pegula: Well, early impression is he’s exactly what we thought when we interviewed him. He’s very, very thorough, he’s a hard worker and a good person. I think that’s showing already. He’s just a hard worker.
Murphy: We’ve talked to a variety of people who have had exposure to Sean McDermott, former players, guys who have coached with him, Moose Johnston from FoxTV and it’s unbelievable they all come up with the same word about Coach McDermott — he’s a grinder, he’s gonna grind. You probably already see that in the first month, right?
Pegula: Yeah, I hate to keep going back to the fact that he’s a two-time national prep champion wrestler, but that’s a grinder.
Murphy: Hasn’t been out in public yet, hasn’t done much since he got the job a month ago, but he has put together a coaching staff, which features guys with some pretty substantial NFL experience — some of them former head coaches in the NFL — what do you think of that?
Pegula: Yeah, a lot of experience and he doesn’t have a problem saying that this is his first job as a head coach. He wanted guys with experience if he could get them and he has accomplished that with a couple of his coaches.
Murphy: When you were interviewing Sean, and obviously he probably gave you an idea of who he might want to put on his staff, do you see some of those names, people that he mentioned, this is who he brought on?
Pegula: Yes and if you noticed these guys are character guys like Sean.
Super Bowl LI
Murphy: Now, let’s talk about this game coming up and the Super Bowl experience. What’s your plan here, you’re here today, you’ve been here for a day or two. Are you gonna stay for kickoff on Sunday?
Murphy: Okay, why not?
Pegula: We’re not in the game.
Murphy: Good answer!
Pegula: I’m getting on a plane tomorrow to Pittsburgh to get my daughter and her month-and-a-half old baby and then fly to Florida to sit with my other daughter, who’s had hip surgery, and watch the game from Florida.
Murphy: From the comfort of your own home, which sounds pretty appealing, I think.
Pegula: My wife is always like, “Why don’t you go to the game?” I said, hey, we’re not in it.
Murphy: Your GM, I talked to Doug Whaley a week or two ago and I said “you going to the Super Bowl?” and he said “that’s for fans, I’ll go when we’re in it.” That’s a good attitude to have, I think.
Pegula: My own informal personal poll tells me that there’s about anywhere from 10-14 owners that’ll actually be at the game. So, I’m in the majority not the minority.
Murphy: Is it superstition, you don’t want to be here if your team’s not in it?
Pegula: No, you know, it’s just tough. I was talking to Mary Wilson (Ralph’s Widow) last night and she told me how for years Ralph sat and didn’t want any outside influence, any noise while he was watching the game — when the Bills would play. I’m the same way, you know, I sit over there with Whaley and Monos and I just can’t socialize when I’m watching.
Murphy: Do you have a rooting interest in this game on Sunday? Do you care if the Patriots win or the Falcons win?
Pegula: No, no.
Murphy: Do you root for owners, anybody in particular?
Pegula: No, not really, no.
Talking About Other Owners
Murphy: I wonder, in your tenure now with the NFL and Buffalo Bills, are there some owners that you look to as your guides or maybe guys that coach you for experience questions or what do you do in this situation, that sort of thing?
Pegula: Yes and no. I talk to Bob Kraft, I talk to the Rooney’s, mainly because I have an office in Pittsburgh and my daughter lives there. They’ve been around a long time.
Houston Hosting the Super Bowl
Murphy: You’ve been here a couple of days in Houston. How do you think Houston has done as the hosting city here?
Pegula: Great job. I love Houston, as you know I’m in the oil and gas business, this is the oil and gas capital of the world and this is a great city. They’re doing a great job with this event.
Murphy: You’ve been here a lot, even before your football days. What kind of a town is Houston, what are some of the best things about Houston that you can think of with all the years of experience you’ve had here?
Pegula: I love the people here, as I said it’s the oil and gas capital of the world. Great food and you know, Texans are very proud of their state. They’re proud of being Texans. It’s a unique atmosphere.
Murphy: My wife pointed out to me a couple times this week how friendly — and I know it’s Super Bowl week and I know it’s the hospitality industry — but everybody on the street and the police officers and all the security. We’re surrounded by security, but everybody’s been really friendly and nice this week since we’ve been here.
Pegula: When I got out of Penn State in 1973, I moved to Texas and being from the northeast, I would be driving down the highway and Texans wave to you. I don’t know if they still do it, but back in those days, you’re driving down the highway and everyone that lived by you, you were waving to. There’s another thing they do, when you pull up behind someone on the highway, they would pull over to the shoulders and let you go around them. It’s a Texan-thing.
Talking Super Bowl
Murphy: As one of the 32 owners in the NFL and you see the magnitude of the Super Bowl, not just here and Radio Row and all the media, but even outside and in the streets, what do you think about the magnitude of the event and the role the NFL plays in what’s essentially a great American holiday coming up on Sunday.
Pegula: It seems to get bigger every year. Keeps getting bigger and every year we have the opportunity to watch from Super Bowl I all the way up through 51 and it’s interesting that some of these events have 70 million viewers already in Super Bowl 5 or 6, whenever it was. It’s been big for a long time.
Murphy: Do you have a favorite Super Bowl memory over the years, anything that sticks out to you?
Pegula: I think the four in a row of the Bills, the first Super Bowl against the Giants — 376 yards in 20 minutes. I mean, we didn’t win any of those games, but the four in a row — who’s matched that? Everybody loves to win the championship in their sport, but when you lose four in a row, there’s a lot to be said about that, too.
Fixing the NFL Ratings
Murphy: Commissioner Goodell with his news conference a couple of days ago talked about a number of things, including an effort to shorten up games, to consolidate commercial breaks. Do you think there’s a need to alter how the games are put together? Were you alarmed by that decrease in TV ratings?
Pegula: I think the presidential race had a lot to do with the ratings — it was an interesting race. I think that my personal opinion is if the league is trying to shorten games, I’m the new owner in the league, but I don’t have a problem and a lot of the fans I know enjoy the game and if it’s 10 minutes longer — just get things right. If it’s longer because of calls that are being reviewed, let’s get them right.
Murphy: You just mentioned being the new owner, how much longer do you have to play the role of new owner? This is three years now your’e going into.
Pegula: Well, I’m still the new owner — newest.
Murphy: They don’t treat you like that, the others, do they?
Pegula: No, at least not to my face!
That ended the interview, which last about 11 minutes.
Also on Saturday, Buffalo Bills‘ owner Terry Pegula spoke to NFL.com’s Mike Silver and had some rather interesting comments about Tom Brady.
What was your favorite part of the interview? Leave your comments below!