I don’t think I was the only Bills fan that let loose an expletive laced tirade when I saw this little tidbit. Maybe I’m overreacting a bit (I tend to do that), but forgive me if I’m just a little skeptical.
The situation has been laid out a thousand times, why not lay it out again. Ralph is old. Very old. He refuses to sell the team despite pleas from thousands of fans (Quite the pretentious move, in my opinion.) Neither his kids nor his wife want the team because of the incredibly outrageous inheritance tax they would have to absorb. With Buffalo being the small market that it is and an NFL franchise being such a valuable commodity these days, it is completely plausible, maybe even expected, that a new owner with no WNY roots would relocate the team, with Toronto and Los Angeles being the most logical answers based on their market size and lack of a professional football team.
I believe the Bills brass when they say that this PR scheme is to expand the market. I don’t think Ralph and Co. are intentionally trying to schedule games in Toronto to make the Toronto market look attractive to future buyers, but if these two games sellout and the Rogers Centre is at a fever pitch on gameday, prospective owners will be chomping at the bit to move our beloved Bills north of the border (as if they aren’t already.)
I would love to be a fly on the wall inside the offices over at One Bills Drive. The timing of this announcement should strike every Bills fan as being peculiar. Relocation is in the back of everyone’s mind and you go out and schedule a game at one of the rumored relocation destinations? This shouldn’t worry me just a bit? If this is a move to expand the fanbase, why wasn’t it done years ago?
To add to the strangeness of the timing issue, we play our good friend Willis on Sunday. I don’t think I need to remind anyone what Willis thinks of relocation.
Whether they are trying to sell more seats or not, I think schedule games in T Dot is a huge mistake. I won’t be the only Bills fan reading too deep into it, and season ticket-holders won’t be happy. They lose a home game out of the deal, and while I’m sure they will have first crack at tickets, I can’t imagine that more than half of them will make the trip. Making the trip north would effectively support a move, in my eyes (although I’m sure most people would argue that.)