NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held a mild pep rally yesterday, making the case for the Buffalo Bills to remain in Buffalo long term. Despite his desires to see the Bills remain in Buffalo, economic conditions might prove to be the ultimate reality, and the team might relocate after the team’s only owner, Ralph Wilson, passes.
On Wednesday, speaking at the Chautauqua Institute, Goodell told reporters that fans of the Bills “need to do everything they can to support the Bills.” The problem is, the economic situation in Western New York is bleak. This is no disrespect to the fanbase of the Buffalo Bills. Their fans have been very loyal and through some very lean years, but Buffalo is a city in decline despite recent attempts to bolster it’s economic production.
Mr Goodell is a Western New York native, he was born in Jamestown, New York. If Jamestown was any further west, it would be in Pennsylvania.
I know a little something about Western New York. I too, was born in Jamestown, New York, a few years after Mr. Goodell. My parents operated a restaurant across the lake from the Chautauqua Institute for nearly two decades. Chautauqua is an Indian word which translates to mean, ‘bag tied in the middle’. If you ever win a lot of money on Jeopardy by knowing that fact, I’ll hunt you down and seek out a percentage.
The Buffalo area, as well as most of Western New York, has fallen on hard times. The Bills are seeking a new stadium. The Bills are playing in their final year of their lease agreement in their current stadium. Mr. Goodell reiterated that once current Bills owner, Ralph Wilson, 93, passes, the team will be sold. There was no mention of Wilson putting the team into a trust fund in order to shelter his heirs from tax liability issues.
“The succession plan, Mr. Wilson has made it very clear that he is not going to sell the franchise while he’s alive, and once he passes on, the franchise will be sold”, Goodell stated in his 11 minute media address.The Robbie family had to sell the the Miami Dolphins after Joe Robbie passed in order to simply pay the inheritance tax.
The NFL has openly supported a new NFL franchise in Los Angeles. In fact, the NFL is supporting the idea of adding two teams to Los Angeles, in a stadium sharing idea as the New York Giants and Jets currently undertake.
The Cleveland Browns were just sold for $1 billion dollars. NFL clubs do not come up for sale very often. I think that if someone shows up with that figure, or higher and presents that to the heirs of Mr. Wilson, they really aren’t going to be very concerned where the team goes, despite Mr. Goodell’s pleas for local support of the Bills.
The St. Louis Rams and the Buffalo Bills have to be considered front runners as the two teams to occupy the confines of the upcoming Farmers Field in Los Angeles. Bills fans should enjoy NFL football in their backyard while they still have it.