Finally. Some good news for Bills fans. I didn’t think Russ Brandon had the balls to cancel the Toronto Series for one season. I’ve given Russ a ton of shit as I think he’s full of shit, but credit to him realizing how big of a mess this series has become. Look, I tried at first to buy into the series. I understood that this would be a cash cow and that the Bills did everything between Cuse to Buffalo in terms of getting corporate money and selling suites. Their plan was to try and get more fans and CEOs to come down to Bills games and to spread the wealth a bit. It blew up in their face for a number of reasons:
1) The Bills are a dumpster fire. They are not entertaining. They have lacked star power since the deal was announced and their record heading into Toronto games is 23-37. Outside of the Seahawks, the majority of their opponents they have faced have been duds as far as star power goes. In other words, the draw is lacking. I do believe that if the Bills were awesome or say the Broncos, people in Toronto would venture to these games.
2) Toronto hates Buffalo and Buffalo hates Toronto. I wrote about this last year how Toronto views us as smalltime and we view them like Americans view anyone who isn’t American. There just isn’t that NJ/NYC feel of tolerating each other and helping each other out when it comes to sharing sports teams.
3) The atmosphere was awful. I mean, the fricken Beach Boys performed at halftime last year at the game. I’d rather see John Stamos with the Full House gang or Jessie and The Rippers than see him with them. Word of advice if the series returns in 2015…try making the game more of an event than just a version of thrift shop. Maybe have open practices or open the Rogers Centre up for media sessions like they do during Super Bowl week. Even get the NHL involved (Rogers people own the Leafs, right?) and have Gretzky do the coin toss.
Maybe even have a 2 week minicamp in Toronto in April or even during training camp. Stop being lazy shits when it comes growing the game there. Pretend you are the NHL/NFL/NBA training to grow the game in China or London or whatever. I assure you, they wouldn’t have the Beach Boys to help grow it.
Obviously, the catch seems to be that this is just for one season. Yeah, I wish they would have just bagged it, but I think the Bills would probably like to see how much money they make this year without having the Toronto money go into their pockets. It is no secret that the Bills struggled to sell out Ralph Wilson Stadium this year and during the last few Decembers. If they have that issue again, you’d have to think that would increase the odds of the series returning.
Also, let’s not dismiss how the Rogers people feel about this series. While we’d assume the Bills are the ones who pulled the plug, who is to say that Rogers didn’t feel the same? They have been losing money on this deal and by reports, they were pretty much giving away tickets at certain points during the series. Seriously, I think their gripe might be just as big as the Bills.
I tend to think that’s the tipping point. It boils down to money or lack thereof. Hate to break it to Russ, but the Bills lack of a homefield advantage didn’t start last year against Atlanta, it was neutral for almost every game since 2008. The difference was that the first two games, Rogers charged 250 bucks for expensive seats and their last few games were cut by 30% and they still couldn’t sell out.
For me, I didn’t hate the series because I felt the homefield was that big of a disadvantage. I tend to think that if you are a shitty team, you can’t play in any elements. It is an easy narrative for lamestreamers to write about the elements because fans love the idea of players braving through the cold and the opposition digging themselves into a frozen grave. 12th Man rules!! All that jazz.
However, when you are shit, shit still stains in snow and ice. I was in Buffalo last year for the Atlanta game and the weather was beautiful in Buffalo (45 and clear), yet, lamestreamers wrote about how there was a howling wind? Spare me. It was fine and the reason why those 90s Bills won in the elements was because they had HOF talent, not because teams got scared of the wind and snow.
Anyways, aside from my tangent on Mother Nature being a Bills fan, I hated the series because it was embarrassing. It was low rent/small time to have a game there. I hated having to explain to people who weren’t Bills fans why we played there. It was just weird and they didn’t get it and neither did I. It also felt like Toronto was trying to steal our team by getting the inside track on getting the franchise there once Ralph died (See: Bon Jovi leaks).
Why do you think they took a loss with the series? They probably thought worst case scenario would be they’d lose money, but they’d show the NFL they can support a team and get in with the NFL suits when it came to politicking for a team. Obviously, there efforts failed, but I still do think if the Toronto Bills happened one day, they would support it. Toronto is not a shitty sports city.
But on a nice note, I’m happy the Bills stopped the madness for now. I hope that a lot of Bills fans who have bitched about the series go out and buy more tickets at RWS. If you do that, I think we can kick dirt on the series. If you don’t, Russ can try this again. But overall, it is finally good news for us…FINALLY!