Well it didn’t take me long to just get completely sick of listening to the endless conversation about the future of the Bills and potential new ownership. I figured this would happen – Ralph died on March 25 and immediately the speculation began as to who the new owner would be and what would happen to the team. It hasn’t really cooled off since and none of our questions have been answered yet.
So here we are at the end of May and I’m ready to throw my phone into the microwave and set the timer for fifty minutes every time I see a new article posted on Twitter about ownership speculation. Part of it is the endless parade of incompetence that has lined up as potential suitors for the team. Seriously, look at the names of the shitheels that have been mentioned – Jacobs, Golisano, Milstein, Trump, freaking Bon Jovi? Holy hell. The names read like a Saturday Night Live sketch for their utter absurdity and ridiculousness. Of course I would want to light myself on fire anytime ownership is brought up with names like those.
The other reason I want to strangle myself is the tone of the coverage coming from Buffalo’s local media outlets. The main culprit, of course, is the city’s lone major newspaper. They found time between their busy schedule of making Sabres “suffering” jokes and calling out Mario Williams for, well, anything, to try and cover the ongoing ownership situation. Instead, though, of trying to explain the newly signed Ralph Wilson Stadium lease to readers or try to get some insight on the plans of potential buyers, the News has instead done what it can to sell fear to its readers. Why try to explain the parameters of the stadium lease when we can talk about Jerry Jones and his thoughts on Bon Jovi?
It seems to me that the News, and other media outlets, to be fair, have done a great job of trying to raise fear about the future of the team. It’s why you hear the dramatic music in the background of local newscasts as they bring up the giant FUTURE OF THE BILLS graphic. Here’s a newsflash: we don’t have to lead off the local newscast of dedicate half the front page of the paper to what Jerry Jones thinks about Toronto. Sure, it can be mentioned, but it doesn’t have to stop the presses either.
If you were surprised at all by Jones’ comments at the Owners Meetings, well then you’re probably also surprised when the clown springs out of a Jack In A Box. Of course Jones thinks Toronto would be great for the league. Of course he wants a bigger slice of the pie. At least he was honest when asked about it. J
This story, of course, got huge play in Western New York because, well, clickbait I guess. Our media went all OMG THE LEAGUE WANTS TO MOVE THEM TO TORONTO DON’T YOU HATE JERRY JONES?!?! And suddenly they have a topic to discuss for 10 minutes on the news. Meanwhile, New York Giants owner John Mara also spoke at the NFL Owner’s Meetings and said he believes the majority of NFL owners want to Bills to stay in Buffalo. Buffalo News writer Tim Graham mentioned these comments on his Bills blog and Twitter feed, but for the most part, they went unrecognized by the local media. I didn’t see if any local reporters asked any other owners about their thoughts on other names mentioned as possible ownership candidates, likely because they didn’t ask. After all, they had a narrative to drive home.
Actually, most of the best coverage of the Bills ownership situation has come from Canadian friends John Kryk, of the Toronto Sun, and John Wawrow, an Associated Press sports writer who is originally from Canada.
Wawrow has actually done a little thing called reporting and was able to break stories about Howard Milstein’s interest in the team and Tom Golisano partnering with a developer and proposing to build a new stadium in West Seneca (which drew a giant “meh” reaction from yours truly). Kyrk I have found to be the most informative source on the ownership situation, breaking down parameters of the Ralph Wilson Stadium release that had not been reported previously and constantly updating the sale process. Kyrk was the first media member I saw who explained the clause in the lease that says the team cannot be relocated from Western New York until at least 2022. When this article was posted, Graham immediately went to Twitter to try to explain the loopholes in the lease and the actual meaning of the term “relocation.” So that was fun. (Graham, to his credit, did write an article this past week explaining how Los Angeles is likely not a future destination for the Bills).
So, am I turned off about the conversation because I only want to hear good news? Of course I’d like to hear good news (not holding my breath for it), but I don’t need everything to be turned into bad news either. Yes, local media, I know Jon Bon Jovi has interest in owning an NFL team, but I don’t need you to drag a story out of every time someone asks an NFL owner about him.
Let’s do some actual reporting and less fear mongering over small tidbits. Any reporters want to ask about Golisano, or Jacobs, or Pegula or anyone else? No? Okay. Oh, by the way Bills fan, you’re not making things any better by asking local bars to stop playing Bon Jovi music. You look silly. Besides, why would you want to go to an establishment that plays Bon Jovi’s music anyways?
Mainly, I’m turned off about the conversation about ownership because look at these guys. I mean, is rich, white asshole a requirement to own an NFL team these days? (Probably). When Golisano is seen as the best option, we’ve got a problem. You remember Golisano when he owned the Sabres, right? The guy that let Larry Quinn have a major say in business and personnel decisions? The guy who decided to put a slug on the hockey team’s jerseys? The guy who didn’t want to pay Danny Briere or Chris Drury? The guy who decided he didn’t want to pay Teppo Numminen when he found out he had a heart condition? That motherfucker. But here he comes to save the day!
Other options include the aforementioned Bon Jovi (I mean, come on), Jeremy Jacobs, who never met a union he didn’t want to destroy or a penny he didn’t want to keep, Milstein, who has sat on undeveloped land in underdeveloped Niagara Falls FOREVER, and Trump, which, I mean, that’s the joke right there.
So I apologize if I’m a little sick and tired of listening to updates on the ongoing ownership situation, dilemma, crisis, whatever big bold term you want to put on it. Let me know when there’s a major story developing and an owner is actually ready to make a bid and buy the team. I don’t need to hear from Bob Kraft or Jerry Jones any more.
Until then, hey I think Sammy Watkins, Mike Williams and Robert Woods makes a pretty damn good three-wide receiver set. How are they going to get Spiller more touches this year? Who starts at free safety? Where are we going to park for the opener, guys? Guys?