When I read an article on Pro Football Talk that the Buffalo Bills and Erie County officials are moving closer to securing a new lease for Ralph Wilson Stadium (RWS), the sweat running down my hairline stopped in its tracks. My lips curved into a smile.
Losing my Buffalo Bills to an another city, whether its Toronto or Reykjavik, would break my heart into a million pieces. Lets face it. Some of you football fans know the anguish of such an unfortunate event.
Cleveland Browns fans, my heart went out to you in 1995, the year that owner Art Modell and the Browns left town in the middle of the night, in tow to Baltimore, Maryland. Sneaky. Deceitful. Even animals break up with more class! I felt even worse for you guys when the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2001. What a blow to the gut! Yet, in the end, you got your Cleveland Browns back.
I want to avoid the scars of a Bills “divorce and remarriage.” Besides losing members of my family, friends, and the once-in-a-lifetime Whitney Houston, nothing could hurt more. Well…alright, I confess. The season finales of “Who’s The Boss?” and “Golden Girls” had me reaching for the tissue box.
All kidding aside, it’s only fair that we have some kind of “eternal city pass,” a reward for playing in four consecutive Super Bowls. If no smoking apartment complexes can “grandfather in” smokers who rented before the smoking ban, then the Bills need to work to save their stadium homeland. At 93 years-old, Ralph Wilson should have the clout of “The Godfather” or George Burns. What Wilson wants for the Bills stadium future after he relinquishes the team should matter. He wants us here in Buffalo, New York. Since Wilson’s family is not interested in inheriting the Bills, some safety valves are paramount.
THE NEW DEAL
I read about County Executive Mark Poloncarz and the Bills team desire to “provide assurances of their commitment to stay in Buffalo.” Without that engagement ring (a signed RWS lease), I still need my night light. However, discussions about putting a clause in the new lease, which expires in July 2013, show some promise. The clause could make the Bills stay in Buffalo another two decades, the move to another city so costly that no Bills owner in his right mind would move the team to a new location or pull a Modell “thief in the night.”
Improvements for RWS are still estimated at $200 million, a cheaper deal than a brand new stadium, something that seems superfluous to me. Bills fans do not ask for much: a beer, hot dog, and seeing their team at least clinch a Wildcard spot.
We love our football, so whoever our next future owner is, please love us! Wrap up this lease, something Poloncarz said could happen by next month. When the ink is dry, you can find me driving by RWS with a wave, blasting Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home.”