Governor Cuomo backs Buffalo Bills: is it legit?
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • December 14, 2011 @ 10:47am
It’s easy for us to get carried away with bemoaning the Bills. We’ve all heard the rumblings the last few weeks: “Ah, when they were 5-2, we knew they’d come back down to earth and settle at 7-9—if that.” Or: “Obviously, once Ryan Fitzpatrick got paid, the team was sunk. He doesn’t play well down the stretch anyhow.” No playoffs since 1999? We know the drill.
Persistent losing aside, for every one fan that says “good riddance” to the Bills in Buffalo, there are a thousand more clad in Zubaz sweatpants, tattered Cornelius Bennett jerseys and years of fond mildly-drunken memories of frigid Sundays that are willing to do everything in their power to keep the beloved Bills from moving. Can you picture a Buffalo without the Bills?
While we’re certainly thankful for all Ralph Wilson’s done to keep the team in Buffalo, the plan for his passing still remains clouded. Last year, Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly said with assurance that he had “people in line” to claim the Bills upon Wilson’s death.
Yesterday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo was the latest major name to tentatively support the Buffalo Bills. For the NFL team to remain in Buffalo, an extended stadium lease and major renovations to the increasingly-decrepit Ralph Wilson Stadium are crucial—not only to attract fans, but also to compete with franchises around the league. While Cuomo didn’t fully commit to spending the $100 million necessary to bolster the Ralph, he did ensure that he’d work with “Erie County and the community to keep the franchise in Buffalo.”
We realize that Cuomo’s statements could be shallow political-speak, but there’s hope. Really, any support is good support if you’re the Buffalo Bills, a team teetering on the brink of irrelevance.
Good or bad—there’s always plenty of passion about the Bills, and I’ve never seen a topic like “Will the Bills move to Toronto or LA?” ignite such fury from Buffalonians. On the Buffalo.com Facebook page late Sunday during the Bills’ loss to San Diego, Ben K. posed a question: “Bills fans: after this latest humiliation, are you still fans? What would it take to make you quit this team?”
For the one “I quit years ago” response, there were several others that would never sever their loyalty. Here’s one from Dale Paradowski:
“The Bills are my heroin—either I’ll be addicted to them or methadone for the rest of my life no matter how much hair I lose. #SadButTrue”
Gruff, but true for many of us. Here’s to hoping that Cuomo follows through in working with the county to extend the stadium lease and that Kelly continues to pool his money with other interested investors.