A Fan’s Letter to the Bills

This article has been submitted by the painted face of Erik Arnold.

Dear Ted Rogers and Ralph Wilson,

Go Fuck Yourselves.

Never have I seen such arrogant, disrespectful bullshit from a couple of senior citizens in my entire life.
I am a Bills Fan; I love the Bills and have done so with passion for nearly 10 years.

Maybe not the biggest Bills fan, but a big one still.

I also happen to live in Toronto. Am I happy about the Bills coming north of the border? No.

Back to Ralph and Ted: Last week, I had the extreme displeasure of watching these two jokers hold their press conference in Toronto where they laid it all out for the Buffalo-Toronto Experiment. It was a pathetic and laughable sight.

If you didn’t get to see it, I’ll sum it up in a brief sentence: two arrogant, filthy rich assholes went on national TV and gave the finger to football fans north AND south of the border. They gave the finger to Bills fans, they gave the finger to Argos fans, and they gave the finger to all Torontonians.

First, our old buddy Ted Rogers reminded Toronto taxpayers that they wasted $600 million building the SkyDome – which he was able to buy for $25 million. Thanks Ted! Then his boy Ralph Wilson went on to remind sports fans in Toronto that we probably don’t have the money to afford seeing the Bills. Asked if fans could expect any tickets

under $100, Ted stopped laughing long enough to say that there would be two – one for him and one for Ralph, I presume. They sat there for over an hour and laughed when asked about the cost of the tickets and when asked about a move out of Buffalo said, “don’t worry about that right now.” The writing was on the wall. It is abundantly clear that the Bills will NOT be staying in Buffalo. It seemed as though Ralph Wilson didn’t think anyone in Buffalo was watching. They were. And they’re pissed off.

So what can we look forward to when the NFL hits Toronto? Not much. The average pair of tickets will cost roughly $4,000 because all 8 games need to be purchased up front. This all but guarantees that big-time corporate money makes it into the Dome and I can only assume that ticket-brokers (scalpers) will get their fair share too. Toss in the odd Argos and Bills season ticket holder and that’s the recipe for a football crowd in Toronto. In case you were wondering, you can get great seats in Buffalo for less than 50 bucks.

We’ve already lost the ACC to the suits. We’re lucky to get lower bowl Raptors tickets and even luckier to get standing-room Leafs tickets. This is just a reality for Toronto sports fans. Now, it appears, we’re losing the NFL before we even get it.

I have been to a couple of Bills games and, like many ODC readers, got to see this year’s Monday Night game against the Dallas Cowboys. Coming from a guy who’s attended 2 World Series games, NHL and NBA Conference Finals and a Grey Cup, it was easily the most intense sporting experience I have ever been a part of. The atmosphere was incredible and the fans were unbelievably dedicated to the game. Every time Dallas got the ball the noise was deafening. It was easily the most memorable moment in my life as a sports fan. Can you imagine the sad sight it is going to be in Toronto when the lower bowl can’t put their sushi and $15 beers down long enough to cheer the Bills defense on 3rd and short? Nothing would make me sicker than seeing my Buffalo Bills at home, under a dome, in front of 50,000 “casual” sports fans.

This isn’t about saving the Bills. It isn’t about Toronto being better for Bills fans than L.A. This is a one-stop cash grab by Ralph Wilson, facilitated by Ted Rogers, to fleece Toronto sports fans and screw the people of Western New York. All politics aside, I think Toronto sports fans are great – we are loyal, knowledgeable and passionate. Unfortunately, attending live events in Toronto is about the haves and have-nots. Listen, I would love to see the NFL in Toronto. But if we can’t guarantee that the Dome doesn’t fall to the same fate as the ACC, then save it. If you are a football fan, your $250 is better spent supporting the Bills in Buffalo. We don’t deserve a team like the Buffalo Bills. These are shoes that we’re not prepared to fill.


Angry Bills Fan

This article has been submitted by the painted face of Erik Arnold.

No Responses to “A Fan’s Letter to the Bills”

  1. Sam Cassady Says:

    On a side note: wouldnt the upcoming few years be a perfect time to bring in a 2nd NHL club in Toronto? As Erik said, there are plenty of hockey fans in Toronto, and with everyone seemingly so tired of the Leaf’s antics, and their unwillingness to sport a decent product, I bet a lot of ppl’s loyalty would switch, too.

  2. Blake Murphy Says:

    I definitely understand the argument here: Bills fans are much better than Toronto football fans would be given the corporate make-up the organization would have, and Bills fans in general, regardless of location, are better off with the Bills in Buffalo. This is fair, and I agree that a move to Toronto would suck Pro-Bowl Moorman’s gigantic left nut if it went down.

    That said, as a non-Bills fan (Jaguars, whaaat) I desperately need a team to come to Toronto. Even if I can’t get seats because I’m broke, it still gives me a local team with consistent local television coverage to support. Cheering for the Jaguars sucks, and while I realize I could have picked a bigger market team, having no available merchandise, media coverage, or other fans to improve my experience as a fan is awful. Sure, GTA residents and Canadians in general can call the Bills ‘their’ team, but they’re not. We don’t get them for 16 games a year with any certainty, we have to deal with annoying across-the-border trips to see them, and we still don’t get those aforementioned benefits of cheering for a locally supported team.

    Yes, the NFL markets to Canada to choose ‘a’ team because it effects the game, and yes, most Canadian football fans are happy to have their unique team to cheer for. But not me. Maybe it’s because the Jaguars are the worst team to be a fan of in general, but I think the reality is it’s always more fun to cheer for your home team. Your home team.

  3. Erik Says:

    We already have every Bills game televised in Southern Ontario. We also have Ralph Wilson stadium no more than 2 hours away. If the Bills come to Toronto like Ralph and Ted are planning, we lose everything that we love about them: the blue collar crowd, the tailgating and the accessibility. Sure, we can call them the “Toronto Bills” and we can take the Subway to the stadium, but what good is that when we can’t even afford tickets? Obviously I’d love to see my Bills in Toronto under the right circumstances. I envision something like what we’re seeing with T.F.C. but obviously that’s not going to happen.

  4. kevin Says:

    I’m glad I got to see the Bills at home (which is BUFFALO) last season, becaue it will be the last season of passionate Bills fans cheering, actually cheering, for their ‘home’ team. It would be one thing to say this will be an out of market experiment such as last years Wembley stadium experience, but this is the beginning of the end of an awesome franchise. Chirp all you like; losing records and missed playoff chances aside (re: Music City Miracle [shudder]) the Bills are ravenously supported and loved by their Buffalo faithful that, dare I say, includes the thousands of fans who are more than happy to travel to Buffalo to see ‘their’ team. KEEP THE BILLS IN BUFFALO!!!

    oh and blake, “…it still gives me a local team with consistent local television coverage to support” you mean like the Bills coverage anywhere in Ontario on Sunday’s? haha just busting your chops man I know what you’re getting at.

  5. Blake Murphy Says:

    First—I counted 12 Bills games I watched this year. Not bad, but I either missed 4 or was unable to find them.

    To be clear also, because of their proximity the Bills are my #2 team behind the Jaguars for sure.

    I’m not saying I want to take your Bills out of Buffalo and rape their fan base and team culture. I’m saying…I want a team in Toronto! I’m sure Bills fans would be upset, but that’s no reason to ignore such a huge market of people who aren’t Bills fans. Moving Buffalo here is not the right answer, I agree, but we need a team. You’ll notice I never really said bring the Bills here. Instead, I’m more so begging for a team.

    I don’t want to take your team away, I just want my own.

  6. Erik Says:

    Just FYI about TV:

    All 16 Bills games were televised in Southern Ontario this year. 14 on CBS and Fox, then 1 M.N.F. game and the televised rape against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football.

  7. Blake Murphy Says:

    Oh, so now we’re bringing facts into it? I didn’t sign up for that.

    Seriously though, my bad. At home I watch American digital cable, and sometimes I stream games, so I guess the television visibility thing is my fault. The rest of my points, however, stand, with the added caveat that the SportsCentre type shows still don’t have a home-team focus, which is NOW what I was referring to with television coverage…face? Saved.

  8. Habib Says:

    One thing I rally enjoy is anger. One of my favorite articles thus far

  9. Snydes Says:

    Why don’t they just take the roadblocks off and move the Bills to Caledonia!!!

  10. Uncle Pat Says:

    I could not agree more! Moving the Bills to Toronto is a terrible idea and I have argued this point with many people. Even though the Bills struggle to compete against large marketteams, I would rather many more losing seasons at Ralph Wilson then winning ones at the Rogers Centre.

    To put things in perspective, for a bus from Kingston, Hotel, Room, a lot of booze at duty free and great tickets to the Monday Nighter against the Cowboys, I spent about $300. To spend 4000 dollars on a pair of tickets to see the Bills, indoors in December makes no sense.

    Keep the Bills in Buffalo. Enough people come to the games from Canada now that you if the Bills tried, I am sure they could get the corporate sponsorship from Canadian businesses they need to become competitive again.

  11. Principal Dondelinger Says:

    I loved the article and its comments. I would like to remind everyone however of the severity of the situation. I am as passionate a Bills fan as any, and the Buffalo experience is like nothing else in organized sport (that I know of). I have been attending Bills games since I was 5 years old, and losing the Bills will be one of the hardest things for me to have to endure. I say WILL because the Bills are going to move whether we like it or not. We need to remember that Buffalo and western New York’s ever worsening economic strife is questionable at best. Buffalo is already the smallest (or possibly second smallest – Green Bay) market in the league. There is no money in Buffalo and there isn’t any coming in time to save the Bills. Sure, keep the Bills in Buffalo until Ralph kicks the bucket, but the love of our Bills won’t keep the team from moving once this happens. Ralph has already stated on several occasions that the team will go to the highest bidder when he passes (which by the looks of him could be any second). He has no intention of selling the team before his death, but at least he’s setting things up to favour Bills fans. What, would we rather they move to Los Angeles or even Mexico City (yes, there are rumors)? Despite the probable corporate takeover of the Rogers Center, I would rather have a chance at seeing a local game, and have a Canadian franchise than be forced to drive to Detroit, Cleveland, or Pittsburg to see a game. Has the passion of Leaf nation hindered since ticket prices skyrocketed and were set aside only for the affluent Torontonians? Fan support will be there in Toronto, don’t worry. As for Buffalo fans, my heart goes out to you, but at least you have some chance of seeing a game in Toronto, as opposed to having nothing at all. Also, games have not been selling out in December in recent years, so even fan support in Buffalo is beginning to parallel its economic woes. We in Toronto will have the chance to see the odd game (as many as we likely see in Buffalo anyways).

    On a side note, blue collar tailgating football is true football. No question. Indoor corporate is not true football. Let’s remember though, if the NFL did move to Toronto, they would need to build a new stadium within 5-10 years. There are size regulations in the league to the best of my knowledge, and this gives hope to those who would love to see a stadium in some Hamiltonesque suburb. Rogers Center is too small, and perhaps someday we could see a stadium somewhere that slightly reflected the Ralph. Let’s not give up hope before we have any at all.

    I love everyone’s passion, and do not think for a second that I don’t share it. If I had the choice to keep the team in Buffalo, I would. The reality of the situation though is what it is.

    Go Bills

  12. Erik Says:

    That is a fantastic and very articulate response. You really summed up a lot of my emotions as a die-hard fan… minus the rage of course. Thanks for your comments.

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