SPORTS WATCH | Bills Fans Need to Be Careful What They Ask For

04/28/14 | By | More

We Americans are crazy about football and will do damn near anything to get our hands on it. So when a National Football League team goes up for sale, naturally those with deep pockets begin to line up for a chance to get their hands on their own team.

Following the death of owner Ralph Wilson last month, the Buffalo Bills are now on the market and the list of potential buyers is getting longer and more distinguished by the day. For Buffalo Bills fans, maybe, the fast-growing list is getting scarier by the day. It’s scary because some of those potential buyers are crazy. Others may want to move the Bills, which are in the N.F.L.’s second-smallest market, to another city – like Los Angeles, or Toronto. Because of Wilson’s wishes to have the team sold, instead of passed on to his family, the future of the Buffalo Bills is uncertain right now.

So who is on that list of potential buyers? Former Bills quarterback and Hall of Famer Jim Kelly is, according to the Associated Press, prepared to make an offer. A Buffalo Bill through and through, Kelly probably makes the most sense. And it would be a fun story to hear about – if Kelly is able to purchase the Bills, as he is currently being treated for a recurrence of sinus cancer.

While his agent didn’t specifically name the Bills, New Jersey’s own Jon Bon Jovi is apparently interested in owning an N.F.L. team. I’m sure he could come up with the scratch to buy the team, and he may just be a good N.F.L. owner, but really, how many times would Bills fans want to hear Livin’ on a Prayer before kickoff? That ownership could get old quick. Plus, according to the AP, Jon Bon has close ties to Larry Tanenbaum, who is chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. That organization controls the N.B.A’s Toronto Raptors and the N.H.L.’s Toronto Maple Leafs.

A sale to Bon Jovi could mean the Bills are headed to Toronto. Hey, it’s only 100 miles away, but it could still mean a move from Buffalo.

According to the AP report, the family of Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs is on the list of potential buyers, although it would have to be someone in the Jacobs family other than Jeremy who makes the purchase. N.F.L rules do not allow owners to control major franchises in separate markets. If Jacobs really wanted the Bills, he would have to sell the Bruins to buy them. Owning an N.F.L. team is probably more lucrative than even the best of N.H.L. teams, but Jacobs would have to be absolutely crazy to give up the Bruins for the Bills.

It may not be Jacobs who puts in a bid for the Bills, but maybe his son? From the sounds of it, if the Jacobs are able to buy the Bills, they would probably keep the team where it’s at, as the family has close ties with the city, with the family’s Buffalo-based Delaware North food service company.

Last but certainly not least, Donald Trump says he’s all in for buying the Buffalo Bills. And not only is he in for buying the Bills, he said he would keep them in Buffalo.

“There’s nobody more serious than Donald Trump,” Michael Cohen, Trump’s executive vice president, told the AP. “Donald Trump has made it crystal clear that the Bills will remain in Buffalo.”

Now, if I were a Buffalo Bills fan, which I am not, having The Donald at the top of the potential buyer list would scare the hell out of me. I know the guy is wildly successful. He knows how to build golf courses. He knows how to build high-end residential developments. He knows how to foreclose on those developments. He knows how to get a reality TV show. He knows how to say, “You’re fired.” He thinks he knows how to run a country. He’s never really sure if he wants to run for president.

Regardless of whether The Donald keeps the Bills in Buffalo or not, his ownership of the team would spell disaster in more than one way. I would say Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is one of the most controversial owners currently in the N.F.L. He’s mainly a target because he loves to make decisions for his coaches on the football field. Instead of hiring a coach and letting them make the on-the-field-decisions, Jerry hires them and then tells them what to do? Why doesn’t Jerry just coach himself already?

I think the same could be said of The Donald as an owner. Every week he’d have his head coach, two coordinators and probably their assistants in his board room to discuss the previous week’s loss. “Why did you run a draw on 3rd and 12?” The Donald would question. If he didn’t like the answer, he would look across the table at his daughter and finally say, “You’re fired.”

There is no way The Donald would make it through a losing season without firing his staff three times over. He just wouldn’t be able to do it.

Do you think his players would want to play well for him? Hell no. Anyone with a funny name on the back of his jersey would be forced to bring in a birth certificate for his inspection more than once. That would certainly get old. It already is old.

And then, as we all know, The Donald loves to put his name on damn near anything he touches. Trump this, Trump that. First the Bills stadium, named Ralph Wilson Stadium, would be renamed Trump Stadium. From there it would go to the hotdogs sold at the stadium. “Get your Trump Dog here!” The cheerleaders soon-to-be-named the Trumpettes. The sky is the limit for this guy. It would be a total Trump makeover.

Eventually, the team would no longer be the Buffalo Bills under The Donald’s ownership. They would soon be, you guessed it, the Buffalo Trumps.

At this point, Buffalo Bills fans will have to ask themselves if keeping the Bills in Buffalo is worth it.

gjarvis@watchnewspapers.com

Twitter: @Gus_Jarvis

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Category: Commentary, Opinion, Sports, Sports Watch

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