Jon Bon Jovi has become the face of an ownership group out of Toronto that hopes to buy the Buffalo Bills, and while the city of Buffalo hopes to Never Say Goodbye to its NFL franchise, fans—and influential local support groups—feel they're about to Get Ready for the team to be One Step Closer to a Whole Lot Of Leavin'.
(Yes, these links are all to Bon Jovi songs. No, I'm not going right to Livin' on a Prayer. I'm from New Jersey—that'd be way too easy.)
The backlash toward Bon Jovi's group has been so vociferous that even former players, including Hall of Famer Andre Reed, have come out against the bid, hoping the team doesn't become a, well, Runaway.
In the interest of all Bills fans, we appreciate Bon Jovi's recent public statement and would like to believe that his group is committed to seeing the team remain in Buffalo for generations to come. Given the makeup of his group and some of the recent information that has come to light regarding their site selection process for a new stadium, however, we remain highly skeptical of the Bon Jovi group's intentions. While we appreciate his sentiment, it's worth noting that nowhere in his letter does he write or directly state or legally commit his group to "not moving the Bills from Buffalo."
The group, called the Buffalo Fan Alliance, has offered to give any ownership group a no-interest loan of $100 million to entice them to simply say, "With Every Beat of My Heart, Everyday, I Love This Town," and guarantee the NFL will stay in Buffalo.
That plan is akin to Love for Sale, and frankly, The Price of Love is very steep for those trying to keep the Bills from living in Brokenpromiseland. One might even say Love Lies in this—and really every—situation, especially when it comes to NFL ownership.
The kicker is that Bon Jovi has already done what they want; the fans just don't believe him. The rock star penned a letter this weekend stating, unequivocally, If That's What It Takes…I'm With You (also via The Buffalo News):
Our objective is simple: to carry on the legacy of Ralph Wilson and make the Bills successful in Buffalo.
We are committed to working with the State, City, County and business community to identify the best possible site in the Buffalo area for a new stadium and to then develop and implement a plan to finance and build a state-of-the-art NFL stadium for the loyal Bills fans.
The Bills support groups called Bon Jovi's letter "too vague" and want the ownership group to agree—before buying the team—that they won't try to leave in a few years when the current stadium deal becomes most cost-effective to escape.
Rather than saying Thank You for Loving Me, Bills supporters are accusing Bon Jovi of being a Thief of Hearts, when really they're simply Livin' on a Prayer (you knew I'd get there at some point) that someone—Bon Jovi or otherwise—won't take the team and move it out of Buffalo anyway.
With all due respect to the fine city of Buffalo, the Bills have not won a playoff game since December 30, 1995, and the fans have the temerity to place demands on new ownership groups, while maintaining this Crazy Love for the former owner.
Toronto is one of the great cities in North America, and despite the horrid attendance when the Bills go up there every so often to play at Rogers Centre, it's clear the NFL brass wants a team in Canada. From a marketing standpoint, and in terms of attracting marquee free agents, moving the Bills makes the most sense.
And yet Bon Jovi didn't say he plans to move the Bills.
Despite being the frontman for a Toronto-based outfit, Bon Jovi came out and said, "I'll Be There For You" to Buffalo fans. They just don't want to believe him.
Maybe Bon Jovi's problem was just a matter of delivery. For decades the guy made fans around the world Learn to Love him, so it's fascinating to see his words struggle to resonate with the Bills faithful, essentially seeing his letter shot down in a Blaze of Glory.
Would Bon Jovi's letter have worked better if, say, he penned the entire thing using only lyrics from a catalog of hits that goes back 30 years?
Don't fret, Jon. We'll do it for you! Remember, when you're writing a letter that attempts to win over the hearts of an entire city, (You Want To) Make a Memory.
This is the letter Bon Jovi should have written, using his own lyrics. You're welcome, Buffalo. You're welcome, rock n' roll.
Dear Bills Fans,
Hello again, it's you and me.
Well, I wake up this morning I rolled out of bed. I felt like a dog who's been kicked in the head. You're always there just to remind me that I still care. I was lost, then I found you. Never thought it would be this way.
If you're ready, I'm willing and able, help me lay my cards out on the table. I play for keeps, 'cause I might not make it back. I play my part, and you play your game. I got lots of money, but it isn't what I need.
Aren't you tired of being let down? Another day, another shakedown. I'm with you.
The first time I saw you it felt like coming home. I always knew that I'd like this place. You don't have to look too far to find a friendly face. I feel alive when I'm walkin' on the street. I feel the heart of the city poundin' underneath my feet.
The city sounds like a symphony…this place is my amphetamine. She junks me, but it's all right. You are my strongest weakness, and I don't want nothin' else. You got the fix I'm looking for. It's the little things that you do that make me want you more. It's the way your hands are trembling, but what they trembling for?
We've gotta hold on to what we've got. It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not.
Would you be content to see me crying after all those little games you put me through? And I had lost touch with reason. I watched life criticize the truth. Been waiting for a miracle, I know you have too.
After all we've been through, there's nothing that I wouldn't do. Stand by me, and I would gladly give up everything.
I've had enough of havin' nothing, I won't take just anything. I got my mind set on something, all I want is everything.
I ain't gonna be just a face in the crowd. You're gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud. I believe, I believe, with every breath that I breathe, you and me can turn a whisper to a scream. I'm building a dream. Don't try to drag me down. I just want to scream out loud, can I be happy now?
I'd die for you. I'd cry for you. I'd do anything. I'd lie for you. I never knew I had a dream until that dream was you. I wear no disguise. If I tried, you'd make believe that you believed my lies. I tried to stretch the truth, but didn't lie. It's not so bad when you think about it.
I'd be a rich man, it's true, if I could make a living out of lovin' you. Sometimes it's hard to love me. Sometimes it's hard to love you too. I know it's hard believing that love can pull us through. And when I hold out my hands. I'll be reaching for you. I give it all that I've got. That's all I can do. When you're waiting for love, I'll be waiting for you.
You and me, we're ordinary people, living in our ordinary lives. We can be ordinary people, these are extraordinary times. You ain't one for taking chances. You work and live and breathe that 9 to 5. Still that's what you call living. That's surviving to me, and surviving is living to die in fear.
Just hang on...we'll make it through. Save me a seat next to you.
This is the story of my life, and I write it every day. And I hope you're by my side when I'm writing the last page.
I'll be there for you. These five words I swear to you.
All links to lyrics and song titles via azlyrics.com.