For years, it has been evident that the National Football League is all about money. Even without a team in Los Angeles, the NFL continues to flex its muscle in other large markets. Unfortunately, it is the small-market teams that pay the price.
In the early years of the NFL and professional football, teams were stationed places such as Akron and Canton, OH. Going west one could find the Rock Island Independents in Illinois, or the Crimson Giants in Evansville, IN. And who can forget the 1928 NFL champion led by halfback Jimmy Conzelman? That team would be the Providence Steam Roller.
As various leagues expanded and merged, football was dominated by the NFL. The league quickly absorbed or wiped out smaller organizations such as the American Football League and the United States Football League. The league was all about money.
Sure, fans could watch or attend games along the way, so long as the men heading up the league continued to receive more and more money. Now, ticket prices are sky high and luxury boxes must dominate stadiums. Memorabilia and team gear will cost the average fan a pretty penny.
And of course, all stadiums must have some corporate name slapped on the front entrance. Nothing spells out NFL quite like INVESCO Field at Mile High, M&T Bank Stadium, or Qwest Field.
However, smaller markets such as Green Bay and Buffalo have dodged the bullets being fired by the NFL's blazing guns. The Bills and Packers have continued their traditions and strong ties to their respective cities.
The fans of both squads continue to cement their legacies as the league's loudest and proudest supporters. Lastly, Green Bay and Buffalo still have stadiums named after people affiliated with the organization (Curly Lambeau and Ralph Wilson).
Unfortunately, recent developments are showing signs that might lead to a move for one of these proud franchises. The Buffalo Bills' time playing in the states might soon be over.
Ted Rogers, owner of Rogers Communications has made his desire to own an NFL team based in Toronto crystal clear. What better team to relocate than the Buffalo Bills?
Sure, the Bills routinely sell out their stadium and have some of the league's most passionate fans. Certainly that's not enough for the NFL, though, is it?
The ticket prices at Ralph Wilson Stadium are just too low! The media market is just too small! The city's economy has taken too big of a hit since the factories began shutting down!
Then there is Toronto. If the NFL can avoid Los Angeles, what better place to substitute California than Canada? If the NHL can relocate to Arizona and Texas, why can't the NFL relocate to Ontario?
While the Jacksonville Jaguars, a winning franchise, place tarps over some of their unsold seats, the Buffalo Bills might be forced to abandon the city that loves them. The city of Buffalo needs the Bills, and the Bills need Buffalo.
What about the Arizona Cardinals? For years after they bailed on St. Louis they had trouble filling up a college stadium for professional football games. The team was horrible, but the fan support was worse. The Dallas Cowboys have a larger fanbase in Arizona than the Cardinals. However, a new stadium all of a sudden means the Cardinals are worthy, as is the Phoenix area.
The NFL continues to support poorly run organizations in large markets while ignoring some of the people who made the NFL what it was. If anything, the league owes the fans and the city of Buffalo.
Barring a sudden turn of events, the Bills' ship is being loaded and prepared for sail across Lake Erie and into Canada. What is even worse is that the NFL has tried to pass off the Bills in Toronto episode as a means of making money to support the in order to keep it in Buffalo.
Thanks commish! What a way to slap the fans in Western New York across the face. Roger Goodell can't just move a team from the fans that so dearly love it, he must lie to the city.
First, the NFL owes the city of Buffalo the truth. Is Toronto merely a means of making up some money for the Bills so they can stay in the U.S.? Perhaps more than owing Buffalo the truth, the NFL owes Buffalo the Bills.