The passing or Ralph Wilson Jr. has caused us Bills fans to speculate even more than usual about the team’s future. Slightly altering the famous words of The Clash “will they stay or will they go?” With Mary Wilson (Ralph’s late wife) taking over ownership of the team, much has been made about when/who the Bills will eventually be sold to.
Whether it be a group led by former Buffalo Bill great Jim Kelly (which looks like a long shot at best given his recent health situation – get well soon Jim,) Terry Pegula digging even deeper into his pockets to monopolize the Buffalo sports market, current Boston Bruins (and Delaware North) owner, dumping his shares in the Bruins and returning home to Buffalo, Donlad Trump, or some rich guy in Ontario. The list goes on and one but the biggest question that remains is regardless of who buys the team, will they keep them in Buffalo?
Honestly, I have no idea. There are plenty of well-written (and not so well written) pieces out there that discuss that very question. Whether they argue the stadium lease, or Ralph’s wife honoring his wishes, people have made many arguments as to why the team is assured a solid future in WNY. I however am not here today to argue that point. Instead I am here to pose a different question to you, one that may seem like a no brainer at first, but the more you think about it, perhaps the less absurd it will seem…
Would you as a Buffalo Bills fan take an option the assured the Bills would win the Super Bowl in the next 5 years, but would be sold/relocated the season after? OR would you instead remain with current reality and settle for an a future of uncertainty that does not promise a Super Bowl ever and also doesn’t insure one way or another that the Bills stay in Buffalo, or go?
Like I said before, at first it seems fairly obvious. Many Bills fans would never want to even consider an option that meant the team would undoubtedly be relocated. The thought of the Bills leaving Buffalo is usually enough to make a real Bills fan sick to their stomach, but what if we really think about this rationally…?
Only 19 of the current 32 NFL franchises have ever held the Lombardi trophy over their heads in joyous celebration after being crowned Super Bowl champion. The Bills are obviously one of the 13 teams that haven’t, along with the Vikings, Eagles, Falcons, Panthers, Cardinals, Titans & Chargers (not to mention the Browns, Lions, Texans & Jaguars who have never even appeared in a Super Bowl.) We tend to get so caught up in recent history with teams like the Patriots and Steelers that it often times feels it is a lot easier to get to the Super Bowl (and win it) then it actually is. Breaking it down all mathematically and whatnot, only 59.4% of NFL teams have ever won the Super Bowl. It is not an easy task and just having an NFL team doesn’t insure you ever will.
Aside from that point, what’s to say even if the next owner of the Bills decides to keep the team in Orchard Park and honor the lease through 2020, or even after that, that the next owner will keep the team here, or that the NFL will even exist 20 years from now with health concerns growing and more and more parents refusing to subject their children to football’s inherently violent nature? The point is, just like in the rest of life, nothing is guaranteed.
Would it suck to know that the Bills would only have 5-6 years left in Buffalo? Absolutely. But perhaps the elation that would come from being only the 20th franchise in NFL history to be named champion would make it worth it to you. Then again maybe it wouldn’t. That’s why I posed the question and I’d love to hear your feedback either on Twitter or in the comments below.
As for my take on it (as that is the point of my column after all) I honestly think I’d take the Super Bowl and run. I know, I know “BOO Brad you suck!” “You call yourself a true Bills fan?!?” But honestly, why not go out on top? Isn’t that what some of the greatest athletes of all-time have done? I would miss the hell out of having an NFL team, but can you imagine the sheer joy having a Buffalo team finally win it all??? Plus with the Sabres being the only ticket in town maybe college sports would take off. Silver lining? Don’t mind if I do.
All in all I know this is completely unrealistic and sounds like a movie scenario where the Devil comes knocking at your door, but I just wanted to have some fun with another tense and uncertain scenario for us Bills fans. Who knows, perhaps the Bills will win the Super Bowl and then another and then another and stay in Buffalo forever! Or maybe they’ll miss the playoffs for the next 5 years and move to LA. If it is the latter, just remember how mad you were at me for saying I’d take the win it all and run scenario… I know, I know, “you suck Brad!!!”
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