(Editor's Note: Below the podcast is Jay's article about the stadium proposal. Of course, if you want to hear about it then listen to The Barrister from Dear God, Why Us? Sports and I discuss the new stadium proposal. So, two posts for the price of one.)
So where do we begin? The estimated price tag? That absolute absence of enthusiasm for the tenant of the proposed project? How it came kinda out of nowhere this week?
Yes, let’s start at that. First off, round of applause for great timing. Anything to distract the local sports intelligencia (?) for 1 day at least from further dissection of the Bills’ craptacular defense. It’s the bye week after all – there’s plenty of time for that autopsy. Now, we’ve all heard ideas about new waterfront stadiums for a while now. Just that usually it never advances (When you apply a grading curve with Buffalo in mind, this would qualify as “advancement”) to the graveyard of so many great visions – the artist renderings. I mean, they actually hired a real firm to do a real concept of the doggone thing. Gotta admire the spunk of civic-minded folks looking to find a way to ensure the area doesn’t lose one of the few things that put WNY on the radar for the rest of the country.
A Hail Mary? Maybe. Perhaps there was a shrug of the shoulders, followed by, “We got nothin’ to lose. What the hell?” Which also may explain ignoring a very significant fact. The ownership/management football team they are proposing building a $1.4 billion with a “B” palace for has ZERO interest – zilch, nada, cero – in ANY new stadium. The Bills have made this statement in the past many times. I read it in the Buffalo News. It has to be true for chrissakes. And unless the NFL team in town is on board, all of this foofaraw down at City Hall Tuesday is just lost in the ether, isn’t it?
Can we kind of talk about this? The public stance of the Bills has been that they are committed to staying in WNY – pending on getting a new lease (10 year max.) & a currently estimated $200 million in refurbishing at Ralph Wilson Stadium, pending completion of a study. I frankly am stuck on the optics of the Bills saying they want to stay in WNY, yet being interested in signing a maximum 10-year lease. C’mon, we understand what that is all about, right? Commit long enough for Ralph to maintain his “He never moved the franchise” legacy until he’s gone, and then a new sheriff will be in town, with as minimal of strands binding him/her to Buffalo as are possible. And if they so desire to take the franchise somewhere else, so be it. And Ralph’s legacy? It’ll be destroyed, but at what matter to him? He won’t hear a word about it.
Also too, if we’re going to spend $200 million on making sure the stadium doesn’t fall apart faster than last week’s NHL CBA talks, why not spend $400 million (still a hell of a lot less than $1.4 billion. $1 billion less to be exact.) and make it feasible for another 30 years? Look, the idea of spending buckets of tax money on a sports facility rubs me wrong in certain places. However, I also have a hard time believing the State of New York is going to allocate that $200 million somewhere that would appear to be more vital – education, road infrastructure, not raising the freaking tolls, etc. They’ll blow it some other way given the opportunity. Might as well spend it here.
Oh, and the Hamilton idea that got tossed out there? Yeah, that dog don’t hunt. Someone isn’t up on the amount of time & political B.S. it took to get a new 25,000 seat facility approved for the Tiger-Cats.
OK…enough of that nonsense. So where were we? Oh, yeah – so about that defense….