Let’s go ahead and say something out loud right now – Donald Trump is mainly concerned about “The Donald”, and not necessarily the good people of Buffalo, Western New York, and Southern Ontario. Yes, he’s got the money, and yes, he’s stated publicly that he’d keep the Bills in Buffalo if he were to buy the team. Let’s also not forget “The Donald” has said a great many things publicly.
I believe that Trump has a passion for owning an NFL team much like his passion for starring in a top-rated prime time television show – It’s good for business and it’s good for Donald Trump. What’s good for Trump’s bottom line may (or may not) be good for Buffalo’s. If you think Trump swooping in and buying the Bills scares me…you’re right. I am old enough to remember what he did to the USFL.
Also, I am not even getting into the Jon Bon Jovi rumors. Jon’s done OK singing his catchy rock songs, and reports say he’s worth about $200 million. That’s nice but, that’s Skid Row in the world of NFL ownership. If your worth does not start with a “B” then you are not a player in the high stakes poker game otherwise known as NFL ownership.
With all that swirling around my head last night, I feel asleep and had a dream that went something like this:
-Trump flirted with the Bills much like he flirts with running for President…He makes a couple more speeches, holds a couple of press events, makes a few headlines and then goes back to his tower in Manhattan.
-The Bills continue to improve on the field and the NFL sees (once and for all) just how rabid this fan base really is. We fill the stadium at 6-10, we set attendance records when the Bills are 10-6.
-For once in New York State’s history, politics does not completely overwhelm a public project. In my dream the public-private investment known as “The Bills New Stadium” actually gets built in the next 7-10 years. I like the Niagara Falls idea a lot. It’s close to Ontario (and the Canadian fans are important), and no further away for the fans coming from the East (Rochester and Syracuse) than “The Ralph” in Orchard Park. Plus, Niagara Falls might get revitalized as a result, and that would be good for the entire region.
Most importantly, once ground is broken on a new stadium, it doesn’t matter what the NFL does with Los Angeles, Toronto or London – The Bills are out of the discussion (for at least another generation).
-My dream continued and while Trump is off filming his latest TV show one of two guys steps up and buys the Bills; Terry Pegula who owns the Sabres. Yes I know his ownership of our hockey team has been up and down (more down) but, the Sabres aren’t going anywhere. He’s got Trump-like money (reports put his worth in the $3 billion range) and most importantly… he’s from Pennsylvania and his wife is from Western New York.
Or, failing Pegula, I like Jeremy Jacobs’ resume. He owns the Boston Bruins and the Bruins have been winners under his stewardship (they won the Stanly Cup in 2011). He’s also loaded, and he was born in Buffalo.
Both of these gentlemen are in good health, both have described a passion for our team and (more importantly) our region and both appear willing to sink some of their substantial resources into the team.
-With one of these two billionaires as our owner and a brand new state-of-the-art stadium within earshot of the roaring falls, my dream ends with me and my grandchildren taking our seats in the end zone getting ready to enjoy Buffalo Bills football. As the Bills run out of the tunnel, I say to my grandson, “We once had the toughest quarterback in the history of the NFL…his name was Kelly and…”
I awoke in the middle of the night with visions of Donald Trump on TV, Jon Bon Jovi on tour and neither one of them talking about owning a team in Buffalo.
Hey, a guy can dream…