For one week a year over the last half decade, the Buffalo Bills have become the Toronto Bills and have played a “home” game in Toronto’s Rogers Centre. This current agreement between the Bills, Rogers Centre and Maple Lead Sports & Entertainment expired following the 50-17 whooping the Seahawks put on the Bills last Sunday.
While players and coaches have taken a low key, politically correct approach to their feelings on the subject, Bills fourth-year center Eric Wood has had enough. In an interview with 97 Rock in Buffalo that was printed by the Buffalo News, Wood didn’t pull any punches.
“I think that Toronto series has turned into pretty much a joke. I think they started it hoping that we’d have a lot of fan support in Toronto. We have none. I mean, it’s a crucial third down for them in the first quarter, and they’re running just regular snap count, where I don’t care if we have a half-filed Ralph Wilson Stadium, they don’t do that. “
“You’re making a team from out west travel, and then you give them the comfort a dome, and you don’t make them play in our stadium. We have no home-field advantage allowed.”
“We travel, too. I just think it’s a joke. And it’s a bad atmosphere for football. I mean, nobody wants to play there. I guess for opposing teams it beats the hell out of going in somebody else’s stadium and dealing with a bunch of crowd noise. I don’t think it’s turned out they way we wanted, and I hope we don’t renew it. That sucked.”
Tickets for these games have been a tough sell even with prices plummeting in recent years. Despite the Bills struggles and the empty seats, the NFL approved an extension for the series through 2017, but the parties have not explicitly agreed among themselves.
It was absolutely a cash grab for Bills owner Ralph Wilson and if you ask me, a cheap shot to Bills fans who continue to support one of the worst run franchises in professional sports. Why would Bills fans make the 99 mile trek to Toronto to see their team drilled? Why would Canadians spend their loonies to cheer on a terribly boring offense and a swiss cheese defense?
Wood is right in that the Bills/Toronto series isn’t good for anyone, but the team’s (severe) lack of success has a lot to do with it.
Photo credit to Zimbio
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