A Bill in plain sight
A more astute Buffalo Bills fan might have made the connection.
There were a few hints. The “Monday Night Football” ring tone. The casual mention of the start of the NFL season. But during nearly two hours of graciously hosting a Buffalo News reporter for a story on back-to-school shopping at Target, Marlon Kerner never mentioned he’s an old pro in dealing with the press.
That’s because Kerner was a cornerback for the Buffalo Bills after he signed with the team in 1995 as a third-round draft pick out of Ohio State. He racked up 64 tackles and three interceptions during his four years on the team before a knee injury ended his career.
Today, Kerner is Mr. Target, having gone back to business school and worked his way into retail management – a job he loves. A Columbus, Ohio, native, Kerner married a woman from Buffalo and still volunteers for the NFL’s Play 60 campaign.
But meet him on the street someday, and you won’t hear a peep about his Bills career. You might think he’s just another diehard football fan.
Attention, tourism officials
At the risk of giving Westboro Baptist Church, infamous for its long-standing anti-gay campaign, any more of the attention it so desperately seeks, we thought we would pass along the organization’s thoughts about Buffalo.
They were expressed in connection with a Goo Goo Dolls concert, scheduled for Friday in Kansas City, Mo., which the church plans to picket.
The band’s sin is rooted in its hometown. “The Goo Goo Dolls is a band formed in filthy, Buffalo, N.Y., where they love perversion of every kind,” the church said.
Major Baptist denominations have denounced the Kansas-based congregation many times.
On Twitter, where consensus is rare, Buffalonians seemed to agree on one thing: How fast can we print that sentiment on a T-shirt?
Blitzer blitz in Buffalo
It finally happened: Blitzer met the Blitzers.
CNN anchor and Kenmore West graduate Wolf Blitzer met owners, players and fans of men’s soccer club FC Buffalo, which was nicknamed the “Blitzers” in 2010.
A CNN crew filming a documentary about Blitzer’s youth last Saturday took the newsman to Hertel Avenue, where Blitzer had worked as an usher at the North Park Theatre and his parents owned a deli, which is now a spray tanning salon.
They also stopped at soccer bar Mes Que, which was already crowded and abuzz for opening day of the English Premier League.
FC Buffalo’s diehard fans presented Blitzer with a scarf bearing the group’s moniker – and the name of Blitzer’s CNN newscast – “The Situation Room.”
Blitzer posed for photos and fans sang, “We love you, Blitzers, we do. We love you, Blitzers, we do. We love you, Blitzers, we do. Oh, Blitzers, we love you.”
He seemed humbled by the attention, said FC Buffalo co-owner Nick Mendola.
“It’s certainly a memory we’re going to keep with us and hopefully we can get him out to a game.”
Man without a fan
It was another rough week for wannabe Bills owner Jon Bon Jovi, and not just in Buffalo.
Sunday, fans of the Toronto Argonauts Canadian Football League team staged a Bon Jovi CD-burning party outside the Rogers Centre. They’re convinced that if Bon Jovi buys the Bills and moves the team to Toronto, the Argos would “die instantly.”
Then came the mail, as in the 13,000 letters the Bills Fan Thunder delivered to training camp in Pittsford, in sacks marked “No Bon Jovi.”
The group derided him as a “stale pop rocker.”
Bon Jovi did follow through on an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from ex-Sabre Jay McKee, but there was even criticism of that deed.
One of the first YouTube comments that popped up about his dousing for charity: “Come on, Jon. Where’s the ice in that bucket?”
Written by Jill Terreri, with contributions from Denise Jewell Gee, Joseph Popiolkowski and Matt Glynn.