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Off Main Street (Sept. 10): The M&T Bowl

Bills vs. Ravens: M&T Bowl

The Buffalo Bills take on the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday in a season-opening game for both National Football League teams.

But a certain Buffalo-based bank is calling it the M&T Bowl.

M&T Bank is the official bank of both teams.

The game will be played in Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.

M&T is based in Buffalo and has a longtime connection to the Bills. But M&T also has made inroads in Baltimore, since acquiring Allfirst Financial in 2003. That same year, M&T signed a deal putting its name on the football stadium, and has since extended the agreement.

Rather than pick a side, M&T is playing up the showdown among its work force. The bank distributed towels with images of both teams’ helmets to employees in the Buffalo and Baltimore regions. And the bank encouraged its employees in the two regions to wear their respective team’s jerseys to the office on Friday.

But just imagine other possibilities for this matchup. What if M&T chairman and CEO Robert Wilmers attended the game and sat with Bills fans for one half, and Ravens fans for the other half, like how the U.S. president handles the Army-Navy game? Or if the winning team raised a green flag on the field?

Mic drop

At crowded news conferences, it’s not easy fitting all of the microphones from the various TV and radio stations on top of the lectern for the speakers.

That was the case Thursday, at an event in a West Side parking lot announcing a new organization of doctors that will provide coordinated care to Medicaid patients. As Dr. Raul Vazquez was talking, he bumped the mic that was closest to him, causing it to tumble off the lectern.

However, as the mic fell, Vazquez caught it before it hit the ground. He smoothly set the mic back on the lectern and kept going with his remarks.

Vazquez then introduced Mayor Byron W. Brown, who walked behind the lectern to begin talking and, moments later, knocked over the same Time Warner Cable News mic.

Brown didn’t have the same hand-eye coordination as Vazquez. But he was quick on his feet.

“Now you see what just happened there? The Time Warner microphone just fell. I didn’t catch it. But Dr. Vazquez, when he was up talking, did you see how he caught that?” Brown said, drawing laughs of recognition from the crowd. “So if I have to have someone operate on me, I want a doctor with reflexes like that. Don’t you?”

Forget surgery. The Bills should put him in as wide receiver on Sunday.

Ending the paper chase

Darius Pridgen’s legacy will now include this: He saved many trees.

As Council president, Pridgen has pushed for an electronic system to replace the many, many – did we say many? – sheets of paper heretofore used to create Council agendas and the many, many – did we say many? – documents associated with those paper agendas.

Eventually, the system – available on a public website – will include Planning, Zoning and Preservation board documents, but for now, it’s Common Council documents going back to May 2016. It provides info on the status of a measure, including whether it was approved, and links to other items detailing the history of the measure. Soon it will also have video to go along with some Council votes.

The system cost $60,000 to get up and running over the past year, and will carry a lesser annual operating cost – an amount somewhat offset by the paper savings it creates.

A staffer didn’t immediately know the dollar amount the Council has spent annually on paper, but said his office calculated that if the paper used by the Council each year was stacked up, it would be as high as the McKinley Monument in front of City Hall.

The monument is 96 feet high.

Off Main Street is written by Tiffany Lankes with contributions from Matt Glynn, Stephen T. Watson and Susan Schulman.

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