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BILLS MUST NOT LEAVE

I am a Chicago resident but a Buffalo native. Being born and raised in Western New York, I have lived and died with the Bills.

Now I am scared to death and shocked by the apathy in Buffalo. I have been home to Buffalo over the past two weekends and the majority of talk is about Ted Nolan and the Sabres. Although a debacle in its own right, it comes nowhere near the importance of the Buffalo Bills issue.

The thing I truly can't believe is how many people are saying let the Bills go. Wilson is asking for too much. People of Buffalo: Do you realize what you're saying? As one letter writer said last week, the Bills are the only thing that separates Buffalo from Rochester, Syracuse or Toledo, for that matter. Anyone who says the Bills should leave should be required to make a Sunday visit to Cleveland in October. Talk about depressing! And at least they have baseball and basketball to fall back on.

For those of you who say you don't watch the games, so it won't affect you, you are wrong. The Bills are more than three hours of entertainment on a Sunday, they are the fabric of our city. Picture going to Tops or Wegmans and seeing no "tailgate" specials on beer and chips, or going to your bank and not seeing tellers dressed in Bills-wear on Fridays or kids not wearing their favorite player's jersey at school. On top of that, what are you going to talk about on Monday morning at the office? Talking about the Bills is like talking about the weather. Could you imagine how little conversation there would be in society without the weather? The same thing will happen in Buffalo without the Bills.

I've heard people say the matter is out of our hands. I find it hard to believe that if the Buffalo public is loud enough, Governor Pataki would ignore our pleas. We must do what we can to keep the Bills in Buffalo. True, Wilson is asking for a lot. We can say no to him, keep our pride and lose our team (and watch the demise of a city). Or, we can suck it up, put together a package that satisfies Ralph and be able to enjoy the Bills for generations to come.
T. J. McWILLIAMS
Chicago

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