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With respect to Vic Carucci's recent column regarding unsold seats for the Bills opener, someone has to straighten out this young man's thinking.

I have enjoyed Carucci's work for many years but I believe that he is not a native Buffalonian and apparently just doesn't understand the way many of us think. I am a Bills fan, going back to the first game they ever played in the AFL. I take a back seat to no one in my admiration for an honest effort by any collection of athletes who truly represent the character and ethos of my city.

That's why so many of us old-timers feel that there has never been a team representing Buffalo that can measure up to the 1964 and '65 Bills. This was a team that seemed to represent, in those naive times, all that we thought was good about our collective selves: hard work, discipline, teamwork, dedication and, in the end, triumph.

Things aren't like that any more. We see now a cabal of billionaire owners and a league full of whining, multimillion dollar players. We see free agency and the salary cap reducing all teams to dull mediocrity in the name of "parity." We see politicians swooning over the possibility of NFL franchises in their cities, seemingly ready to sell the souls of their children, if that will help, and eager to empty the public coffers into the ever deeper pockets of the owners. We see the likes of Bruce Smith and Bryan Cox, rather than Tom Sestak and Bart Starr.

And then we come to this little farce being played out in Orchard Park. The hand wringing and concern are almost enough to make one weep. How badly the Bills want to stay in Buffalo. If only the citizenry could see that it is their responsibility to spend gargantuan sums to insure the continuance of this great civic treasure everything would be OK. And for goodness sake, please buy these wonderful new club seats so that your backsides can be warm while we pluck those dollar bills from your fingers.

The new Bills "lease" is a joke. The citizens of the State of New York are forking over millions to improve Rich Stadium (or whatever it's called today) just so that the Bills might stay for a few years. Lost in the excitement is the fact that the Bills can buy their way out of this lease at virtually any time for chump change.

So, Mr. Carucci, do you get it? There are a lot of people in Buffalo who understand the difference between being a fan and being a sucker. Twenty thousand empty seats attest to that.

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