Share this article

print logo

Vic Carucci's Bills Wake-Up Call: Raiders' move another reminder of what might have been

PHOENIX -- That could have been the Buffalo Bills.

Blink, and just like that, they could have been on their way to Toronto or Las Vegas or some other place willing to spend the millions of dollars to make it attractive for owners to move the team and for their fellow NFL owners to overwhelmingly approve it.

It happens that fast.

It happened that fast for Oakland Monday, when a vote of 31-1 ripped the Raiders out of a town in which they began playing 57 years ago and placed them in Vegas.

It could have happened that fast for the Bills in 2014, when, after Ralph Wilson's passing, bidders were vying to purchase the team from the late founder's trust. At least one group, from Toronto, wanted to move the franchise across the border. And it was entirely possible someone else could have looked to put them somewhere else, because that's what happens.

Millions of dollars become available to build new stadiums, ones far nicer than the one in Orchard Park. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is a certified dump, and will be replaced, in two or three years, by a state-of-the-art castle in the nation's gambling capital. That was just fine with almost all of the other owners, because they were able to gain additional millions from the relocation fee the Raiders must pay them.

But Terry and Kim Pegula swooped in to make sure that didn't happen to the Bills.

Their team still occupies a solid, but outdated stadium in a community and state that has already invested to try to make New Era Field a little nicer and isn't exactly excited about pouring more money into new digs.

The Pegulas understand that, which is why they aren't pushing hard to get a new stadium built.

Bills want to 'have some success' before asking for help to build new stadium

They also understand what the Bills mean to Western New York, what losing them would mean to an incredibly loyal fan base, what the fans in Oakland are feeling now.

Yes, the Bills did cast one of the 31 votes to approve the Raiders' move. They approved of the Rams' move from St. Louis back to Los Angeles last year, and the ability of the Chargers to do the same this year, going from San Diego to L.A.

They did that because they recognized it was good for the overall business of the league.

On Monday, another writer asked me what was preventing the Pegulas from doing what Raiders owner Mark Davis did.

I paused, shrugged my shoulders, and said, "Their benevolence, I guess. They simply want to keep the team in Buffalo."

That might have been a naive response, but it's as good as any.

NFL: Raiders' move not intended to send message to Bills

There are no comments - be the first to comment