After Vikes Stadium Deal, Bills a Little (But Not Much) More Likely to be the Team that Moves

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Updated: May 16, 2012
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Despite not being quite finalized yet, it looks like Minnesota is going to build a modern Twinkie Dome. This is not the best news for us Bills fans biting our knuckles about aging owners and meager renovation plans, but it’s also nothing close to critical. Vacating the top of the “most likely to move” list is bad in the sense that it inches Buffalo one spot closer to being the poached team, but according to Albert Breer, there’s 4 other teams more likely to move ahead of our beloved Bills. Let’s review:

1. San Diego

The first of 3 California teams playing in a really old, outdated stadium because the state is notoriously stingy about public funding for such measures; one has to wonder if the state would treat it as a San Diego OR LA proposition. Would make sense, because while I’m sure San Diegians wouldn’t be thrilled, they would find plenty of other things to do with their time. Also, your team doesn’t care about you, San Diego fans (sad truth: applies to every team).

2. St Louis

The fact that STL is on this list is funny to me because they built their stadium in 1995. Wait, that was 17 years ago already? My God. Anyway, this is one of two franchises/cities that seems very reluctant to commit to each other, and apparently the owner, Mr. Kronke has LA ties. The scary part is they won a Super Bowl in the past 15 years. I’ve always had this theory that the Bills winning a Super Bowl would lock the team in for at least a couple fourscores, but the Rams moving would kind of shatter that hope.

3. Oakland

I think the only reason Oakland is 3 and not 2 is because Breer didn’t want to overplay the California thing. Anyway, Mark Davis might not be as crazy as his old man, but I wouldn’t put anything past Al’s offspring. Last time they were in LA, they ran their franchise out of an abandoned public school, and hey, schools almost out for summer! Also not looking good for Oakland is little Davis might have to move/sell the team to pay estate taxes, and I don’t know who in their right mind would build a 800 million dollar stadium in The Town.

4. Jacksonville

In all seriousness, Roger Goodell should suspend himself for a year if any city other than Jacksonville loses their team first. People in Florida tend to not care about any non-Gator/Nole sports team, but they’re really good at not caring about the Jaguars. Not that I blame them. It’s a generic team with middling success, playing in a generic, middling part of Florida. The economic arguments are one thing, but the fanbase is completely non-existant, and it’s not like the NFL is reaching any extra market by having a team in north central Florida or wherever that town is.

Unfortunately, the city seems protected by a 30 year lease that’s going to be difficult to get out of. So the good people of Jacksonville are going to have to step up the apathy, or you’d get used to more 16-10 Jags Titans games for the next 30 years.

5. Buffalo

Which leaves us. Goodell gave us a mild lecture last fall about the need for a new stadium, and the Bills response thus far has been to look into renovating. Not that I mind the idea or have anything against the Ralph, but I have a hard time seeing how another round of renovations would get RWS up to modern NFL standards, especially considering how narrow the damn concourse is. I think they would have to build, and would love a downtown stadium, but that argument is for another day. The Bills need to make moves on something soon, lest Roger Goodell travels up here and threatens to take our team away if the state legislature doesn’t pay for 500 million of a new crib (like he did in Minnesota).

Further complicating things is our owner’s advanced age. Obv we all want this to be as far as way a day as possible, but it will come eventually. Jim Kelly is always flapping his gums about buying the team, and you have Golisano, Pegula, and LA mega bond trader Jeff Gundlauch (who ironically said he wouldn’t move the team) hanging around, but the reality is no one really has any idea how the sale of the team would shake out. To me, the most harrowing situation would be if the some enterprising owner who would pay way to much just to bring the NFL to LA. It happened with the Dodgers, it could certainly happen to us.

However, the silver lining, or perhaps more appropriately, saving grace, is that neither of the LA groups really have their act together completely. And until than, the NFL won’t move any team there, because A last time the results were disastrous (LA went from 2 teams to none in the same year) and B the League is doing just fine anyway. Let’s hope it stays that way.