Can the Toronto series be fixed?

It took about 4 years and 364 days for the Bills executives to catch up with the feelings of the Buffalo fan base with regard to the Toronto series. Publicly, at least.

With Russ Brandon noting that there appears to be a distinct competitive disadvantage to the Bills playing a late-season home game in the domed Rogers Centre each season, perhaps a change is coming for the recently renewed series. While fans are hoping for the best, I doubt the Bills are willing to turn away from the massive check that Rogers has cut them in order to get those regular season games.

There’s probably a good chance that there is a massive penalty that would need to be paid by either party if they decided to walk away, so I’d quell any thoughts of the remaining games being cancelled at this point.

But that doesn’t mean the Bills won’t be working to find a better working relationship with what has become little more than a joke of a cash grab for the organization. There are a few different ways that the Bills and Rogers could work to adjust and fix what has quickly deteriorated into a poorly attended, non-partisan yearly event that typically serves as the cherry on top of Buffalo’s annual playoff elimination.

The most preferable option would be to come to an amicable split, allow Rogers to take back any remaining funds that would be attached to the games that were still set to be played and allow the Bills to take their home games back. This is obviously a long shot as the legal eagles on both sides of the table most certainly wrote in some sort of cancellation clause which would prevent either side from terminating the deal. Continue reading

Extra Point: Bills blownout of Toronto

I can’t imagine Bills beat writers enjoy the movie Groundhog Day considering they live the movie each week. Of course the Bills find some ways to change things up here and there.

Sunday’s blowout loss to the Seahawks mathematically confirmed what everyone else was already assuming about the Bills’ playoff chances. The Seahawks read-option attack shredding the Bills defense and helped to bury the Bills 50-17.

After an impressive run of stout run defense and a nearly equal effort against the pass, the Buffalo defense was unable to effectively scheme and attack the Seahawks scheme. Russell Wilson made the Bills look silly as linebackers were vacating the box in pass coverage, Wilson was scrambling in underneath the coverage to the tune of 92 yards and three touchdowns. Three rushing touchdowns from a quarterback is something you expect from Georgia Tech or Navy, not an NFL team.

Overall, the Bills gave up 270 yards to the Seahawks on the ground and 466 for the game. The performance was a drastic change from the sub-90 yard performances from the previous weeks. Continue reading

The idea of a second Toronto date is foolish

Rumor had it that the Bills next agreement with Rodgers would bring about more games being played in a baseball stadium north of the border. The Bills, however, put a stop to the rumor quite quickly.

Of course, you can never confirm much until all the chips are on the table.

With an agreement expected to be finalized within a few months, official word on the next few seasons of Bills in Toronto will be confirmed by both parties. While Russ Brandon’s proclamation will likely hold true, there is always the chance for amendments and additions to this sort of series. Maybe it won’t happen with this next set, but what about the set of games after that?

The Toronto series hasn’t necessarily taken off just yet. While the Bills have little interest in the fan turnout and experience – they’re getting paid either way – Rodgers Centre has yet to be packed to the gills for one of these contests. In fact, many have reported that the visiting teams are often the ones getting the most support. The Bills struggles have certainly played a role in the poor support in Toronto to this point, but there is little that would indicate any change in many trends at Rodgers Centre.

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Five more years for the Bills in Toronto? Bring it on.

News broke today that the Bills Toronto Series will be extended for another five years. That means there will be one home game played on foreign soil until at least 2017.

The Toronto Series has been surrounded with varying levels of criticism and success. Quite often the main complaint is that the game isn’t even close to a home game for the Bills, particularly because of the varying fan affiliations in Toronto. Ticket prices were also criticized at times during the series.

There are obviously going to be steps made to attempt to bring in more Bills fans for the next five years worth of games in this series. At least I hope so. Based on the generally negative reviews that fans (even some players) have had, this will likely remain as a poorly accepted and generally bad ideas the franchise has ever had. It is also looking like it could be the best idea as well.

From 2000-2010 you might say the Bills operated as a small-market, cash-strapped franchise primarily concerned with the bottom line. So many moves that were made seemed to be geared towards trimming cash in various spots in order to make the ownership more money. Even the Toronto Series was practically cash in the pocket for Ralph Wilson.

However, after a year with varied success, the Bills have suddenly become players in the free agent market. Management made a commitment towards building a winning team this offseason and signed new faces and has also kept their best players in town. This appears to be a pledge from management that they want the Bills to be a viable, successful franchise on, and off the field. This pledge was accompanied by a fairly significant investment by Ralph Wilson. I have to wonder, were funds made with the Toronto Series allocated for some of these recent signings? Continue reading