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Another report has surfaced which takes the Buffalo Bills out of the running for Los Angeles. More intriguingly, it offers insight into how the league views the team's viability in Western New York.
Former NFL Network and current CBS Sports reporter Jason La Canfora penned a piece on current teams relocating to Los Angeles and had some surprisingly strong language regarding the Buffalo Bills. La Canfora believes the St. Louis Rams are the front-runners for relocation with the San Diego Chargers not far behind.
"The Bills are a regional franchise, drawing from a wide geographical swath, much like the Vikings. They aren't going anywhere, except, say, maybe at worst a few hours away," said La Canfora about Toronto. He points to the regionalization of the Bills led by CEO Russ Brandon as the driving force behind keeping the Bills in Western New York.
"There will be sufficient local ownership options when Ralph Wilson passes, and the NFL believes among Western and Central New York, Southern Ontario and Toronto, there is sufficient support to make it work with a new facility," writes La Canfora.
Local sports anchors Ed Kilgore mentioned potential ownership groups in June. Several local groups are capable of buying the Bills and keeping them in Buffalo, says Kilgore, but the new ownership would like a new stadium eventually.
"Supposedly commissioner Roger Goodell is aware of this movement but will never openly acknowledge any of it, for obvious reasons," said Kilgore. "These would-be owners feel the future of the Bills is almost entirely dependent on the eventual construction of a new stadium either in downtown Buffalo or more towards Niagara Falls and Canada. Not only that, these people would be willing to finance most of the cost of a new stadium privately."
Part of La Canfora's argument is flawed, poking certain holes in the writer's argument for relocation to Toronto. According to league rules, a corporation cannot own an NFL franchise. There needs to be a majority owner in place and with the death of mogul Ted Rogers in 2008, Rogers Communications wouldn't be able to buy the Bills or any other team and move them to Toronto.
"Rogers Communications in Toronto would surely be interested, and building a world class facility in Canada would make things interesting," said La Canfora. "Regardless, the Bills aren't going to California."
You can choose to ignore the rest of the report and hang onto that last sentence if you wish. It's true that as long as Ralph Wilson owns the team, the Bills aren't going anywhere. Unless one or possibly two teams are in L.A. by then, it's unsure where the Bills will eventually call home.