The bloggers at SB Nation started a little project this morning over at Big Cat Country that I thought I'd let you all in on. Over the next two months (once per week) the NFL bloggers at SB Nation will be participating in a "Small Market Roundtable", examining the problems and issues associated with playing NFL football in a small-market system. Buffalo Rumblings will be hosting the discussions at a later date; I'll let you know when that occurs as the date draws closer.
Today's topic involves the issue of relocation, a word that we've obviously heard in Buffalo a lot. I thought I'd take a quick look at recent developments in Buffalo that indicate the team will be staying put for the long-term.
The first and obvious big development was the agreement on a Revenue Sharing plan that was passed in March by a 30-2 vote. According to this new deal, the top 15 high-revenue clubs in the NFL will provide revenue to smaller-market clubs to ensure that these teams stay competitive. Our beloved owner, Ralph Wilson Jr., was one of eight owners on a committee that headed up this effort. That's reason one that the viability of the Bills is ensured. However, this was just a small victory; the pool is designed to protect franchises through just 2009 at a minimum.
The other is NYS Senator Chuck Schumer. The Senator was a big part of a political push for the new revenue sharing agreement, and will likely be an ally even after he leaves office. He has long partnered with Wilson about Bills-related matters and was the driving force behind several league meetings between former Commissioner Tagliabue and himself. He is a political powerhouse that is on our side. Said Wilson after the revenue sharing agreement: "I'd like to especially acknowledge the critical role of our Senator Schumer in helping us to gain representation on the committee and to bringing broader attention to the importance of small market diversity to America's game. We couldn't have done it without him."
Revenue Sharing and strong political allies from the state have ensured the viability of the Bills in this market for the short term (again, at least through 2009). Long-term viability is a different issue altogether, and one I will explore at a later date (a.k.a. when I host the Roundtable proceedings here). Suffice it to say that after 2009, our future in Buffalo will largely be in the NFL's hands as they either extend Revenue Sharing, come up with a new plan or some other unforeseen circumstance. The good news, again, is that the Bills are safe and sound in Orchard Park for the next three years.
Be sure to head on over to Big Cat Country to check out our Roundtable discussion about relocation; feel free to chime in here or over at the Jags blog about these issues as well!