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Buffalo Bills schedule 2017: no home primetime game again

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Bills fans are calling for it, but probably shouldn’t be.

Buffalo Bills fans know how electric it can be at Ralph Wilson Stadium New Era Field for a home primetime game. With the new NFL schedule released, Buffalo was once again shut out. While the atmosphere is fun there are definitely reasons why the Bills aren’t chosen.

The team stinks

Former Bills guard Ross Tucker reminded everyone on Twitter yesterday that the NFL schedule is designed to increase ratings, not reward fun fanbases. The Bills haven’t been relevant nationally in a long time, so primetime games aren’t focused on here, especially ones at home.

The market is too small

If you’re looking for ratings, Buffalo might get a high percentage, but that’s still a lower number of eyeballs than in Dallas or New York or Boston. Green Bay doesn’t count because they’ve been good and have developed a national audience.

No Rex Ryan

Sorry, Sean McDermott, but your personality isn’t begging for the bright lights. You weren’t hired to do that. Rex Ryan drew national attention and Buffalo had a little bit higher profile when he was here. Now it keeps coming back to the first point - winning.

Fans go too far

If you’ve been to a night game at The Ralph, you’ll know fans can start tailgating in private lots at the same time they normally do and work up a pretty good lather by the time the late kickoff comes around. In 2012, a man was ejected during a primetime game and found dead the next day in a creek near the stadium. That incident was rumored to be a tipping point for the Bills, who may have asked the NFL to exclude them from home primetime games because of the unsafe behavior. That was debunked by the head of the team’s Fan Advisory Board in 2015.

New Era Field can’t broadcast those games

This was true for a while. When networks began switching to high definition, the Ralph didn’t have the necessary infrastructure for several years. Renovations over the past several years took care of this problem, and it’s not an issue anymore.


Buffalo hosted the Jets on Thursday Night Football in 2016, but the last time they hosted a Monday Night Football game was in 2014 (also against the Jets).

The last home Sunday Night Football game, seen as the most prestegious, was way back in 2007 when the Bills were throttled by the Patriots, 56-10. That was a flex game after Buffalo went on a roll and won four-of-five games to show the NFL they meant business. They ended up going 2-5 down the stretch which begun with this primetime loss.

You have to go all the way back to 2000 for the last time Buffalo was scheduled before the season to host a Sunday night game. They opened the season hosting the Tennessee Titans, nine months after the Music City Mirage.