When the rumors started flying that rocker Jon Bon Jovi would be part of a group seeking to buy the Buffalo Bills after the passing of former owner and franchise founder Ralph C. Wilson, Bills fans responded by boycotting Bon Jovi’s music in Western New York.
The reason? It was widely believed that Bon Jovi, whose attempt to buy the Bills ultimately failed, was plotting to move the team north of the border to Toronto, a rumor that made sense considering Bon Jovi had partnered with a Toronto-based group that included Larry Tanenbaum of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and Edward Rogers of Rogers Communications on the ownership bid.
Now, years later, Bon Jovi recently came out during an interview with Howard Stern and claimed that, had his group bought the Bills, he’d Be There for Bills fans, Always. He went on to add that the notion of moving the team to Canada was Living on a Prayer.
During the interview with Stern, Bon Jovi revealed that the current President of the United States, Donald Trump, had engaged in a smear campaign to turn the Bills’ fans against Bon Jovi’s ownership bid.
Bon Jovi brought up the Bills sale Wednesday when Stern asked him about reportedly being smeared by Trump.
”It’s true,” Bon Jovi said. “It got so bad that they stopped playing us on the radio up there. It’s genius what he did because he was taking out a serious candidate to buy the team and then hope that he would get it at a bargain price. But we were as real as real got and, you know, I’m brokenhearted because I would have loved it and what we would’ve done in Western New York. ... And people don’t realize, I was really gonna get a house there, I was going to move there. I was really, seriously, changing my life.”
According to a report by the Buffalo News, Michael Caputo, a longtime Republican political strategist who handled New York communications for the Trump campaign, said on “The Tim Graham Show” that while the Bills were for sale, Trump instructed him to “popularize that concept – that if you sell to Jon Bon Jovi, this is going to Toronto, no matter what they say.”
Bon Jovi said the tactic represented Trump’s “evil genius,” and he maintained that had he had his way, Bills fans would have Had a Nice Day with the future of the franchise remaining in Western New York.
Caputo backed up those claims, stating that he “put together a fan group called Bills Fan Thunder (the group was originally called 12th Man Thunder), at (Trump’s) behest, to actually, you know, get the word out there that Jon Bon Jovi was a Trojan horse.”
Eventually, Terry Pegula won the Bills with a bid of $1.4 billion, far more than what Trump, Bon Jovi, and others had offered.
It’s Bon Jovi’s life, and I guess he can try and sooth relations with Bills fans by coming out all these years later and defending his desire to keep the Bills in Orchard Park despite having majority owners who resided in Canada. If Bon Jovi had purchased the franchise and moved them out of town, there’s one guarantee: he’d be Wanted, Dead or Alive for his crimes against the Bills Mafia.