Among the three known initial bidders in the sale of the Buffalo Bills, no one has more work to do in the court of public opinion than Jon Bon Jovi. Which is why, in the early morning on the day of the 2014 Bills' preseason opener, with Bills fans riding the emotional high of Andre Reed's Hall of Fame enshrinement on Saturday evening, Bon Jovi penned a letter to Bills fans, revealed exclusively by The Buffalo News on Sunday.
"There has been a lot of conjecture, so we think it’s important to clarify our intentions to the fans of the team and people of Buffalo," Bon Jovi tells us. "Our objective is simple: to carry on the legacy of Ralph Wilson and make the Bills successful in Buffalo."
Last week, reports emerged that the Bon Jovi group - which includes financing from two Toronto entities, Larry Tanenbaum (Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment) and the Rogers family - would be meeting with Western New York real estate developers to discuss local stadium sites. One of those people is Scott Congel, the owner of development property in West Seneca that had previously been tied to former Sabres owner Tom Golisano. Bon Jovi stressed the need for a new stadium in his letter.
"We are committed to working with the State, City, County and business community to identify the best possible site in the Buffalo area for a new stadium and to then develop and implement a plan to finance and build a state-of-the-art NFL stadium for the loyal Bills fans," Bon Jovi writes.
Among the three known bidders, Trump - despite advancing to the next stage - is still not taken seriously, while Pegula and Bon Jovi are at polar opposite ends of the public opinion spectrum. Pegula has the lead in that arena by a crushing margin, which is likely a major reason he hasn't yet made any public comments about his pursuit of the franchise. Bon Jovi, clearly, is trying to make up some ground.
"I know how much the Bills mean to the people of this region. So I want you to hear this from me: I’m not risking it all to let you down," says Bon Jovi. "If we are given the chance to be the next owners of the Buffalo Bills, I promise you that we will bring the same passion that you do every Sunday, every day."
This was an expected strategic move from the Bon Jovi camp. Whether or not anyone believes him, in Western New York and beyond, remains very much in doubt.