Politicians Try to Temper Bills Fans' Expectations
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - "The committee on rumors works 24 hours a day," Senator Charles Schumer said while in Buffalo on Monday.
That statement certainly rings true when talking about the future of the Buffalo Bills.
Since the passing of Ralph Wilson, Bills fans have been exposed to story after story on who the potential next owner of the team will be, how quickly they are or aren't working to get a sale finalized, and where a group of local, state, and team officials hope to build a new stadium. In just a few short weeks, the names Trump, Golisano, Milstein, Pegula, and even Bon Jovi have been rumored to have considerable interest in becoming an NFL owner.
"There's a lot of interest. There are many different people who want to buy the Bills," Schumer said on Monday, adding that he thinks it is "optimistic" to say that a sale would be near completion in a matter of months.
As for the New Stadium Working Group, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says that the group has not met since their initial meeting last month. Poloncarz says that the State has begun to review potential sites on its own as well, without help from the county or team.
Schumer thinks the New Stadium working Group will have a major impact on the future of the team. "Perhaps the best way to get the Bills to stay here is to have some plan for a stadium, whatever that plan may be and I'm not publicly talking about any specific plans, in place at the time the Bills are sold," Schumer said.
Does that mean a plan needs to be in place within the next 90 days? If the report of a quick sale is to be believed, that would put a strain on the New Stadium Working Group.
"I want to tamp down the expectations of the people in this community that within the next 60 to 90 days we'll actually have a decision made with regards to a new stadium. I do not see that happening," Poloncarz said.
What does the NFL think of the Bills' future?
"I talked as early as this morning with Roger Goodell, our great Western New York Commissioner of the NFL," Schumer said on Monday. "He's totally on our side."
Schumer recalled working with Goodell on revenue sharing, and said the commissioner was "extremely helpful," and "totally on our side" on that issue. The Senator was adamant that Goodell would help to keep the Bills in Buffalo. "He can't snap his fingers and say (the Bills) must stay here, but he has lots of things to do, and remember it's not just the Bills that must approve of a new owner and sell the team, and it's not just the owners, it's also the league, so he's got some real say."