Hall of Famers Speak About Bills' Future in Buffalo
May 05, 2014 4:35 PM EDT
The Buffalo Bills are set to be located in the Ralph Wilson Stadium through 2019, but their future beyond that is uncertain. There have been plenty of talk of people buying the team and moving them to another city. Born and raised in Buffalo, I'll be the first to tell you that if the Buffalo Bill leave the city, then we will be devastated. The Bills and the Sabres are our pride and joy here in Buffalo.
Hall of Fame offensive lineman Joe DeLamielleure played eight seasons for the Bills and five seasons for the Cleveland Browns in the 1970's and early 1980's. He spoke Saturday at the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Fan Fest in Cleveland, drawing comparisons between the two teams:
"Just like Cleveland, I always felt like if Buffalo loses a team, there would be another team back in a couple years. These are football people [in] Cleveland, Buffalo, Green Bay. They're going to be there to watch their team. You go down to Jacksonville, how's the crowd? How about Tampa? How about Carolina when they lost? Those aren't football cities. These are football cities."
The Bills have struggled to sell out Ralph Wilson Stadium in recent years, forcing ownership to step in twice last season to prevent a television blackout and allowing another game to be blacked out in December. "This is a team that from 1988 to 1994 every year led the league in attendance," Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy said, who coached the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls beginning in 1990. "That can't be done now because there are bigger stadiums, but the fan base is strong."
Former Bills receiver Andre Reed, who will be inducted into Canton this August, has tried to be a public figure in support of the Bills staying in the city. ''That team has been a part of my life for more than 25 years," Reed said. "For somebody to come in and buy the team and just move it, to me it's just not right."
"I know things can happen, but we're going to do whatever we can to keep the team there. Whatever I can bring to the table, I'm bringing the whole nine yards."
Talks continue on the future of the Bills, but it's no doubt that the fans and players want nothing more than to stay in Buffalo.