Since 2008, the Buffalo Bills have played a "home" game in Toronto. Sure, it makes sense. You have a team who is a quick two hour drive away from Canada, with a dedicated northern fan base, so why not let fans watch them play closer to home. Then again, how much can you call a game in Toronto, a home game for the Bills?
Today, it was announced that the Bills would be taking a year off from going into Toronto for a home game. The game that normally would be played at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, will be returning to it's true home at Ralph Wilson Stadium. It will only be for one year, but I can't help but ask why? The Toronto game is a complete waste of time for the Bills, and their fans. A multitude of reasons show that the Bills should just call it quit for goods. What are those reasons you ask? Well, lets take a look.Since 2008, the Bills have been playing one home game in Toronto.
1.) Even though it's in Toronto, the Bills are losing the benefit of playing on their own home field.
2.) The players no longer want to participate.
3.) The Bills are taking away a home game from it's fans.
It's not actually a home game
Yes, as mentioned before, Buffalo is just one quick drive away from Toronto, but that's not the problem with having a game there! The Bills have a benefit that very few teams in the N.F.L have these days, and that's the fact that they can have home games in December, and the weather can turn out to actually benefit them.
For example, last year the Bills played the Falcons in Toronto, not a big deal right? A team well adjusted to the cold going up against a team from the warm south? Well, yes, that would have been the case if the game was played in Buffalo, but it wasn't, it was played in Toronto. The problem being, that even though the game is being played in a city known to get pretty cold during the winter, the Rogers Centre is a dome stadium! The Bills no longer have the true benefit of playing in front of fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and they also lose the fact that the weather could end up playing a huge issue in the game. It also doesn't help that the Bills are a running team, an offensive strategy much more suited for the cold, not a nice comfy dome in Toronto.
No longer any interest
Last year, Eric Wood was a captain for the team, and one of it's more dependable players. He is the leader of the offensive line, and one the leagues most underrated centers. When asked about what his feelings were on playing in Toronto, he said he thought it was "a joke". Yes, Eric Wood, one the teams three captains last year said that he thought the series itself was a joke, and that he hoped it wouldn't get renewed.
Kyle Williams, arguably the best player on the team and fellow captain, also was in the same boat as Wood, saying "It's pretty similar to a road game". Once again, these are captains of the team, who are chosen as representatives for all the other players in the locker room , so if the players no longer want to play in Toronto, why bother?
It hurts the fans
Kyle Williams said it himself, calling the Toronto game a "road game". Last year, when the team played Atlanta, it appeared that his comments where justified. Many Buffalo News reporters, such as Jerry Sullivan, noted how there was about 20,000 people in attendance, with most of them being Falcons fans. If you ask me, that doesn't sound like "home game" material. Also, if only 20,000 people are going, that's not a good sign that this series should becontinued any longer. Ralph Wilson will normally sit around 70,000 people, 50,000 more people that show up for games in Toronto, so you can't argue that the series has been a hit with the fans.
Bills fans are known to be very passionate about their team. A lot fans however, aren't willing to drive up to Toronto, when they are normally used to seeing them play at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Trust me when I say they take tailgating very seriously, and enjoy watching their Bills play on Sundays at the Ralph. That's why the Toronto series needs to end, not just this year, but for good, because it's hurting the one thing the Bills organization should care about most, their fans.
All in all, the Bills home isn't Toronto at the Rogers Centre, it's in Buffalo, and at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and that's where it needs to stay.