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June 18, 2008
by Robbie Gillies
On February 1st, the Bills announced they would be playing eight games in Toronto over the next five years. Bills owner Ralph Wilson had this to say:
We are very pleased to be the first franchise in NFL history to split our schedule between our domestic home city of Buffalo, New York and our neighboring international city, Toronto, Ontario...The population growth in Toronto, the passion the Canadian fans have shown for the Buffalo Bills and the vision of Ted Rogers and Larry Tanenbaum have made this possible.
The Bills will play their first game in Toronto on August 14th against the Steelers in their second preseason game. Just today the Bills unveiled their logo that players will wear as patches.
The logo features the charging buffalo, the Rogers Centre where the games will be held, the Canadian Maple Leaf, and the CN Tower. Many Bills' fans are upset at the move and fear it could eventually mean a Bills full exodus to Canada. When Ralph Wilson was asked the Bills future he said, "Don't worry. Don't worry, right now." Some ominous words. Buffalo has been hit hard by the shift from industrial jobs to technological jobs. In a 2007 study
, Buffalo was second only to Detroit in declining US markets. A Bills partnership makes sense, but a Bills move to Canada might make even more sense. This logo just represents the first step towards that possibility. Here's what I expect to happen to the logo in the future.
2009 - The Bills announce that the response from Toronto to the first regular season games was so successful, they've decided to increase the number of games in Canada to half of their home games.
- With the declining US economy and Buffalo unable to provide financing for a new stadium or upgrading luxury boxes, the Bills make the painful decision to permanently move to Toronto.
2020 - After going to four Super Bowls in a row and losing all four, the Toronto faithful feel the Bills name is cursed and decide to go a different direction.
(For those unaware, Tim Horton's is Canada's version of Dunkin Donuts. Yeah, there are Tim Horton's in the US, but it's primarily a Canadian establishment.)