The story so far: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the Buffalo Bills $226 million for renovations to their current stadium, then he appointed a task force to find ways to build them a whole new stadium, then he said he would want any stadium to use “private money, too,” then he said he would “ask the taxpayers” first and that he was “very cautious about anything that would cost more money.” So really, these two developments should come as no surprise:
In a conversation last week with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and in other recent talks with Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Goodell reiterated his contention that the NFL would like to see the Bills remain in Buffalo.
But a new stadium must be part of the mix, Goodell told them.
“If we need a new stadium to keep the Bills here long term, that’s something that I’m interested in talking about,” Cuomo said.
The NFL is playing a pretty nutso game here, with the Bills’ terms of sale requiring that any bidders agree not to move the team, while the league threatens to move the team without a new stadium. I suppose you could interpret them both as “We want any new owner to commit to staying if the state agrees to build a new stadium,” but as it stands the NFL is trying to have it both ways, as pointed out hilariously in this excerpt from the Buffalo News:
The conversation came a day after The Buffalo News printed a letter from musician Jon Bon Jovi, who fronts a Toronto group that has put in a bid to buy the Bills from the estate of their late founder, Ralph C. Wilson Jr.
In the letter, Bon Jovi insisted that his group does not intend to move the team to Toronto, but stressed that it would like a new stadium in the Buffalo area. He did not say in the letter who would pay for the stadium.
“Bon Jovi really is an explicit articulation of the NFL’s position, with a more definitive tone,” [a source with knowledge of the Bills] said. “Bon Jovi says: ‘I will stay if you build a stadium, and the suggestion is the inverse, I will leave if you don’t build a stadium.’ ”
“The NFL never put it that harshly,” said the source, who detected what seems like an implied threat of a move in the commissioner’s insistent demand that the Bills need a new facility.
Is it really too much to ask that the NFL say what it means? Yeah, probably.