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Did Jim Kelly / Bruce Smith save the Bills?


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1 hour ago, Beast said:

 

If you think a new owner (not the Pegula's) wouldn't have broke that lease promptly to move the Bills I think you are a bit naive.

New ownership didn't come until almost 3 decades after Smith & Kelly arrived.  The ownership & lease were no factors in the 1980s.  

Your reply has nothing to do with the thread's topic.  

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5 hours ago, K-9 said:

Saving the franchise? No. Rekindling fan interest and laying a new foundation after the Kay Stephenson era? Absolutely. Once Rich Stadium was built, there really was never a threat of the Bills leaving until the lease agreement expired in 1998 and by that time the team had established dominance. 
 

If anyone saved the Bills in Buffalo, it was the Pegulas when they bought the team. Another owner would have paid the penalty and moved the team. 

Wilson had threatened to leave in the early 80's

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14 minutes ago, That's No Moon said:

Wilson had threatened to leave in the early 80's

I don’t recall that at all. The only time he made such a threat was around 1970/71 when he threatened to move to Seattle if he didn’t get a new stadium. We built Rich and he never threatened to break his lease and move. He was staunchly against teams relocating, including his own. 

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44 minutes ago, Albany,n.y. said:

New ownership didn't come until almost 3 decades after Smith & Kelly arrived.  The ownership & lease were no factors in the 1980s.  

Your reply has nothing to do with the thread's topic.  

 

Yeah, I totally read your post wrong. Sorry.

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5 hours ago, freddyjj said:

Lol.  Our moribund franchise is 27-24-1 vs Chiefs all time.  Let’s not lose sight that your franchise actually relocated already from Dallas. 

KC has two SB wins and knocked us out of playoffs two years in a row.  We would all trade several playoff runs for just one of those trophies. 

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7 hours ago, Zerovoltz said:

I am not from Buffalo and I only started really paying attention to football around 88-89 or so, just as the Bills were becoming a great team.  I have seen bits here and there about how moribund the franchise was, especially after OJ was finished.  As an outsider and someone not from there, was there ever a time when it was in doubt that the Bills would always be in Buffalo?

 

As a St. Louis Blues fan, it's not stretch to say that Brett Hull saved them from leaving.  Some have said Peyton Manning saved the Colts being in Indy (by being good and thus spurring the building of Lucas Oil stadium)  I am sure there are other examples.  Was this the case with the Kelly/Smith era of Bills teams?  Thanks.

Polian saved the Bills.  He told Ralph he had to start paying players.

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12 hours ago, K-9 said:

If anyone saved the Bills in Buffalo, it was the Pegulas when they bought the team. Another owner would have paid the penalty and moved the team. 

I'm not 100% convinced of that as I don't think Bon Jovi or Trump wouldn't have been wanted to be viewed as the next Art Modell.  I'm glad the Pegula's bought the team though.  Obviously.

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What saved the Bills was the unexpected passing of Ted Rodgers, before Ralph Wilson died.  Ralph was all set to sell to Ted, and move the Bills to Toronto at the time of his death.  His estate would have  spoke how keeping the team in WNY was too much of a "competitive disadvantage"  (Ralph favorite term when he was looking for another free hand out).  Them they would of praised Ralph for doing everything we could to keep the team in the region.

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17 hours ago, machine gun kelly said:

Zero, I like you as an unapologetic KC fan.  All good, but why?  My dad is 92 and still kicking.  If you don’t know a

close friend of Van Miller and Mr. Felser. My dad worked the Buffalo News for 44 years and so do I on college in 87-90.  
 

We’ve been fans since Lookie here comes cookie, Kemp, Fergie, OJ, the electric company, and so on.  
 

we didn’t become fans when Kelly came!  We were here all along.  You KC GUYS IF YOH WANT TO PICK IN A TEAM SUCJEF

AFYER SEASON 4 and we’re Absent until Montana.

 

show respect of you’re coming to another board.  I respect you’re team.  I think you’ll be in it even without hill.  Do t

crap on our brother.  Otherwise just go away.

You missed a lookie and “whitey, you’re killing me.”

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I would say yes. The franchise hung on by a thread in Buffalo in the 2010s through the sale. On thing that saved it was the strong following by nationally dispersed fans who valued continuity and keeping the team in Buffalo.  The subtle but strong national following was largely due to the success of the 90s teams.  Bad play in the 90s could have easily swing the pendulum in the opposite direction. 

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No. 

 

They were never leaving as long as Ralph owned the team. The only question was how would the new owner feel about it. We’ve were VERY fortunate to have the Pegula’s come along when we needed them. 

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8 hours ago, Doc Brown said:

I'm not 100% convinced of that as I don't think Bon Jovi or Trump wouldn't have been wanted to be viewed as the next Art Modell.  I'm glad the Pegula's bought the team though.  Obviously.

You give these guys too much credit. Bon Jovi was literally a partner with a Toronto group. I’ll have to withhold my comments on trump as a prospective owner. But since either would have realized an immediate increase in franchise value by moving to a more lucrative market, I’ll just says that neither would have cared about being viewed as the next Modell.

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19 hours ago, SoMAn said:

Actually, the success of the Flutie-led Bills of the late 90’s was probably more of factor in keeping the Bills in WNY. 
 

I don’t recall all the details, but I believe the renewed interest, increased attendance, enthusiasm, etc was integral to funding for the necessary stadium renovations and extended lease. 
Anyone  remember just how that went down? 


IIRC the Bills needed to sell a number of luxury boxes to trigger the new lease

Edited by coloradobillsfan
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17 hours ago, oldmanfan said:

Polian saved the Bills.  He told Ralph he had to start paying players.

Yeah, that lasted for a while, then ended.

 

What truly saved this organization was the death of Ralph Wilson.

 

Absolutely nothing was going to change until that happened, as I told everyone I knew for nearly 20 years...

 

 

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4 hours ago, coloradobillsfan said:


IIRC the Bills needed to sell a number of luxury boxes to trigger the new lease

That sounds about right.
Again, 20+ years since it all went down so don’t remember the sequence of events, but my sense is that the excitement generated by Flutie’s success which put the Bills back into the playoffs played a role in extending the lease. Up until that point, there was concern and the usual panic and hand-wringing among the Bills faithful that their beloved Bills could suffer the same fate as Modell’s Browns who departed for Baltimore after the ‘95 season. 

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I think most people in this thread are just focusing on the key dates where the Bills faced some uncertainty which is logical, it's hard to argue Terry is not the ultimate savior. That said, the OP, along with myself, along with tens of thousands of other fans have no ties to WNY and became fans as a result of those early 90's teams and the enhanced national exposure it gave us. Most of us didn't just stop liking the team. That's sort of sacrilegious to any Bills fan. This enhanced the teams value, national appeal, and helped what is now looked at as one of the stronger national fan bases in the NFL, not just regional, become what it is today. Which in turn makes it more difficult to relocate. Great post OP.   

Edited by KzooMike
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On 6/26/2022 at 8:50 AM, clearwater cadet said:

What saved the Bills was the unexpected passing of Ted Rodgers, before Ralph Wilson died.  Ralph was all set to sell to Ted, and move the Bills to Toronto at the time of his death.  His estate would have  spoke how keeping the team in WNY was too much of a "competitive disadvantage"  (Ralph favorite term when he was looking for another free hand out).  Them they would of praised Ralph for doing everything we could to keep the team in the region.

I believe there's a lot of truth to this.  Obviously, I wasn't a fly on the wall at OBD during the time, but I remember a LOT of buzz about Rodgers.  That he'd pulled a fast one on ol' Ralph, Bills fans would still support the team in Toronto, etc.  And then *poof* - the younger man passed away first.  Weird.

 

 

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