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August 31, 2021, 8:11 a.m.
The NFL preseason is over. For most teams it was little more than a series of organized scrimmages that the teams could sell tickets to. Now we’re waiting a week and a half for the real games. Strange scheduling.
That doesn’t mean not much happened at the Buffalo Bills. The Pegulas opened their wallets to quarterback Josh Allen. At the same time, however, the Pegulas played poorer when they slipped through that they had to have a new stadium, all of which was paid for with public money. Terry and Kim could quote Emerson, “A foolish persistence is the hobgoblin of little ghosts.” (It’s always good to add some literature to the blog.)
The easy part first: winning the Super Bowl. The 2020 season was almost magical. The record shows that the team goes 13-3 in wins and losses; except for a Hail Mary pass in Arizona it would have been 14-2. They made it to the American Conference championship game, but stayed short. Somehow it was reminiscent of a championship game loss to Cincinnati in January 1989, followed by four consecutive big game appearances after a “bickering bill” season.
Josh Allen went from journeyman to one of the top four quarterbacks last year the league developed. It was pretty much an all-round team effort with offense, defensive and special teams all playing well. With the team intact after the off-season and some promising new signings, there is reason to believe they will play the Super Bowl in February.
The six-year $ 258 million deal that the owners presented Allen with last month is stunning. Just go through the numbers. In a 60 minute game, approximately 11 minutes are actually played, with the remainder of the time being consumed by resetting the soccer ball, crouching, and so on. For example, suppose the offense is on the field for half of those 11 minutes. Multiply by the number of games times five and a half minutes; Divide the annual salary by the number of minutes played. The hourly rate is even higher than some fast food restaurants now offer.
While training camps and five training days per week take place during the season, the actual work is done on Sundays or occasionally on Thursdays and Saturdays. Nice work when you get it (assuming you can handle the permanent damage to your brain and body).
As good as the team looks now, there are obstacles in the way of where the team wants to go. Perhaps the Patriots, Jets, Dolphins, Chiefs and Buccaneers have also gotten better since last season.
Injuries to key players often derail the best teams. The Bills have a decent backup quarterback in Mitch Trubisky, but there are a lot of stars on the team who don’t have such credible backups.
And then of course there’s the so far pretty unbeatable opponent COVID-19. The NFL has tightened their logs on what happens to a team that has multiple players due to positive coronavirus tests, to the point of losing a game and losing their salary.
This is where the bills fall short. The Associated Press reports that approximately 93% of all NFL players have been vaccinated. Bill’s general manager Brandon Beane is cautious about such things, but it appears the Bill’s vaccination rate is at or below 80 percent, perhaps the lowest in the league.
We know where speaker Cole Beasley is, but what about the rest of the team? Beasley is on the flip side of his career; doesn’t a troublemaker in the locker room hurt the team? What about a united team that is the single most important factor in winning?
It seems that the Pegulas had some influence on vaccinating Allen when he signed his big deal, but we don’t know. It’s almost like there’s a cone of silence among sports reporters in town on the subject.
When 20 percent of the team (10 members of a 53-man squad) are unvaccinated, the team is at great risk into the season. A real chance could be in vain. Researchers want to know: who besides Beasley is not vaccinated? Are there no executives on the team who can drive this point home?
When I recently saw pictures on the Buffalo News of parts of the stadium originally known as Rich deteriorating after nearly fifty years of exposure to the elements, something surprised me; the upper deck looked pretty bad. Like it or not, the $ 22 million building built in the early 1970s has seen better days.
Whether or not the potential cost of a new stadium and its funding was revealed out of shock and awe, it was still the result of such stories. It’s amazing how the idea of building a new stadium went from community chatter to a fait accompli almost overnight.
What do you get for 1.4 billion dollars that is so different from a 22 A million dollar stadium that has been remodeled twice in the last 25 years and cost nearly a quarter of a billion dollars? The plan seems to be to build a new facility in Orchard Park next to the existing building. The surrounding developments that often come with a new stadium, such as hotels and restaurants, seem unlikely in an area surrounded by empty fields and lower population densities.
How fancy can you make the luxury boxes that most of us never put into Will get close? Besides a few hot dog and sushi stands, what do you put in the hall? How big does the scoreboard have to be?
We could know the answers to such questions if the Bills had published the study that we hear explains why Orchard Park is the preferred location and what is built into the building shall be. Before anyone seriously thinks about a new building, the public needs to see this report.
How much money would Pegulas and the NFL put into the project after the opening proposal without private investment? Where is the heavy surge in public funds supposed to come from?
There are far more questions than answers to these and other questions about a new football stadium. A certain amount of transparency – a lot of transparency – is needed before any serious negotiations on this issue. Transparency is an issue that is often addressed but seldom seen. Stay tuned.
Ken has been a very active community participant in the world of politics for nearly 50 years. Everything from envelope filling to campaign management. From the ward council level to presidential campaigns. On the democratic side. Many politicians worked, fought, and drank a beer. Now “mostly” retired, Ken continues to have a keen interest in government and politics at the local, state, and state levels. His blog politicsandstuff.com offers weekly comments and opinions on politics, budgeting, candidacies and analysis of public issues.
August 28, 2021 by BRo guest authors
August 4, 2021 by BRo guest authors
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