Toronto has gotten a taste of the NFL over the past few years, hosting at least one Bills game annually. And it has made the powers-that-be hungry for more.
Councillor Doug Ford, the brother of Toronto mayor Rob Ford (wait, I thought their last name was McKenzie), tells Brad Gagnon of TheScore.com that Canada’s mega-city intends to try to lure an NFL team after the league puts a team back in Los Angeles.
“They have to take care of the problem in Los Angeles first,” Ford said. “Two teams are kind of in play here: Jacksonville’s number one; New Orleans is the other. So there’s two teams. Once they take care of Los Angeles, we’re going to fly over to New York, set up a meeting with [NFL commissioner Roger] Goodell and give him our pitch.”
As Gagnon points out, Goodell has said that Toronto would need a better venue than Rogers Centre. “Their current stadium is a multi-purpose stadium, has a relatively small capacity by NFL standards,” Goodell said at his pre-Super Bowl press conference in February. “And so I think there’s some issues that have to be addressed up there, but it’s a great market.” But Doug
McKenzie Ford has explained that a new waterfront stadium could be built.
Apart from the borderline ridiculous notion that the Saints would be in play to relocate (then again, things were tenuous at best for the franchise’s future in New Orleans before Katrina), the fact that the Bills aren’t on the short list is surprising.
“If we had our own team,” Ford said, “we’d treat it like it’s our own and build up a fan base.”
Of course, this implies that a full and complete move by the Bills, instead of a shared arrangement with Buffalo, would be welcomed. It’s safe to say, however, that the folks in Toronto don’t want to be perceived as politicking to pilfer the Bills from Buffalo. That said, the ultimate unspoken goal could be to pressure the Bills to protect their regionalized turf by moving to Toronto in order to keep another NFL team from moving in next door.