As the deadline arrives on Tuesday for potential buyers of the Bills to formally express interest in acquiring the franchise, one of the biggest names of the bunch faces a building backlash in Buffalo.
As explained by Eric Adelson of Yahoo! Sports, Jon Bon Jovi currently doesn’t have many fans in the city where the Bills currently reside, due to the perception that Bon Jovi’s Toronto-based ownership group would move the team there.
“It’s a big threat,” 49-year-old truck driver Charles Pellien told Adelson. “He’s aligned with guys from Toronto. They’ve got more money than everybody else. We don’t believe they will keep the Bills in Buffalo. Why would they?”
From a perception standpoint, he’s right. If Bon Jovi were aligned with a group based in Los Angeles, it would be a given that the group wants to move the team there. With Bon Jovi, a New Jersey native, becoming the front man for Toronto money, it’s impossible to not think that Bon Jovi’s group would move the team to Ontario at the first legal opportunity.
Pellien has organized a grass-roots group to keep Bon Jovi’s group from winning the team. Coupled with Bon Jovi’s ongoing silence about his plans or intentions, it makes it hard for anyone to believe the reports that Bon Jovi and company intend to keep the team in Buffalo.
“It’s the Buffalo Bills, and they will do everything they can to make that work there,” consultant to the Toronto group recently told the Buffalo News.
Which doesn’t make it any better.
“They will do everything they can to make that work there” possibly means, “They’ll dog paddle in Buffalo, saying all the right until the lease allows them to load up the Mayflowers and declare, ‘Well, we did everything possible to make it work there. Bye.’”
Bon Jovi, who seems to be doing all the right things behind the scenes to position himself to have a legitimate shot at the team, should have been doing all the right things in front of the scenes, too. Free concerts. Donations to local charities. Other public appearances. Radio interviews.
For a guy who has made millions and millions working the crowd, he has blown it on this one. His silence has invited suspicion, and as the suspicion mounts and the silence continues, the suspicion gets even stronger.
At this point, nothing short of a public group hug involving Bon Jovi, Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, and Bruce Smith will commence the process of getting folks in Buffalo to believe that Bon Jovi is buying the Bills not because they’re in Buffalo but because they can be taken, eventually, to Toronto.