Last June, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that the Bills “have to stay up with” other teams in the league in terms of their stadium in what seemed like a suggestion that it was time for the team to move forward with a push for a stadium to replace New Era Field.
Giants co-owner John Mara sent similar vibes earlier in 2016 when he said the Bills would need a new stadium to keep pace financially with others in the league. It didn’t take much to remember both sets of comments as 31 of the league’s owners (including Terry and Kim Pegula) voted to approve the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas. That adds up to three teams moving in a relatively short span of time after failing to secure new stadiums, but NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman said there was no message for Buffalo to take away from the vote, however.
“This certainly is not intended to send any message and I don’t believe anyone should take any message in it,” Grubman said. “Buffalo’s fans are legendary and ranked right up there with the greatest fans in the NFL. Ownership there is evaluating their options and those options are very long-term in nature. I don’t want to speak for them, but I think you can see, by virtue of the fact that they’re not waiting and have done work on the stadium already, that they care about their fans and they care about Buffalo.”
Direct message or not, the stadium issue has been on the table in Buffalo for several years now and the team is going to step up the push for a new building sooner or later. Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News quotes a league source that says the Pegulas “want the team to have some success” before putting out their palms for public money, but the team’s current lease is up in 2022 so the conversation is coming.