Eric Wood tees off on Bills’ Canadian “home” games


Many Bills players have tried to be polite about taking “home” games to Toronto.

But center Eric Wood didn’t hold back Wednesday morning on his weekly segment on 97 Rock, calling the series “a joke,” and saying he hoped the contract wasn’t renewed.

“I think that Toronto series has turned into pretty much a joke,” Wood said, via Tim Graham of the Buffalo News. “I think they started it hoping that we’d have a lot of fan support in Toronto. We have none.

“I mean, it’s a crucial third down for them in the first quarter, and they’re running just regular snap count, where I don’t care if we have a half-filed Ralph Wilson Stadium, they don’t do that.”

The Bills were hammered 50-17 by the Seahawks Sunday in a half-filled Rogers Centre, dropping them to 1-4 in their games north of the border.

“You’re making a team from out west travel, and then you give them the comfort of a dome, and you don’t make them play in our stadium,” Wood said. “We have no home-field advantage allowed. We travel, too. I just think it’s a joke.

“And it’s a bad atmosphere for football. I mean, nobody wants to play there. I guess for opposing teams it beats the hell out of going in somebody else’s stadium and dealing with a bunch of crowd noise.

“I don’t think it’s turned out they way we wanted, and I hope we don’t renew it. That sucked.”

Tell us how you really feel, Eric.

Given the tepid support the Bills have gotten (then again, a good team might have drawn a more enthusiastic response), you might expect them to bail. But even though this was the final game of the orginal five-year deal, there have been reports of a five-year extension through 2017.

International growth is also one of the league’s pet projects, so Wood might as well get used to Tim Hortons and accept it.

63 responses to “Eric Wood tees off on Bills’ Canadian “home” games

  1. This series is a joke, and I understand that they’re trying to broaden the nfl fan base. What I don’t understand is why buffalo is putting themselves in the position that they’re taking away a home game from their fans that, honestly, deserve way more than what the team has given them.

    The Bills front office needs to worry about winning and keeping their fans here before trying to get any more fans in Canada. This game probably lost them fan support up north!

  2. You could do a whole lot worse than Timmy Ho’s. It is a shame that fan base does not get a chance to hold its head up to the sun. If you have a small market franchise you must draft well and the Bills have not.

  3. There’s a Tim Horton’s on every corner in Buffalo, so if Wood isn’t used to it already he never will be.

  4. Eric Wood is spot-on. As someone who covers the Bills on a weekly basis and attends all the games, the atmosphere at the Rogers Centre is about as sterile as it gets. I get the sense that the fans there really aren’t that passionate about Bills football. If the game was played in Orchard Park, the Seahawks would have contended with 65,000 screaming fans, quite a bit of rain and, I think, a more competitve opponent. The Bills are playing these games there to tap-in to the marketing dollars. In THAT area, they have succeeded tremendously!

  5. Watch the Bills give him the boot now. If you listen to Russ Brandon, the Toronto initiative is much more important than having a good team, and more important than satisfying the loyal fans of Buffalo. The franchise is an absolute joke with him running the show. It’s amazing how Brandon escapes criticism despite being the top guy since this team went into the pits.

  6. I think a key point made here is that if the Bills didn’t suck, maybe they’d have a following up there. But because they do suck, I’m happy to pay for one less game a year with my season tickets. And by the way, there’s a Timmy Ho’s on every corner in Western NY – no need to cross the border.

  7. I agree with Eric. It sounds more like an away game than a home game for the Bills. That doesn’t really seem fair. I’m assuming the fans in Buffalo are more supportive than the ones in Toronto.

  8. The Bills do have a bunch of diehard Canadian fans, thousands come across the border to Ralph Wilson Stadium to cheer on the Bills. The Canadian fan base for Buffalo is huge, they support the team very well. They have to deal with Border Patrol and Customs every time they come to a game. Just that alone shows their support is huge, who wants to deal with customs? I just think that even the Canadian Fans would rather come to the Ralph than play in Toronto. Nobody really likes the games being played in Toronto. Its time to drop the NFL’s idea to go international, at least north of the border.

  9. He makes a lot of valid arguments. I caught a little bit of that game and the “turf” on that field is in worse shape than the carpets in my house.

  10. With this coach and GM I will appreciate a fire in the belly from anyone about just anything. Wish someone would get teed off about the season/coaching/ownership. Something that matters.

  11. I’m canadian and I don’t blame him, I’m a huge fan of the nfl and have been for years but most Canadians don’t know anything about the NFL and don’t care either.

  12. The only reason for doing it was because it’s money the Bills don’t have to share with the rest of the league. Other than that, Wood is spot on. There are very few actual Bills fans at the games. If you pay attention to the crowd reaction, there are always more fans for the “visitors” than there are for the Bills.

  13. I appreciate players speaking out on issues that they do not agree with. Eric Wood knows first-hand how a ‘home game,’ in Canada for the Buffalo Bills was clearly not a home game.

    Roger Goodell needs to understand that the NFL is doing great things here in the USA and it should stay that way. Why not play a couple games a year in a US stadium like the Coliseum in LA or some other stadiums that NFL teams do not normally play in?

  14. They’d be better off in London than Toronto. If you’ve ever crossed that border and went up towards Toronto on 420, you’d see its a whole ‘nother country. Stop by a dive bar to get a local feel and you don’t see a football team logo on the wall anywhere–all hockey. And Molson Canadian.

  15. Timmy Ho’s sells sandwiches with a donut as a side choice. A DONUT. What’s up with that? It’s unsettling.

  16. The NFL is throwing the Bills to the dogs on this one. Let’s see them try moving another team’s home games to Canada. They’d have a riot on their hands. But the Bills … yeah, we can stick it to them.

  17. Hopefully this wo’t seal his fate as to extending his contract, but he has been hurt every year.
    BTW there is a Tim Horton’s on almost every corner in Western NY, he doesn’t need to cross the border!

  18. You leave Tim Hortons out of this!

    As a former northerner who relocated south, I really miss Tim Hortons. Greatest coffee ever!

  19. eric is right they need to stop playing up there, its not benefitting them to keep losing home field advantage. cuz have u seen the ticket prices for games up there? ridiculous. oh yea and Tim Horton’s are all over western ny, so no need to go north of the border. they make good cafe mocha’s

  20. toronto fans don’t even care about the argonauts let alone the bills. sea vs buf isn’t exactly a marquee matchup either so don’t expect much for enthusiasm. the only time rogers was sold out was for the grey cup

  21. It’s all about making more money… I’m pretty tired of everything being about the almighty dollar in sports I’ve got to tell you..

    Sports were meant to be fun & competitive, not billion dollar corporate machines making decisions based on how many more dollars they can bring in.. Aren’t these owners loaded anyway? Do they not have enough? The fans only have so much money so finding more and more ways to fleece us of our cash just seems overboard! When will enough be enough for these bloated fatcats?

    The fun of the game left a long time ago… It became a Billion Dollar business and the joy has been slowly squeezed out in favor of more revenues.. As we’re seeing in the American and European economies, there’s not much more money left to be had.. Not from the average fans at least..


  22. money folks…Bills draw alot at home (approx. 30,000 Canadians per game) but their ticket prices are at or near the bottom , face it Toronto is 10x as large as Buffalo and much better off financally. But will they , we Canadians have said no to government funded buildings for billionairres and if it isn’t Toronto’s team alone they won’t support it

  23. People seem to be missing a couple things. First, the Bills are NOT playing a game in Toronto as part of another hare-brained Goodell outreach scheme to expand the game. They play a game in Toronto because they are VERY well paid for it, and as a small market team, that matters.

    Second, the fans in Toronto, like most places, tend to be quiet when the home team lays an egg, like the Bills did on Sunday. When the team doesnt show up, from the very start of the game, how can you expect the fans to either? The Bills have a history of awful, playing-out-the-string performances in the Toronto games, the one exception being last year, when they hammered Washington in what was, in retrospect, the high point of their season. The fans were plenty loud then.

    The way the Bills played Sunday, they deserved the treatment the Bears got from THEIR fans – loud boos,

  24. Bottom line: this player is correct in what he is saying. I live n Toronto and have for 20+ years (originally from Nova Scotia). Canadians in general are just quieter and less boisterous at sporting events (internet chat rooms might be a different story! lol). It’s always been that way and always will be. Yes it would be somewhat better if the Bills didn’t stink every year but frankly that just isn’t a big factor. Nothing personal Bile players. We are Canadian. We are reserved and polite. Eh? 🙂

  25. The latest I’m hearing out of Toronto is they are thinking about changing the turf in the dome to grass for baseball. I don’t know if you’ve heard but they Blue Jays are the main tenants of the dome and are now the 8-1 favourites to win the world series after their recent trades. I’m also hearing the Jays don’t want their grass ruined by football (argos or bills) so hopefully that means this ‘bills in Toronto’ experiment is over.

  26. Timmy Ho’s is BY FAR the most popular coffee place in the WNY area – it kills Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. I am a BILLS season ticketholder and I miss that 8th home game every year.

  27. I am Canadian and Bills fan – Why don’t you give us something to cheer for. Disapointament all season and getting 50+ scored on you guys why would they cheer.

  28. It’s no wonder you have no support when you come out and suck as badly as you did last Sunday. Seattle didn’t have an issue playing in that atmosphere. Shut up and play the game.

  29. The misinformation here is amazing.

    First things first. Do not confuse Toronto NFL fans will southern Ontario NFL fans. Toronto NFL fans are NOT fans of the Bills or the Sabres, generally speaking.

    Southern Ontario fans are primarily fans of the Bills and the Sabres, to an extent. These are the fans that travel to the Ralph every Sunday, 10’s of thousands of them.

    Secondly. Bringing two teams from other cities, that no one cares about, and charging us insane amounts of money, is a recipe for disaster.

    Imagine the Bears and Packers playing in Detroit, do you think the people would shell out $500 to go see the game?

  30. rcm1002 says: Dec 19, 2012 8:50 AM

    There’s a Tim Horton’s on every corner in Buffalo, so if Wood isn’t used to it already he never will be.

    I live in Rochester, NY, and there are at least three Tim Horton’s within a mile of my house.

  31. I’m a Bills fan and don’t like the Toronto game, but Wood’s arguement is weak. In the last 5 years what was on the line when the Bills played the Toronto game? In the 13 year playoff drought, they haven’t even cracked the top 9 teams in the AFC.

    What exactly does Buffalo need home field advanage for in mid December – a worse draft pick?

    Start drafting better, and not picking coaches off the NFL trash heap and fans might start to cheer regardless of the city your in.

  32. The Bills Stink. They have been bad for 20 years. If people in Toronto want to pay good money to see a terrible team they have plenty of home team options. I’ve been to 4/5 games here. It’s getting worse not better. If a 7/3 or 8/4 Bills team rolled into the Rogers Centre to play the Pats, they would sell out the place. Bottom line is the Bills are terrible and we don’t need another bad team in this city even once a year. O and writing this well enjoying my morning Timmys.

  33. Good call Woody,,,terrible move by the Bills but that certainly is not shocking. I wonder if Buffalo could beat the Argonauts ?

  34. Maybe… just maybe, if they were ever a good team people might go to these games. I think the seahawks playing in Vancouver BC would be vastly different than the Bills playing in Toronto. Sure the seahawks wouldnt have their impressive homefield advantage, but it surely wouldnt be as bad as the toronto bills ever had. Get a team that people care about to do these games. Put the packers north of the border and see Canadians flock to the game.

  35. Nothing like complaining about fans not cheering enough in a game that your team basically rolled over and gave up.

    The Bills suck when they play in Buffalo too, so I’m pretty sure that’s not the problem…

  36. It’s a money grab by Ralph. The number the Bills front office throws out is about 15% of their fan base at home games are from Southern Ontario. I’ve yet to talk to anybody at a home game from Buffalo who has gone to any of the games in Toronto.

  37. Wood is already used to Tim Hortons they are like Starbucks in Buffalo (Tim was a Buffalo Saber). However Tim Hortons or no Tim Hortons wood is right!!! Ralph Wilson Stadium and only Ralph Wilson Stadium is home. The beloved 12th man deserves 8 games there. @footballady52. 🏉

  38. I don’t think there is too much of a “home field advantage” in the Ralph. I’ve been to a few games there where, amazingly, the Bill were actually winning, and yet the entire stadium sits on it’s hands. Only NFL stadium where people tell other fans to sit down. Lame.

  39. I totally agree. Let’s see him try to take the Patriots, Vikings, Lions, Packers…or any of the northern teams there…..wouldn’t happen. This guy was spot on, and Goodell needs to listen to his brand….the players.

  40. @wtf6969
    Id love to know what game you were at bcause Im sure it wasnt one in the 1st half of the season when the fans are sold on hope and progress.
    Im a season ticket holder of over 15+ yrs and have been to 14 stadiums in the NFL and the Bills stadium is more like a college atmosphere. Very fan friendly and the crowd is top notch.
    The seats are so close to the field and there isnt a bad place to sit in the whole stadium.

  41. Toronto has hard core fans, I know I live there. But with the struggles the Raps,Jays, and Leafs have had you think these fans wanna play more money to see a mediocre team? Hell no, no disrespect to the bills but if yall were a better team this series would be better.

  42. Eric Woods is spot on correct. This is a 100% joke. And 1000% cheat of season ticket holders and fans of the home team. Does the NFL reduce the price of tickets to season holders to offset for games played in Canada or London? No they don’t! I’m surprised that mayors and politicians who help owners get the sweetheart stadium deals aren’t up in arms with Goodell & the owners against this insidious practice.

  43. I agree with Eric Wood. eventually the novelty of the NFL going international will wear off. Maybe they should focus on filling the stadiums at home first (Jacksonville, San Diego, Oakland, etc.) before branching overseas.

  44. bills are terrible no matter who they play where they play and how they play.. there like the browns and skins (b4 RG3..and possibly after who knows) they will always be terrible year in and year out

  45. Goddell needs to change the game for games overseas to attract the local fans. For example, games in Canada will allow a 12th man on the field whose sole role will be to fight the other team’s 12th man. Halftime shows will consist of clubbing a seal mascot and making fun of the Quebecois.

    In London, players will be able to roll around in “agony” upon big hits, grabbing their faces when they got hit in the leg or elsewhere in the body. They’ll be taken off the field on stretchers only to hop off the stretcher upon reaching the sidelines with a miraculous recovery. Tebow will appreciate that.

  46. Lets Be honest .the Bills need Toronto more then Toronto needs the Bills. It is a world class city with a Major League Baseball team,NBA team,NHL team plus a MLS and CFL teams. One Bills game a year is no more significant to the city then an exhibition game.

  47. Every NFL team should have to play one away game at a neutral site. That would be 16 games each year. In fact, I would make it those games where they are from different conferences, so that the divisional races were less impacted. If it didn’t work out and was not profitable, make it so the NFL had an opt out clause after three years. One or two games a week would be played at the neutral sites and the home fans would not be impacted by losing a home game that they would otherwise attend.

    Overall, USA would lose those games which doesn’t thrill me, but if the ultimate result is more revenue from merchandize and TV sales then perhaps the overall benefit for the league and players is worth moving in this direction.

    Just a suggestion….

  48. If the game was played in Orchard Park, the Seahawks would have contended with 65,000 screaming fans, quite a bit of rain and, I think, a more competitve opponent.


    More like 45,000 ‘fans’, 30,000 of them drunk, and the same old Bills that come up small most of the time.

    Maybe they don’t hang 50 on them, but Fitz would be good for another pick or two with a wet ball. It would even out – Seahawks still blow them out. At least Spiller is not too tired after the game.

  49. Lets Be honest .the Bills need Toronto more then Toronto needs the Bills. It is a world class city with a Major League Baseball team,NBA team,NHL team plus a MLS and CFL teams. One Bills game a year is no more significant to the city then an exhibition game.
    A world class city that doesn’t support any of the teams you mentioned except the Maple Laughs and they suck even worse than the Bills. Toronto is a joke of a sports city. Nobody attends the Raptors or the Blue Jays games.

  50. At least the buffalo fans appreciate each and every home game. Seems wasted on Toronto fans at the moment.

  51. I am from Toronto and was at the game. Wood is right about the atmosphere. The fans there were either fans of the Seahawks, Bills or just impartial casual NFL fans. You see Jersey’s from all 32 teams when you are walking around. There aren’t enough true Bills fans to make any noise on defense and the fans that go aren’t educated on what to do at an NFL game. That said… I am a Patriots fan and have been since the Grogie days. I still cheered for the Bills at that game (I have a soft spot for lovable losers), but not as loud as I do in Foxboro. It was fun to go, but it is massive advantage to the visiting team. The key to fixing it is the Bills need to be actually good. Then real Bills fans would go to that game or they wouldn’t need it at all.

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