Rocker Jon Bon Jovi has indeed joined a Toronto-based group that hopes to buy the Buffalo Bills. And Bon Jovi and company indeed are claiming that they intend to keep the team in Buffalo.
Via the Associated Press, Bon Jovi’s group has retained a banking firm and submitted paperwork expressing interest in buying the franchise from the estate of Ralph Wilson. Via John Kryk of the Toronto Sun, Bon Jovi’s group has told others, and will inform the trust that will sell the team, that the Bills won’t leave Buffalo.
The first hint that Bon Jovi’s intentions had changed came when his former partner in the AFL’s Philadelphia Soul, Ron Jaworski, told Buffalo radio that Bon Jovi never intended and doesn’t intend to move the team.
It remains to be seen whether they mean it. There’s a chance they mean it for now, and that they’ll mean it for as long as it takes to buy the franchise. Then, after the 2019 season (when a window opens to buy out the rest of the lease) or after the 2022 season (when the lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium expires), they can have an unexpected change of heart.
That’s why it’s important for Bon Jovi to align with key former members of the team and to sell to them that he’s telling the truth, hopeful that they in turn will send that message to the fan base. There’s a special connection between the all-time great Bills players and the fan base, and the fan base will be far more likely to believe the likes of Thurman Thomas than a guy who clearly wants to own the team not because it’s in Buffalo but because it’s in the NFL.