After 43 years in the same stadium, are the Buffalo Bills looking at potentially building a new stadium?
The Bills have been playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium (originally Rich Stadium) since 1973. Until recently, the organization was in no rush to build a new stadium, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's recent remarks appear to have moved the Bills into considering the possibility.
Speaking on WGR-AM in Buffalo on Wednesday, Bills owner Terry Pegula said the NFL has made it understood that a new stadium plan probably should be part of the franchise's goals.
"I think they think we need a new stadium, that's where they're coming from, so you need to listen to that and you make your own judgment," Pegula said. "Our stadium is one of the older venues in the league.... We're not going to make any hasty decisions, but we're evaluating."
Goodell previously said that no timetable has been discussed and Pegula reiterated those sentiments.
"It wasn't a 'you build a stadium or you don't get the team' kind of thing. No, that was not the case," Pegula said.
Pegula also wouldn't speculate on if the Bills would want to build a new stadium in downtown Buffalo or keep the team in Orchard Park, New York.
"It's so early in our ownership that none of that's been heavily weighed -- preference here or there," he said. "I don't have a preference."
In 2014, taxpayers and the Bills invested $130 million in new renovations at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Stadium upgrades included larger concessions stands, a sports bar, better access into the stadium and wider concourses. The team's stadium lease with Erie County runs through 2022.
While it's unknown if Bills fans are clamoring for a new stadium, the organization and its fan base could find some inspiration from the Cleveland Cavaliers' NBA title victory. Pegula admitted that he stopped watching the series once the Golden State Warriors went up 3-1 in the series.
"I was up at my lake in the Adirondacks and the series was 3-1 going back West and I lost track of it since then because I just assumed that the team that had a 3-1 lead, had such a great season, was going to pull it off," Pegula explained. "I had to ask, I was talking to (Bills president) Russ Brandon last night, I said, 'By the way who won the NBA championship?' And he said Cleveland and I said, I don't believe it. And he explained it to me what happened and I said that's unbelievable and that's why our fans have to have faith. We're trying to pull in the same direction and crazy stuff can happen."
A dose of optimism for Bills Nation. But good luck finding a LeBron James-type player on Buffalo's roster.