Yawn, Bills get Seahawks in Toronto
By John Kryk, QMI Agency
|A general view of the Rogers Centre during the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins NFL football game in Toronto. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files)
There are no tears in Western New York today.
Buffalo's foe for the fifth game in the Bills in Toronto Series is the Seattle Seahawks, the NFL announced Tuesday night.
The game will be played Sunday, Dec. 16 at 4:05 p.m. EST at the Rogers Centre.
Rumour has it the collective exhale of relief emanating from Buffalo swayed the CN Tower.
The previous four Bills in Toronto Series games featured the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins -- two AFC East division rivals, and two marquee franchises.
Buffalo lost the first three before skunking the 'Skins last year, 23-0.
To be fair, the choices for the Toronto game this year contained less buzz than a North Pole beehive.
Buffalo's eight home games in 2012 -- determined long ago -- features only two clubs with a winning record in 2011: Tennessee and New England.
Bills fans in Western New York would storm the club's Orchard Park headquarters if the team ever moved a home game against the Pats to Toronto.
That left the Titans, Seahawks, Jaguars, Chiefs, Rams, Dolphins and Jets to choose from. The Bills, presumably, chose Seattle.
The December placement is interesting. And perhaps intriguing.
There was criticism the past two years when the Bills in Toronto games were held before the end of the Canadian Football League season -- last year on the last Sunday in October.
There will be more Christmas shoppers upset this year than CFL fans, as the game is on the second last Sunday before Christmas.
If the Bills find themselves out of the playoff hunt by then, you'll be able to hear fans' toes cracking at the Rogers Centre that day.
Conversely, if the Bills remain in the thick of the fight, you've got to think there'll be a convoy coming up from Buffalo that day.
One thing we can be sure of: Unlike when the Dolphins, Jets and Bears played in Toronto, Seahawks fans won't outnumber or outcheer the Buffalo fans on Dec. 16.
"Having the opportunity to host the Seattle Seahawks, a fellow Canadian border NFL franchise, will be great for the Bills and NFL fans in Toronto," Bills CEO Russ Brandon said in a statement. "We look forward to building on last year's successful experience in Toronto and anticipate another energetic and supportive crowd at Rogers Centre in December."
As for the remainder of Buffalo's schedule, the team opens and closes the season against the Jets; the away game is first.
And the Bills were passed over yet again for a Monday night game. Their only primetime tilt is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15 against the Dolphins at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Will the Bills in Toronto series continue?
Buffalo's game on Dec. 16 against Seattle is the final regular-season contest in the five-year, $78-million deal inked in 2008.
Keith Pelley, president of Rogers Media, on Tuesday night told QMI Agency in a statement that discussions with the Bills to extend the series are ongoing.
"While I am cautiously optimistic, we have nothing to announce at this time," Pelley said. "We are focusing our efforts on this year's game and look forward to the Bills returning to Rogers Centre this season."
In February, Bills CEO Russ Brandon told the Associated Press that the club wanted the series to continue.