by Dr. C, Chicago Bull
The failures of American sports franchises in Canada has been well documented as of late. R.I.P. Expos and Grizzlies (thank god, those jerseys were awful). However, there is one Canadian city that has embraced the major sports: Toronto. With the Blue Jays celebrating
40 30 years in the MLB in 07' and the Raptors winning their first Atlantic Division title this past year, the capital of Ontario has continued to thrive where others have perished.
Since taking over the commissioner reins, one of Roger Goodell's main attention points for the future of the league is the globalization of the NFL, including a team franchise outside of the states. Well, today across the wire came some news that fully supports his vision. The Bills are now seeking approvals from the county and state to play a regular season game in Toronto as earlier as next year. What does this mean? Most likely, when Ralph Wilson departs, so too will this 47 year-old franchise.
However, while Buffalo is most likely weeping at this proposition, Toronto would be a perfect spot for a NFL team, and here's some reasons why:
1. Population: Buffalo - 292,648 per 2000 census. Toronto: 2.48 million, with over 5 million in the metropolis according to the city's website. The sheer numbers alone would make any NFL owner's mouth water with the potential of revenue, not to mention the country's only NFL team.
2. Current Sports Vibe: As mentioned, Toronto already has baseball and basketball, and while the Toronto Argonauts are surely a draw, the NFL would make their attendence numbers in comparison look like Ricky Williams' pot field after 420...ravaged.
3. Business: Toronto is home to the top six of Canada's major insurance companies and five of their banks, not to mention a 2006 report stating Business costs in Toronto are 6.5% less then any U.S. city. By this point, every owner has now phoned every stadium contractor they can find lycos.ca
4. Fanbase: While most of Buffalo would curse the Bills much like Browns fans did Art Modell, unless the name of the team were changed, I'm sure there would be at least a few people who still hold onto memories of Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas. Then add on an entire country full of fans just like when the Blue Jays won back to back titles in 92' and 93'.
5. History: The first football game played in Toronto dates back to 1861 at the University of Toronto. The first official football team (Hamilton Foot Ball Club) was formed in 1869. On this day in 1873 marked the first ever meeting between the Toronto Argonauts and the Hamilton Tigers, two of the oldest Canadian football teams around. The CFL was created in 1958 after other independent leagues crumbled, consolidating the talent.
All of these reasons along with popularity of the NFL clearly show that a team was bound to be moved internationally sooner or later. And while Roger Goodell would not prefer the later, it seems to me that Buffalo fans should truly enjoy their franchise while they can. Because pretty soon Oh, Canada will leave upstate New Yorkers saying Oh, F*ck off!
by Dr. C, Chicago Bull