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Jerry Jones sounds more concerned with 'growing of the pie' than keeping Bills in WNY

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ATLANTA -- One of the NFL's most influential voices offered some ominous words about the Buffalo Bills' future in Western New York.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones declined to comment about the Bills and their looming sale today at a league meeting. But he did note it's important for the NFL to take advantage of any options to increase revenues.

While that could include a new stadium, Jones suggested that also could include the Bills moving to a larger market such as Toronto.

"Out of respect for Ralph Wilson, out of respect for everything he's meant for the NFL -- a Hall of Famer, but in my mind one of the founders of the NFL -- I don't want to get ahead of things at all in commenting about the future of the Bills," Jones said this afternoon.

Jones added, "We always ought to be looking for ways to improve not only the growing the pie but also growing the fan base. And to the extent that you can involve more fans in any team location is something to be considered."

Jones and the NFL's other owners are gathering at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead in Atlanta for their annual May meeting. They will select the 2018 Super Bowl site and discuss other issues such as playoff expansion.

The Bills are not on the agenda, but their future will be a hot off-the-record topic. Wilson died at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., when the owners convened for their annual March meeting in Orlando, Fla.

With time to reflect on Wilson's passing, the Bills' sale process that has begun and stadium possibilities being bandied about, the other 31 teams and the league office are analyzing every development.

"We certainly want to create every opportunity we can to involve more fans," Jones said. "At the end of the day, it's my town against your town, Cowboys against whoever we're playing.

"To the end that we can create more rivalries and involve larger viewing audiences, populations, that's something that you have to look at when you get a chance to, and that's the debate between Buffalo and Toronto."

Much of what Jones has to say on the Bills' future could be gamesmanship. NFL owners want government handouts for new stadiums. Without pressure, the public's appetite for giving away money isn't as great.

"I know firsthand how impactful a new stadium can be," Jones said, "a state-of-the-art stadium, one that  can and tries to create as many amenities and fan experiences as you can with technology in 2014 as opposed to when some of these other stadiums were built.

"Every team needs to look at how they can continually be as fan-friendly as they can. I can tell you first-hand a new stadium is a step in the right direction."

Ralph Wilson Stadium, opened in 1973, is one of the NFL's oldest venues. The Ralph is undergoing $130 million in renovations as part of an Erie County lease agreement that can end in 2020.

Jones sounded particularly intrigued with Toronto and one of the rumored suitors with ties to the Canadian metropolis.

Rock star Jon Bon Jovi is interested in becoming an NFL owner and has been associated with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment executives Larry Tanenbaum and Tim Leiweke.

"I don't know of anyone that I have more respect for as a father or as a husband or, certainly, as a potential business partner," Jones said.

"He's an outstanding candidate to be an owner in the NFL."

  • James Bizzo

    Jones is an absolute scumbag who would sell his son to make an extra buck.

  • Jeff Adler

    This anti-Buffalo feeling among Dallas ownership has existed for a long time. Tex Schramm offered to pay the Bills moving expenses out of Buffalo after the Cowboys played in the Old Rockpile in the 70s,

    It is agreed that Jones is an unctuous, snake-oil salesman at best and a living used condom at worst! Luckily he has no juice with any of the other NFL owners.

    Let the NFL try to move the Bills out of the US into Canada leave NY State without a team (both NYC teams play and have their offices in New Jersey) . That would be the day that both NY US Senators would begin hearings on lifting the NFL's anti-trust exemption. Any attempted move would be tied up in litigation for years, not to mention the unbreakable lease the Bills have with Erie County. Good luck Jerry, go peddle your smarmy Texas BS somewhere else!

    His pious statements about Mr. Wilson are so transparently false that it is laughable. Jones is a joke!

  • buffjack

    JERRY JONES IS A GOOD BUSINESSMAN. HE'S ALSO THE WORST GENERAL MANAGER IN NFL HISTORY!!!!!!

  • Jeremy Bentham

    "But he did note it's important for the NFL to take advantage of any options to increase revenues."

    According to its 501(c)(6) status it can't raise revenue to benefit its shareholders or individuals involved with the league.

    "Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the
    exemption of business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards,
    boards of trade and professional football leagues, which are not
    organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to
    the benefit of any private shareholder or individual."

    Interesting that the NFL is not for profit but the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer, etc. are for profit.

    • jwdundee

      The nfl isn't making the profits. The individual teams/owners are.

  • LT

    Jerry - worry about your Cowboys and not our Bills as your Cowboys need way more than you can offer them. Please go away.

  • Debbie Rose-Carlisle Simpson

    Jerry Jones is a scumbag!!!!!!

    • Please, Say it ain’t so!

      Why?? Because you disagree with him??

  • Ron Warren

    Frankly, I was waiting for something like this to happen. Jones along with a few of the other large market owners were the last holdouts when it came to providing revenue sharing to the small market teams like Buffalo, so make no mistake about it if there is any chance at all that he could eliminate paying out this money he would, so, in all honestly, regardless of what people think, I wouldn't underestimate him or the other large market teams from whose profits this money is generated. Stay tuned.

  • Dave

    One of the NFL s most influential voices? Why? because hes the loudest? Most obnoxious and overbearing? What the heck does he know. He's running his own team into the ground

  • Please, Say it ain’t so!

    We can only hope that Jones has enough pull within the league to get the Bills out of Buffalo. He is a wise businessman and if he can help get the Bills moved, we should back him. Buffalo / WNY can't afford this any more!! It's time to move on.

    • Molson Cree

      Yawn... have heard your opinions far too often. Why not do the rest of us a favor, seeing as how we already know your thoughts... give it a rest. We'd really appreciate it.

    • Greg

      Its always amusing when someone likes their own comment

  • bugmenot2013

    One vote out of 32. Probably the most disrespected among the other owners (well, perhaps Snyder). Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  • bugmenot2013

    One vote out of 32. Probably the most disrespected among the other owners (well, perhaps Snyder). Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  • Jeff

    I don't see this as gamesmanship in pressuring local politicians to pony up hundreds of millions to build a stadium with taxpayer money. Rather, if I were the trustee of the money, I would say see ya later. Why would any community spend so much bling when the most influential NFL owner has signaled his desire to "grow the pie" and move the team? Spend the money on some roads, parks, schools, police and fire. Buffalo will be better off for it.

  • mike

    Jerry is all about the $$$$...You pay $ 50 to park....$ 50 to stand in the concourse area...and the food and drinks...BIG $$$$...just about everyone in Dallas wants him to go away....

    • mike

      no Jerry didn't win three superbowls...Jerry took over as GM , coach and scout and look at the record of the Cowboys....won one playoff game since 1996..Jerry is all about the $$$$$

  • Jan Reimers

    What is really funny - besides a gas bag like Jones talking out of both sides of his mouth - is that there is no guarantee that Toronto would really add to his bottom line. I see a city with fans that care little about NFL football, and with many other ways to spend their money.

    Toronto reminds me of another large city that has failed more than once as an NFL city - Los Angeles, home of the self-absorbed, beautiful people that could care less about football.

  • joe

    i thought that ticket sales in toronto were disappointing. if so, does jerry think it will change if the team becomes canadian?

  • I’ll Be Mr. Purple

    Say what you want and feel how you feel about Jerry Jones. The bottom line is that he accentuated the point: we need a new stadium, and we need a new stadium that will be what the NFL wants in a stadium. Unfortunately, we're still going to be hiring consultants and pitching Batavia, Wheatfield, Akron, Chili and Horseheads as possible stadium locations when the Bills are getting on a plane for greener pastures. The stadium has to be downtown or on the waterfront, near everything else that's going on. It has to be a money-maker for the league and the team. Let's stop with these illusions that Buffalo's normal way of doing business is going to keep the team here. If we want to be an NFL city going forward, we need to be thinking like an NFL city.

  • Alan Leao

    As a nation we should vote to give Texas back to Mexico and therefore we would not need to put up with a blow hard like Jerry Jones and his extortionist rants. Then he could use his stadium that was funded with taxpayer to the tune of $325 million and have soccer games played there since American football is not too popular in Mexico. Pro Sports is unbelievable, they don't play by how much revenues they take in versus their expenses. They threaten to pull teams out of areas if the taxpayers do not pony up money to enable them to live beyond their means. Sounds like socialism to me but I can guarantee you Senor Jeraldo Jones never found a Republican he would not support.

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Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.