Buffalo Bills legend Jim Kelly is in quite the conundrum on the path to being an NFL owner. He wants to have a piece of his former team, but he won’t be able to do it alone; his best chance is to become a part owner. Although talks between the Hall of Fame quarterback and Jon Bon Jovi have commenced, a partnership seems to be off to a rocky start as Kelly expressed worry that the musician will try to move the team.
Investor Jeffrey Gundlach, who has already been named as a partner on Kelly’s team, confirmed yesterday that the two sides have opened up conversations about buying the Bills together, but that was merely it. Kelly, who helped see the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls, spent all 10 of his NFL seasons in Buffalo and remains an icon of the team even though he hasn’t played since 1996. If it were up to him, no matter who was the owner, the Bills would stay put in Buffalo forever.
Bon Jovi is aligned with a group from Toronto with ties to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL and the NBA’s Raptors. Although the possibility of having the Toronto Bills were speculated as soon as the bid was made, Bon Jovi and representatives stated last month that the Bills would stay in Buffalo. With that kind of reassurance, what is Kelly so concerned about?
Although Buffalo has not seen a winning season since 2004 and has not seen their team in the playoffs since 1999, Bills fans remain ever dedicated. Even though Bon Jovi and his group have eased things over with their statement, Kelly and Bills fans alike may not see them keeping to their word in the long run. The team is under their current lease until 2019, so they will remain at Ralph Wilson Stadium until this contract runs out. That said, a lot could happen in the next five years. This year could be the 15th consecutive season where the Bills make the playoffs, creating a ripple effect in revenue and ticket sales. Over 46,000 season tickets have been sold so far for the upcoming season, the most since 2009, so there’s a glimmer of hope for Bills’ fans to keep their team in Buffalo.
Bon Jovi made clear in an open letter that he hoped would settle the nerves of skeptical Bills fans that he’s committed to the team; but it was written more like one of his cheesy songs, perhaps leading fans that they were “Livin’ on a Prayer” to keep their team in Buffalo. Is it because the singer is in cahoots with Robert Kraft, owner of the division rival New England Patriots, that the fans don’t trust him?