What I Want In A New Stadium by Sports Humorist Jeff Wozer
I harbor a weird habit of converting names into imagined acronyms.
I’m convinced Buffalo, for instance, is an acronym for Boozed Up Football Fans Are Losing Optimism.
And that Erie stands for Every Road Is Eroding.
And, as of last week, that the NFL stands for Narcissistic Financial Lunatics in direct reference to the owners unrelenting demands for a new stadium in Buffalo.
To Terry Pegula’s credit (Terry, by the way, was, until last December, an acronym for Totally Enjoys Rex Ryan’s Yammering) he rebuffed the other 31 owners last week when, during a rare media appearance, denied any immediate thoughts to replacing New Era Field.
True or not, I don’t blame him. Even if I owned a bank account as dollar-fat as Pegula’s, I too would take my time.
Especially considering that he’s essentially being pressed to spend one billion dollars on a structure that’s in guaranteed use for 10 days a year, possibly 12 with playoffs, for the sole purpose of seating people, most of whom are bloated on brisket and beer, around a fake grass field for three hours.
But to ignore means enduring the wrath of the other 31 NFL owners.
A difficult situation indeed. But one that eventually needs to be addressed. When building time does arrive let’s hope the Pegula’s weigh the following stadium suggestions:
New Buffalo Bills Stadium Requirements
- A winning team. Nothing more. Otherwise a fancy stadium with a lousy team is no different than using a silver plate with a silver cover to serve limburger cheese.
- Protect the tailgate experience. (Notwithstanding, of course, that drunken rube from last year who acted like the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch in hour six of an all-day whiskey bender by falling onto a burning table and accidentally setting himself on fire). Good or bad, depending on perspective, tailgating is the fan base’s identity. Similar, in a positive way, to the rowdy but endearing identity enjoyed by the 16th hole at the PGA’s Phoenix Open.
- Vibrating seats. No particular reason actually other than, well, why not.
- Drunk tanks that douse fans with Gatorade showers. Yes they still get police-escorted out of the stadium but at least feeling like winners.
- Cater to the fans not the suits. New Yankee Stadium made this mistake. Consequently the seats behind home plate exude all of the withering staleness of an Atlantic City Keno lounge. What prompts fans to dress as Elvis or wear chef hats can’t be understood or, for that matter, explained. But weirdness equates energy. You want these human Red Bulls close to the field, near the action, in the ear holes of the opposition.
- Offer a stadium bathroom app featuring approximate bathroom stall weight times.
- A domed stadium with a retractable roof that automatically opens when the temperature dips below 32 degree so as to give guys without shirts the reassuring hope that they might appear on TV.
- Free fourth-quarter access to leftover food in the suites.
- Build the stadium in the Cobblestone District for the sheer fun of watching drunks walking on cobblestones.
- Instead of investing millions in a scoreboard big enough for statehood for the lone purpose of increasing the fan experience, dangle from an upper deck that 89-foot tall rubber duck that appeared at Canalside last summer. That thing attracted thousands.
- A Home Depot booth for advising fans on which fences best work for those D-Fence signs. Free crowd-funding assistance from aisle attendants on how to pay a drunken friend’s bail.
- Open the new stadium with a coach longer than of two years. Hopefully McDermott. Who, by the way is an acronym, for Mister Clean’s Double Expects Real Magic Overhauling Terry’s Team.
- Let’s get a conversation going. Have some fun. Please share any of your own stadium suggestions or acronyms.