Tonawanda News — ORCHARD PARK — Buffalo Bills President Russ Brandon expressed concern over whether his team loses a competitive edge by playing annual home games in Toronto.
During his weekly show on Buffalo’s WGR-AM on Wednesday, Brandon said while the “Bills In Toronto” series helps boost the team’s revenue, it hasn’t paid off in wins. The Bills are 1-5 in Toronto.
“Nothing comes above winning,” Brandon said. “When I took over the reins on Jan. 1, I said that was the number one focus, and that will be the number one focus. That’s one of the reasons that this will be reviewed in a grand manner.”
Brandon stopped short of saying whether the Bills would consider canceling the series or can opt out of the four remaining years of the deal renewed in January with Toronto-based communications giant Rogers Communications.
“I’m going to look at everything. I’ll just leave it at that,” Brandon said, before being asked a second time whether the Bills can opt out. “My focus in this organization is simple, to put ourselves in the position to win championships and sustain success. Period. Nothing comes above that.”
Brandon’s comments came after Buffalo’s 34-31 overtime loss Sunday to Atlanta in Toronto. By playing indoors at the domed Rogers Centre, the warm-weather Falcons avoid having to play in the wintry conditions — and traditionally more raucous environment — at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y.
The loss put a big dent in the Bills’ chances of realistically staying in the AFC playoff race. At 4-8, Buffalo closes its season playing three of its final four on the road, beginning with a trip to Tampa Bay (3-9) on Sunday.
Buffalo is in jeopardy of extending the NFL’s longest active postseason drought to 14 seasons. And the Bills will go a ninth straight year without a winning record.