The closest city to Buffalo on the Bills' home schedule, other than divisional opponents the Jets and Pats, is Charlotte (Carolina). Atlanta then follows with the other three teams hailing from west of the Mississippi. If the Carolina and Atlanta games are much after the first six games, the Bills can all but forget about substantial numbers of fans risking the trek to brave potential weather that people in those cities are allergic to that early in the season.
We know, we know, the Bills had the lowest average ticket price in the NFL this past season. What else needs to be mentioned along with that is that the club is also in a metro area with one of the most, perhaps the most, depressed economies of any team metro area in the NFL. As well, it is not improving either.
As a result, this ticket price hike for this upcoming season may actually work against the team pending the results of the offseason. I will make a bold prediction right now. Namely, if Drew "Humpty" Bledsoe is not released outright and/or JP Losman announced as the guaranteed starter, the Bills season ticket base for the 2005 season will shrink substantially. Make no mistake, any "open competition" between the two clearly favors Humpty for several reasons and the odds under any such scenario are clearly in favor of Humpty being the starter on opening day. The recent news of the ticket price increase may very well be the icing on the cake for many fans should there be any doubt that Humpty will not step onto the field in 2005.
Once again, the curious Bills fan base eagerly awaits the team's decisions regarding this.
Bills fans are as loyal as dogs are to their owners! In a good way that is. They also know football and take their football to heart. Flash, sizzle, glimmer, and hype have all run their course now. Many fans are growing impatient with Commander Tom's "petri dish" experimentation with a style of management snubbing everything from conventional wisdom to trends and patterns suggesting the opposite of what fans are told coupled with high-risk moves with the pending results seasons away from the time of their having been made.
Had the Bills finished the season 11-5 and not vs. a schedule littered with teams among the bottom third in the league with no apparent ability to beat any decent team on equal terms, then perhaps such a price hike would be "no big thing." At present however, it may end up being a slap in the face. Not exactly what fans need on a cold January day.
We will see as time will tell. Will the "emperor" come riding out following this free agency period donning his "new clothes" even more naked than he was last season? This act has become tantamount to a perennial strip tease act by the "emperor and his new clothes" now for four seasons with the coup de grace seemingly about to unfold.
Nevertheless, fans, and media, in taking the pill myself, need to be patient to see what the good Commander's whilings this offseason actually are. And patient we will be. However, the team should be on notice that it is playing with the proverbial fire regarding the hesitation on the disposition of Humpty now coupled with the gauntlet having been flung in the face of fans in the form of a price hike.
This news is yet one more thing upping the ante for this next season. Let's see what the offseason bears. At last check however, Humpty was still on the Bills' roster. This is not a good sign in conjunction with a price hike. As well, in a memo to the front office, please telegraph the fans ahead of time if this is the season that Commander Tom makes his "Lady Godiva" like ride to let us all down easy. The sight may be too much for avid fans to bear.