When the news broke that the Bills were going to have a press conference this past Monday, the majority of Twitter assumed that it would be for the announcement of Fred Jackson's contract extension....and they were right. There was also some chatter that it could be the announcement for Ralph Wilson Stadium improvement plans, which got me thinking...
What stadium improvements would I do?
There's already been speculation on what this edition of Extreme Stadium makeover will consist of...I guess they are going to widen/push out the gates to the stadium and then change the press box into a bunch of suites? Eh...Boring!!
The common man dismisses these improvements as nothing more than an attempt to appease the rich Cellino and Barnes crew of Buffalo, NY. I know a majority of Buffalo fans want the stadium experience to stay the same. They want to be able to eat chili out of a helmet or carve a hanging rack of lamb/boar from a tree. Shots out of bowling balls and bacon off the carburetor of Pinto Kenny's Pinto seems to by the meal of choice. All of that is fun and dandy, but really, don't you kind of get sick doing that every single Sunday?
OK..Don't answer that.
I want options. I love steak, but I can't have steak everyday because I'll get bored of it. That's kind of how I feel about tailgating. It is great 1-3 times a year for Bills games, but after awhile, I'd just rather be served food from a kitchen than Pinto Kenny's hood. This day and age in the NFL it is all about options when you goto a stadium. I know Ralph Wilson had the money quote about how stadiums are nowadays:
"Some of these places, to me, it's goofy. They have all these fancy restaurants inside. People come to the football game to see the game, not to have a delicious dinner. ... We want just enough money to stay competitive."
I'm sure a number of Buffalo fans felt the same way, but there are probably some who want to enjoy a fancy restaurant at their disposal during games or want to view some nostalgia that doesn't involve carrying a BBQ grill out of the Mystery Machine. I guess what I'm saying is give me some options for my game day experience that don't involve sitting on lawn chairs next to a trunk of a car.
Here are a few suggestions:
Death, taxes, sports and consumption of 10,000 calories daily. Yeah, that's about the best way to describe what every Buffalonian will go through in their life. WNY loves to eat and watch football. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that we were in like the top 15 for fattest people in the universe. OK, it was the country but you get the point. To this day, I don't get why the Sabres or Bills haven't tried teaming up to make some sort of goofy HOF restaurant. Just throw in a bunch of memorabilia with Hooter Girls and some deep fried pickles together. Boom! Man vs. Food will be there in two shakes of a strawberry milkshake. I say have a restaurant attached to Ralph Wilson Stadium and serve food before and after the game. Have a mini HOF in it where people can walk around and view Jim Kelly's jersey or try on Bruce Smith's shoe. My vision is WWE NY meets Jim Kelly's sports bar...without the drunken player rumors.
Standing room only
I remember being a kid and walking through the Orange section of The Aud to notice that there was a special VIP section surrounding the bowl. VIP standing for very inexpensive people or standing seats. I think Ralph Wilson stadium should have a section devoted to that and I'm down with copying what the Pats have with that bridge that goes across from the light tower to a concourse. We can make the bridge resemble something like The Peace Bridge. Hell, since we are going on year 20 of trying to build a new one, we may as well create a small miniature one. Also, I'm pretty much aware that some knucklehead in Zubaz would try to jump off the bridge and land on Patriot fans, but since we embrace stupidity during games, let's just push the envelope.
Besides a truckload of Booze and chicken wings being available for a modest sum, another reason why I think tailgating is popular at the Ralph has to do with the food inside the stadium. To put it mildly, the concession stands suck ass. Terrible. I think the St. Leo's cafeteria in Amherst had better government cheese pizza than what they have at the stadium. Anyways, I say build a food court area. Pretty much copy what they have at Citi Field. Hell, have my peace bridge connected to the concourse. Give me options! Sushi, Chicken fried Steak, Duff wings, La Nova Pizza and whatever else can go in my fat belly.
Get me another TV
"Nobody has two television sets in 1955." (Back to the Future) Screw you Grandma McFly! This ain't 1955 and everyone can have two television sets, including RWS. Place a jumbo tron at the opposite end zone. Those jumbo trons run about 10-million bucks and if these stadium improvements are in the neighborhood of 200-million, what the hell is another 10 million? Just hook it up.
Bills Monument Park
Pretty much just look at what the Yankees have and copy that. Nostalgia plays well with sports fans, especially in Buffalo. A small hall of fame like decor like they have at First Niagara would be something to look at, but I want bigger! Bronze statues or plaques displayed on a wall inside the stadium. Hell, you have the Wall of Fame and really, it looks as if a caveman decorated it.
Just blow the damn thing up
Alright, this will never happen, but what the hell. Let's build that downtown dream stadium. Yes, the one on the waterfront that we can all walk to after fishing on Lake Erie or enjoying a burger at Pearl Street. It would be awesome. I can already picture the aerial view of the stadium on Sundays from the Goodyear Blimp. It would be epic and it would even possibly lead to a Super Bowl. Alas, it won't happen. As I've written before, a new stadium would cost something like 700-800 million dollars and if that were to go down, the Bills would raise ticket prices to a whole new level in order to recoup the debt they would automatically get for building the stadium. They would also charge fans for PSLs which would probably range in the thousands easily. Not to mention, they would have so many new luxury suites that the team could be left out in the cold while trying to fill them up, especially with the prices they would charge (See: NY/Dallas prices). World peace would be an easier dream to accomplish than this.
- Cup Holders in the seats
- More bathrooms with TVs in them (Yes, drunks will so try and steal the flat screens)
- Marching Band
- Get a new sound system
- Locker room tours