SBD/Issue 152/Franchises

NFL Schedule: Bills' Toronto Game Coincides With CFL Finale

Rogers Centre Will Host Bears-Bills On Nov. 7,
Which Coincides With CFL Regular-Season Finale

Rogers Centre will host Bears-Bills on November 7, and while the game coincides with the final day of the CFL regular season and a Argonauts-Alouettes game, the CFL "isn't quaking in its boots," according to Christie & Naylor of the GLOBE & MAIL. The Bills "had previously played two regular games in Toronto in December, after the Grey Cup had been played," but Argonauts President & CEO Bob Nicholson said it was "always anticipated after the first year" that the NFL would want to schedule a Bills Toronto Series game during the CFL season. Blue Jays and Rogers Centre President & CEO Paul Beeston, who is overseeing the Bills Toronto Series for the first time, said that there were "two reasons he wanted to move the annual Toronto game to early November." He wanted the "chance to have the Rogers Centre roof open," and to "improve the chances that the game will be meaningful in the standings." Beeston added that he "doesn't believe the Bills playing in Toronto on an Argo road date is a bad thing for either club." Beeston: "You can watch the Bills at 1 p.m. and the Argos at 4 p.m. If the Argos had been playing at 1 p.m. then the Bills would have played at 4 p.m. We're trying to be considerate of them, as much as we'll take criticism for it." Nicholson said that he "does not view the NFL's selection of an earlier date as a challenge for the CFL" (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/21).

SUNDAY FUNDAY: Beeston said that he is "working with the Argos to promote the game as a special football Sunday." In Toronto, Chris Zelkovich notes Bears-Bills will be broadcast by CTV, which "has to be a bitter pill for Rogers." Rogers "owns the rights to the 4 p.m. games and its channels carried the first two Bills games" played in Toronto (TORONTO STAR, 4/21). Meanwhile, in Buffalo, Allen Wilson notes "according to media reports in Toronto, reception to the Bills playing games there has been lukewarm at best." If the Argonauts are "competing for a playoff spot, they could steal some of the Bills' thunder or the Bills could do likewise" (BUFFALO NEWS, 4/21).

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