When Russ Brandon addressed the state of the Bills-Jets game, shortly following the announcement that the game will not be played at Ralph Wilson due to the snowstorm that rages on, his central message was clear.
Right now, the most important thing is the safety and wellbeing of the Western New York community.
“Obviously our thoughts, our prayers, our concerns are with our community, first and foremost, and that’s the most important area that we’re focused on,” said Brandon. “I feel somewhat disingenuous that we’re on here talking about a football game with everything that’s happening in our community. I want to thank all the public servants that are assisting in the process.”
Brandon said he’s been in constant communication with the NFL, and that there was no realistic option to play the game in Buffalo considering the current state of Orchard Park and the surrounding area, keeping in mind the amount of preparation and all the elements that go into hosting an NFL game.
With regards to the call made for shovelers to dig out Ralph Wilson Stadium, Brandon said it would only have come into play if and when the travel ban is lifted and if there was potential to play in Orchard Park.
“That is not a priority right now,” he said. “The number one priority is our neighbors and our community and our region. Once we are able to get our collective feet on the ground as a community, we’ll focus on the stadium and what that potential may be.”
As for the following home game, scheduled for November 30 at Ralph Wilson Stadium against the Cleveland Browns, Brandon said much needs to be assessed in the coming week.
But with the urgent focus on this weekend’s game and with much still up in the air to be decided in a short time frame, Brandon was optimistic about the path not only for the Bills but for the entire community in the wake of the storm that continues to paralyze the region.
“It’s going to be a long cleanup as we all know, but no one rallies like Buffalonians,” he said. “We all know that people here need to focus on the task at hand and that’s more important, but hopefully we can give our fans three hours of a break on television to watch us and enjoy some Bills football.”
Fans with tickets for the Bills-Jets game originally scheduled in Orchard Park may be eligible for credit or a refund and should click here for more details.