At 5:15, Thad and I got wind that T.O. was actually in Buffalo for a visit. It suddenly became real. What if the Bills signed the biggest circus in the NFL? Yesterday was an extremely busy day in itself. I was at Blue Cross Arena all day reporting on 6 different HS Boys Basketball Section Title Games. By 5:45, I was back at BCA. I called Thad to see if he had heard anything new and he said, “It’s a done deal.” I couldn’t believe it. It happened so fast. Terrell Owens - one of the most polarizing players in NFL history - was coming to a Franchise known for being conservative. In a couple of hours, the Bills went from being an AFC after-thought to a daily story on ESPN.
Our already busy day immediately changed. John (who came in on his day off), Thad, and I quickly switched gears throwing it into full “T.O.” mode. It was a thing of beauty. The Sports Team opened Saturday’s shows (both Fox First at 10 and News 8 at 11) with 8 straight minutes of Terrell Owens (before News or Weather). We aired T.O’s touchdowns, his antics, and his Press Conference with the Bills where he said, “I’m leaving America’s team to come to North America’s team” (the guy certainly knows how to charm). Then, I did a story about the fan’s reaction. Since I had been at the Basketball Games, I went around and interviewed different NFL fans to see what they thought. Almost everyone was really excited about the move. And, that’s exactly why the Bills signed T.O. Buffalo hasn’t made the Playoffs since 1999. They kept Head Coach, Dick Jauron, despite 3 straight 7-9 seasons, including a 2-8 collapse down the stretch last year. And - oh yeah - they’re playing home games in Toronto.
This last decade has been one kick to the face. Buffalo fans are passionate, but they’ve been put through a lot and interest in the Bills was starting to slowly dwindle. With T.O. the Bills are back on the national radar and the fans are energized. Want evidence? When it was announced at the Basketball Games that the Bills had signed T.O. the Arena went nuts. Pittsford Sutherland Students started chanting his name, “Terrell Owens... clap, clap, clap-clap-clap.” Yes, T.O. is a distraction. He might cause some headaches, especially if the Bills get off to a bad start. But, T.O. signed a 1 year contract. He’s usually on his best behavior during that first year. Plus, at 35, he’s playing for 1 last big pay day. If he screws up in Buffalo, that won’t happen anywhere else. What Just Happened? I can’t wait! Get your popcorn ready!