The Buffalo Bills added a major drawing card for their series of games in Toronto by signing Terrell Owens. Now, the NFL could take a big step toward doing the same by lining up an attractive opponent for this year’s game.
Peyton Manning‘s Indianapolis Colts are the NFL’s leading choice to be the Bills’ opponent, according to a league source.
An announcement could come during the March 22-25 owners’ meetings in Dana Point, Calif.
The NFL, and especially Toronto promoters paying $74 million over five years for five Bills regular-season and three preseason games at Rogers Centre, were disappointed last year by sluggish ticket sales for a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and especially for a regular-season game against the Miami Dolphins.
The hope is that the addition of Owens, who appeared on a major Toronto sports radio show after his March 7 signing, will help change that. And the league believes a marquee player such as Manning will spark more interest among Toronto fans paying as much as $200-plus for a ticket.
Before and after the Dolphins’ 16-3 victory, many Bills fans complained about the retractable roof on the Rogers Centre being closed and taking away home-field advantage for the cold-weather game played on Dec. 7. Similar complaints are likely to be heard again if, as expected, the roof remains closed for a Bills-Colts game, which also is expected to be played in December so as to not conflict with the Canadian Football League season.
The Colts play their home games in Lucas Oil Stadium, which also has a retractable roof.
– Vic Carucci