Toronto fans confused to see Buffalo and Pittsburgh play football, not hockey
TORONTO, CA — Canada received its first taste of American football last week, but there is a lot of evidence suggesting they didn’t fully understand what was happening.
Fans exiting the Rogers Center following the Buffalo Bills‘ 24-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers seemed confused about what they had just witnessed. The Toronto night was filled with uncertainty and, in some cases, shock. With the hockey preseason only a month away, eager fans had streamed into the stadium expecting nothing less than cold steel on ice.
“I was waiting for them to drop the puck the whole night,? said Toronto native and lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan Darcy Adams, swigging a beer while chewing on some Canadian bacon. “When the game was over, we were all a little perplexed. After all, why would teams from the American Football Conference play in Canada, eh? Sure, it said the Buffalo Bills were playing on my ticket, but I just figured that this football stuff was some sort of elaborate pre-game show for a hockey game.?
Part of the confusion stems from the fact that both Buffalo and Pittsburgh are home to prominent ice hockey teams. It was only after the game had concluded that fans began to realize what had happened.
“I was very excited for this game,? said Lesley Williams, who traveled from Manitoba just to see what she thought was the first game of the new hockey season. “The Pittsburgh Penguins have Sidney Crosby, probably the most entertaining player in hockey right now, and the Buffalo Sabres are no slouches either. But then I didn’t see Crosby all game. Nobody was slashing each other; they didn’t even have hockey sticks!
“I suppose that they were hitting each other, but it just wasn’t the same without weapons. I was just shaking my head wondering how this could have happened. They totally got hockey wrong.?
The game was essentially an experiment conducted by the National Football League to see whether there is a market for American football in Canada. Rogers Communications has paid out a massive contract to the Buffalo Bills to see the team play several more times in the Rogers Center, though that arrangement may now be in jeopardy.
“The crowd just didn’t seem into it,? said Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards. “There were no chants for our defense. Some guy was yelling at the ref to call a penalty for hooking, though.?
Event organizers are left with the Herculean task of preventing a repeat. Sources within the Bills organization told SSNN that tickets will be labeled more clearly, the stadium will be decorated with larger, more colorful posters of football players in action and the marketing campaign tagline has been changed to – “Watch Buffalo and Pittsburgh in Toronto… Not a Hockey Game.?[url=http://www.serioussportsnewsnetwork.com/2008/08/toronto-fans-confused-to-see-buffalo-and-pittsburgh-play-football-not-hockey.html]www.serioussportsnewsnetwork.com/2008/0 ... ockey.html[/url]
Hey, now it all makes sense why at last years Grey Cup, the wife and me overheard a young girl in a restaurant say, as we we wearing our TiCat jerseys, "look at them, I think they are in a football uniform", sort of like we were aliens from another planet. 8)