By a vote of 31-1, the National Football League officially waved goodbye to the Oakland Raiders, and paved the way for a move to Las Vegas upon the completion of a new, state-of-the-art facility to compete with the rest of the upper-echelon stadiums. Once the Raiders finally leave Oakland -- which is scheduled to occur in 2020 -- that will leave the Buffalo Bills with the fourth-oldest stadium in the NFL.
Only Solider Field in Chicago, Lambeau Field in Green Bay, and Arrowhead Stadium will be older facilities than New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. All three of those older stadiums, though, have had significant renovations that have helped them stay current in light of all the newer stadiums in the league.
With the move to Las Vegas for the Raiders being almost certainly centered around the lack of an option to build a new stadium in the Bay Area, that could be a cause for panic for some Bills fans.
Shortly after the announcement was made about the Raiders, NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman fielded some questions from the media at large, and Buffalo's situation came up. And his main agenda was this: they aren't trying to send shockwaves through the rest of the league due to this decision in favor of Las Vegas.
"This is not intended to send a message to any other team. Every community, every situation is different," Grubman said. "We work hard, and the teams work hard to produce as healthy a franchise, and as healthy a financial picture and as healthy a stadium picture as possible. Every stadium is different. So I don’t believe… this certainly isn’t intended to send any message, and I don’t believe anyone should take any message in it."
The Bills current lease with New Era Field is set to expire in 2023, which by way of simple subtraction, is only six years away. As time continues to tick away at the current lease, the new stadium talk will only get louder.
What challenges does Buffalo present? Grubman didn't get into that all that much but did say owners Terry and Kim Pegula are working toward a "long-term" solution.
"Buffalo’s fans are legendary and rank right up there with the greatest fans in the NFL. Ownership there is evaluating their options and those options are very long-term in nature," he said. "I don’t want to speak for them, but I think you can see by virtue of the fact that they’re not waiting and have done work on the stadium already that they care about their fans and they care about Buffalo."
According to multiple reports, the Bills were one of the 31 teams to vote in favor of the Raiders' eventual move to Las Vegas.