Bills’ owner Terry Pegula calls out NFL’s head officiating chief

ORCHARD PARK — Bills owner Terry Pegula questioned the lack of consistency in NFL replay rulings and said the issue needs to be addressed after Buffalo receiver Kelvin Benjamin’s touchdown was overruled in a loss to New England last weekend.“I don’t know what’s going on, but we have to fix it,” Pegula said Tuesday, while appearing on Buffalo’s WGR-Radio. “I’m not saying this as the owner of the Bills. I’m saying it as a football fan. We can’t have stuff like this happening in our league.” Pointing fingers: Bills playoff chances have diminished, and they have themselves to blame Pat answer: The Patriots never need help from the officials to beat the Bills, but they got some Playoffs possible: Here is how the Buffalo Bills can still make the playoffs in Week 17 One of Pegula’s biggest concerns is whether the league has taken its review process too far in overturning officials’ calls on the field.“It just wasn’t consistent. Replay was developed by this league to correct obvious mistakes,” Pegula said. “If you’ve got to look at a play 30 times from five different angles and keep looking at it and looking at it and looking at it, you go with the call on the field. It’s what the league’s been doing ever since replay started.”Pegula then specifically mentioned NFL officiating chief Al Riveron in being among the only people who might disagree with him.“Obviously, they weren’t looking at the same television the rest of the country was looking at, were they?” he said.“You know what, you can probably find somebody in this country who disagrees with that. And I know one guy would be Al Riveron sitting in New York City.”The NFL declined to comment on what Pegula said.Benjamin was initially ruled to have had both feet down in the end zone in catching a 4-yard pass that would have put Continue Reading

Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula on NFL replay: ‘We have to fix it’

Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula publicly criticized the NFL's replay protocol in a radio interview Tuesday, two days after an apparent touchdown catch by Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was overturned.Pegula, who also owns the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, was asked about the play in an interview with WGR 550 AM in Buffalo."Replay was developed by this league to correct obvious mistakes," Pegula said on The Instigators, a show produced by Pegula Sports and Entertainment. "And if you've got to look at that play 30 times from five different angles, and keep looking at it and looking at it and looking at it, you go with the call on the field. That's what the league's been doing ever since replay started. And as a matter of fact, Dean Blandino, who was the head of replay last year, said last year that was a touchdown."I don't know what's going on, but we have to fix it. And I'm not saying that as the owner of the Bills. I'm saying that as a football fan. We can't have stuff like this happening in our league." More: Week 17 clinching scenarios: Three spots up for grabs More: Cardinals coach Bruce Arians: 'Nothing decided' on future with Arizona On the play in question, Benjamin maneuvers around New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore and appears to drag a second foot in bounds in the corner of the end zone. The play was ruled a touchdown on the field, then overturned after a video review.NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron explained on Twitter that Benjamin only had one foot on the ground while he had control of the ball. Pegula's response?"They obviously weren't looking at the same television the rest of the country was looking at, were they?" he said."Everybody I talked to — and they're not Bills fans and they're not necessarily anti-Patriots — they're all baffled by that call, which just wasn't consistent with what replay (should be)."Pegula is far from the only viewer Continue Reading

Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula fired Rex Ryan when coach asked about his future

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula has full confidence in general manager Doug Whaley’s ability to turn around his franchise, and outlined the reasons coach Rex Ryan was fired in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press. Pegula says he’s disappointed in having to change coaches after only two years, but says he had no other choice to fire Ryan after the Bills defense showed few signs of progress during the season. “None of us are happy with the season,” Pegula said during a 17-minute phone interview with The AP on Monday. Pegula spoke a day after the Bills (7-9) closed the season with a 30-10 loss at the New York Jets and extended the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 17 years. And he spoke shortly after Whaley held an end-of-season news conference in which the general manager said he had no idea Ryan’s job was in jeopardy and had no input into the coaching change. Pegula backed up Whaley’s comments in his first interview since Ryan was fired on Dec. 27 and replaced by Anthony Lynn, who took over as interim coach. Pegula said he made what he called “an executive decision” to fire Ryan during his weekly conference call with the coach and Whaley. As the call came to a close, Pegula said Ryan asked to speak to the owner privately. Pegula said Ryan then directly asked him about his future beyond this season. Pegula said he had no choice but to set things straight with Ryan. “I was asked a point-blank question and based on the discussions we’ve been having all year, I felt it was better to tell Rex that we were going in a different direction,” Pegula said. Ryan recommended Lynn to take over as interim coach for Buffalo’s final game. Though Pegula was going to wait to evaluate Ryan’s job after the season, he said he probably would’ve come to the same conclusion now as he did a week ago. Pegula based Continue Reading

Bills owner Terry Pegula on Richie Incognito signing: We’re convinced he’s ‘prepared to move forward’

The decision to sign the NFL’s most infamous bully went straight to the top of the Bills organization. The Bills announced Monday that they have officially signed Richie Incognito, the veteran guard who was in the middle of the Dolphins’ BullyGate scandal in 2013. But before they did, team owner Terry Pegula was among those to meet with the free agent offensive lineman. "I personally met with Richie, along with (GM) Doug Whaley, (head coach) Rex Ryan and Kim (Pegula) regarding an opportunity to earn a spot on the Buffalo Bills roster. Obviously, we all discussed Richie's past experience in the NCAA and NFL,” Terry Pegula said in a statement via the team. “We are convinced that Richie is prepared to move forward and has and will continue to take the necessary steps to improve himself as a person and a teammate. Following discussion with the rest of the coaching staff, we as an organization will provide him with the opportunity to do so." The guard signed a one-year, $2.25 million deal, according to ESPN. Incognito, 31, played eight games for the Dolphins in 2013 but was suspended for the remaining eight games of the season for his part in the scandal related to the bullying of former teammate Jonathan Martin. The guard was unable to find work in the league in 2014 despite visits with the Bucs and Broncos. A report from NFL investigator Ted Wells in February 2014 did find that Martin was indeed the recipient of a “pattern of harassment” that included racial slurs, homophobic language and “improper physical touching.” Incognito, along with teammates John Jerry and Mike Pouncey, were among those involved in the bullying. The signing makes a statement from Ryan’s introductory press conference look a little more interesting in retrospect. "We're not going to be pushed around," the former Jets coach said at the Jan. 15 press Continue Reading

Donald Trump taunts Bills owner Terry Pegula, NFL in Twitter rant

Leave it to Donald Trump to feel like a winner after losing out on the Buffalo Bills. The business mogul went full-on troll mode on Twitter Monday, claiming he was better off without buying the NFL franchise while also ripping new team owner Terry Pegula and the league for good measure. "The @nfl games are so boring now that actually, I’m glad I didn’t get the Bills. Boring games, too many flags, too soft!" Trump, one of three bidders for the team, said. Trump patted himself on the back for his low-ball offer for the Bills, who will now suffer the consequences of not having him as their owner. "Even though I refused to pay a ridiculous price for the Buffalo Bills, I would have produced a winner. Now that won’t happen." Then came an unprovoked barb at Pegula, the Sabres owner who submitted the winning $1.4 billion bid for the Bills. "The people of Buffalo should be happy Terry Pegula got the team but I hope he does better w/the Bills than he has w/the Sabres. Good luck!” While Trump comes off as a sore loser in these tweets, he had been saying as far back as July that owning the Bills wasn't something worth seeking at all costs. "I would say the chances are very, very unlikely, because I'm not going to do something totally stupid," he told Fox News before submitting his initial proposal over the summer. "I'm ... somebody that likes to buy for the right price.” Continue Reading

NFL committee approves Terry Pegula’s $1.4 billion bid to buy Buffalo Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula took a step closer to buying the Buffalo Bills after their NFL-record $1.4 billion purchase agreement was unanimously approved by the league’s finance committee Wednesday. NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman announced the result of the vote shortly after it was taken in New York. The approval clears the way for NFL owners to formally approve the sale at league meetings next month. The Pegulas will require three-quarters majority approval from the 32 owners, including the trust overseeing late Bills owner Ralph Wilson’s estate. Terry Pegula made a brief statement confirming the committee’s approval, but declined to go into detail. “As far as I can say, we’re not NFL owners until that vote is approved, and we’ll have no further comments,” he said. The finance committee’s approval comes a little over a week after Wilson’s estate reached a “definitive agreement” to sell the team to the Pegulas. The agreement was reached a day after the Pegulas were among at least three prospective ownership candidates — including a Toronto-based group led by rocker Jon Bon Jovi — submitted formal bids. The Bills were on the market after Wilson, the Hall of Fame team founder, died in March. The Pegulas have begun preparing themselves to become NFL owners. A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that the Pegulas have relinquished their involvement and are divesting their interest in Five Star Athlete Management, an Atlanta-based sports agency that represents NFL players. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Pegulas have not announced their plans publicly. Terry Pegula acquired the high-profile firm headed by Todd France in 2011. NFL rules prevent owners from being involved in firms that represent league players. Join the Continue Reading

Sabres owner Terry Pegula emerges as favorite to become next Buffalo Bills owner

Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula has emerged as the favorite to buy the Buffalo Bills, who were put on the market after Ralph Wilson died in March. According to a source quoted Thursday by the Buffalo News, the Bills are "Pegula's to lose," and the group that included rocker Jon Bon Jovi is "unfocused and disorganized." The same source said that the Bills will be in Western New York "for a very, very long time whether they get a new stadium or not." The Bills are expected to sell for at least $1 billion. They were valued by Forbes at $870 million. Pegula recently sold land for $1.75 billion and his net worth is reportedly $3.3 billion. Donald Trump reportedly has bid $1 billion. Bon Jovi's group has created ill will in Buffalo with rumors they eventually want to move the team to Toronto, which Bon Jovi attempted to quiet with a letter to Bills fans. Wilson was the only owner the Bills had after he was an original owner when the AFL began in 1960. He was 93 when he died. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Sabres owner Terry Pegula reaches agreement to buy Buffalo Bills

It looks like the Bills will be staying in Buffalo. Sabres owner Terry Pegula has reached an agreement to purchase the Bills, the team announced Tuesday. Forbes reported the sale price is over $1.2 billion while ESPN reported the price as being close to $1.4 billion. Assuming the sale to Pegula goes forward, it is a good sign for Bills fans in Western New York. Since Pegula already owns one team in the area, the belief is that he would most likely keep the team in its current city, which he furthered in a statement Tuesday. There had been plenty of speculation that some of the potential buyers of the team would want to move the club to Toronto or another city. “It is gratifying to reassure these great fans that two franchises (Bills and Sabres) so important to our region are both here to stay,” Pegula wrote in a statement via the team. The agreement with Pegula ends the unsuccessful reported bids to purchase the team by Donald Trump and a group that included Jon Bon Jovi. The Bills are on sale after its previous owner, Ralph Wilson, died on March 25. Wilson was the founder of the team, then in the AFL, in 1960, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2009. “Kim and I are humbled and honored that the Wilson family has chosen us to be the second owner of the Buffalo Bills,” Pegula said in the statement. “Pending the NFL approval process, being the next owner of the Buffalo Bills would be a great privilege for our family. Ralph Wilson left an indelible mark on our community and we will strive every day to honor his legacy.” Before becoming the owner of the franchise, Pegula will need the approval of three-quarters of the other 31 NFL owners. The Bills and Pegula will submit their agreement at the owners meeting on October 8 in New York. Pegula was considered to be the most likely candidate to purchase the team and he received support from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) during the Continue Reading

Terry Pegula: McDermott and Whaley get along; new stadium can wait

Terry Pegula has spoken.It happened late Tuesday in Phoenix where the NFL owners’ meetings are taking place, a venue where most NFL owners find time to speak with the media, though Pegula opted not to do that last year when the meetings were held in Boca Raton, Florida.Pegula did grant one-on-one interviews to The Associated Press and The Buffalo News in the past several months, but this was the first group session he has permitted since he answered questions at Rex Ryan’s grand coronation press conference in January 2015.Naturally, the first topic broached was the rumored friction that, according to a CBS Sports report, has already built up between general manager Doug Whaley and new head coach Sean McDermott. Pegula’s answer was predictably short and did not hint at any adversity.“We just spent (Tuesday) afternoon working together, the three of us,” Pegula said. “Those guys get along great. They've been making some key decisions and they work well together.”As an example, he referenced the work that went into bringing back quarterback Tyrod Taylor on a more team-friendly contract. “That was Doug and Sean working very diligently, digging up everything, directions we could go and what not and the decision was unanimous that we bring Tyrod back with the new contract and we're all happy with that,” Pegula said.Pegula then flatly denied reports that Whaley may be let go after the draft, and that McDermott has some candidates from his past in mind as potential replacements. “I don't know where that report came from; it's erroneous,” Pegula said.Since Whaley’s disastrous press conference the day after the regular season ended, which basically turned the Bills into a national laughingstock  for more than a few news cycles, he has been muted by the organization. He did not speak to reporters in Phoenix, he did not speak at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis earlier this month (most GMs speak Continue Reading

Tom Golisano, who rescued the Sabres in 2003, does it again with sale of franchise to Terry Pegula

Tom Golisano may have lost his three bids to become governor of New York from 1994-2002, but he will always have a place in the hearts of hockey fans in the western part of the state, regardless of their politics.When Golisano bought the Buffalo Sabres in 2003, the billionaire kept the team from folding or relocating, and in announcing the $189 million sale of the team to another billionaire, he did it again.Terry Pegula has described himself as a die-hard Sabres fan, and his wife is from nearby Rochester. The founder of the natural gas company East Resources Inc., sold last year to Shell for $4.7 billion, never indicated any plans to move the Sabres out of the city they have called home since they came into the league in 1970. But even if he wanted to, he won't be able to because staying in Buffalo is one of the key terms of the sale, which still must be approved by the NHL.The sale is good news for the city of Buffalo, the franchise and the league. Under Golisano, who bought the team out of bankruptcy, the Sabres have rebuilt their rabid fan base, and now have a season-ticket waiting list, where before they were struggling to draw fans to their downtown arena."It was dead," said Rangers goaltender Martin Biron, who was the Sabres' first-round draft choice in 1995, debuted with them as an 18-year-old that year and was with Buffalo until 2007. "For an organization that had had so much success, it was sad. Then they max out their season-ticket holders, they're playing in front of full crowds almost every night, the playoffs there were unbelievable. The fans just jumped on board with the players and the organization."That remains the case this season, even with the Sabres on track to miss the playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons.Buffalo ranks 11th in the NHL in attendance, drawing 18,320 fans per game. There is no reason that a team so successful in its own market should be a candidate for relocation, especially when it is playing in a 14-year-old Continue Reading