It has been a strenuous few weeks for Buffalo Bills fan group “Bills Fan Thunder” and it isn’t just Bon Jovi’s fault.
This week, Texas A&M University and “BFT” reached a settlement regarding the group’s use of a university trademark for ’12th Man.’
While the fan group initially used the phrase in their name, they no longer infringe and all domain names and social media accounts will revert to Texas A&M as part of the agreement.
“We appreciate the passion Bills Fan Thunder brings to their work to maintain an NFL franchise in Buffalo,” said Shane Hinckley, Interim VP of Marketing & Communications at Texas A&M University.
Bills Fan Thunder, a grassroots Buffalo Bills fan group created in June, inadvertently infringed the university’s long-held trademark of ‘12th Man’ – a phrase that embodies the fan enthusiasm that fuels Aggie sports.
“We’re really pleased with the way the university handled the dispute and we fully recognize Texas A&M is the owner of the ‘12th Man’ trademark,” said Charles “Chuckie” Sonntag, who co-founded the fan group. “We’ve already started operations under Bills Fan Thunder and will continue our fight to keep the Bills franchise in Buffalo.”
But an even bigger threat has loomed on the horizon for over two months. That threat’s name is Jon Bon Jovi.
Bon Jovi became a threat to keeping the Bills in Buffalo after the passing of owner Ralph Wilson made them vulnerable. He has partnered with and become the face of a group of businessmen based out of Toronto who own the Maple Leafs, the Raptors, and the Air Canada Centre.
The rumors of the Buffalo Bills moving across the border to Toronto has been building momentum for years, particularly after the Bills commenced the “Bills Toronto Series” and in 2008 and began playing games in the former Skydome, now Rogers Center, in Toronto.
Bon Jovi, with his affiliations, and the a fact that he stood on the Giants sideline during the Bills’ Super Bowl XXV loss, has given all these rumors and murmurs a face – a face to hate.
And what’s not to hate about this picture if you are a Bills fan:
Most fans in Buffalo suspect that the group is planning to move the team to Ontario and Bon Jovi has not publicly stated that he wouldn’t do that.
Which is where Bills Fan Thunder enters the picture. Refusing to stand idly by, BFT went on the offensive.
Based out of Orchard Park, New York, BFT began handing out “BON JOVI–FREE ZONE” posters to local businesses. The community joined in and protested Bon Jovi in a myriad of ways.
A radio station announced it would replace the 13 Bon Jovi songs in its rotation with a revised version of “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Local businesses banned Bon Jovi’s album Slippery When Wet.
But could all of this talk about Bon Jovi and Canada, could it just be a manufactured smokescreen for Donald Trump to emerge and look like the good guy?
Sure, we know the NFL wants to go international, and Roger Goodell made his thoughts known about an NFL franchise in London.
But what a lot of people don’t know about is the long-standing good relationship between the Canadian Football League and the NFL, including an exhibition game featuring the Bills vs. the Hamilton Tiger-Cats all the way back in 1961.
Getting an NFL franchise started in Toronto makes far less sense than starting one in Los Angeles.
Maybe the next owner of the Bills relocates the team to L.A. Whoops – another scenario where Buffalo loses the Bills.
For now, let’s all just agree to hate Bon Jovi.