Dear Jon Bon Jovi: Recently, there has been a lot of speculation in the community surrounding the possible scenarios that might unfold should you choose to ride into Buffalo – on your steel horse, naturally – and purchase our beloved Buffalo Bills. Until now, I have not said anything publicly out of respect for the fact that, when it comes to sports, no one really cares what I think.
However, there has indeed been bountiful conjecture on the topic of your potential plans, so I think it’s important that I clarify my feelings on this oh-so-hot topic, as a Western New Yorker who wasn’t born here, but actually chose to live here.
As such a citizen, I was given the Bills as part of my “Welcome Basket,” whether I wanted them or not. As it turned out, after a short while, those being the Jim Kelly years, I wanted them.
So, apparently, do you.
Which raises some issues regarding your intentions. We, as guardians of the Bills, the proverbial prying parental units, have questions, naturally.
Will you have them home at a respectable hour? What kind of a guy are you? Can we trust you with our beloved? Who will be doing the driving? Will responsible adults be present? And hey, man, who cuts your hair?
Finally, and most importantly – Will you be planning on crossing the border during your “date”?
’Cause, I’ve gotta tell you, Jon, that would be a deal-breaker. Prom night will be ruined, if that’s what you’re thinking. Take your corsage, your high school quarterback good looks, your six-string and head on back to New Jersey.
Speaking of Jersey, we understand that that’s where you’re from. We understand this because you’ve been harping about it for decades. You’ve harped about it almost as often as you’ve jumped on stage with a guy named Bruce Springsteen, who, we understand, is also from New Jersey.
You of all people, then, should know that this Bills’ thing would not go over well here. As a Jersey guy, a guy who always will be compared to the original Jersey rock star, you should understand Buffalo. You know what it means to be made to feel inferior, to be thought of as second-best.
But then I always found this attempted appropriation of the Springsteen common-man ethic a little bit suspect. It seems like you’re trying to be something you’re not.
What song of yours would make us believe that you are the real thing, that you “get” Buffalo? Is it “Have A Nice Day,” perhaps? As far as paeans to the real struggles of working people in abandoned industrial towns not unlike the one in which you are now attempting to buy a football team, that one doesn’t exactly rank up there with Springsteen’s “Youngstown,” “My City of Ruins,” or even “Atlantic City,” does it?
Is it your mega-hit “Livin’ On A Prayer,” with its blatant attempts to marry John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band to late 1980s hair metal? Doubtful.
Maybe it’s your poetic lyrics offering insight into the indomitability of the human spirit, particularly among the forgotten and forlorn classes who would love to form the core of the American labor base if they were ever actually offered the chance, but instead spend most of their disposable income supporting football teams made up of multimillionaire athletes? Lyrics like “I’ve seen a million faces, and I’ve rocked them all”?
That can’t be the one. One of the million faces you’ve seen repeatedly over the years has been mine, and I have to tell you, I didn’t like it much when you “rocked my face.” It didn’t feel like a shared, communal experience. It felt more like a night out at a sports bar in a strip mall, drinking warm Coors Light and listening to an elegantly coiffed cover band play a set of – er, Bon Jovi tunes.
I’m sorry, Jon. I know we have a long relationship. You’ve been playing our sports arenas for decades, and you have always been greeted with screams of adulation. But we feel like our relationship has gotten a bit stale. We have grown older. And you have grown colder. And nothing is very much fun anymore. After all this time we’ve spent together, I feel you are at least owed honesty. So here’s the cold, hard truth, Jon: I think we should start seeing other people.
You can start by seeing another football team. You’ve proven now that you don’t get Buffalo. You certainly shouldn’t get our Bills.