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Bills try to ready stadium for game despite tons of snow, objections

The Buffalo Bills really, really want to play their home game against the New York Jets at 1 p.m. on Sunday. So why should a little bit of snow stop them?

OK, so it's a lot of snow. Some 6 feet already with up to 3 more feet expected by Friday.

Or, as Bills vice president of operations and guest experience Andy Major put it Wednesday, 220,000 tons of snow that needs to be removed from Ralph Wilson Stadium before game time.

And the team is determined to get it done, offering $10 an hour and free game tickets for anyone who can come help shovel out The Ralph -- once folks in the area are allowed to drive again, of course.

“We’re just going to have to go 24/7, triple shifts, to push forward and make sure we have this place ready for Sunday,” Major said. “We can’t have too many people helping, so there’s no cutoff. We will definitely not be turning anybody away who wants to help shovel snow.”

But there are some people who don't think holding the game Sunday is such a good idea. Some pretty important people.

“Everybody would love to see a Bills game go forward, but I think even more, everybody wants to make sure public safety comes first,” N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “At this point in time, doing what we have to do with the driving ban and everything we just said -- staying off the roads -- would make a Bills game impractical. So if you ask me today, right now, my two cents would be it would be impractical to do the game because it could jeopardize public safety.”

Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz said Wednesday at a press conference: “We've been asked, can we commit to having emergency service personnel and the Sheriff's Office -- the lead police agency -- at the game? I can tell you right now, at this moment, we cannot commit to having emergency service personnel, and the Sheriff's Office. At this moment, I cannot commit to that on Sunday.”

Poloncarz added that night in an interview with Time Warner Cable News: "I think everyone knows what kind of Bills fan I am. I've got season tickets. There should not be people driving to the stadium. I'm sorry Buffalo Bills, we have a major emergency going on and that matters more, truthfully, than whether we have a football game on Sunday."

Meanwhile folks on Twitter responded with outrage to photos of vehicles working to remove snow from the stadium area, while they remain snowed in. The photographer later clarified that the team wasn't using public funds for the removal.

Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to hold the game as scheduled belongs to the NFL, which said Thursday it would work with both the team and local authorities in making the determination.

Twitter: @chewkiii Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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