President Russ Brandon
Vice President of Operations and Guest Experience Andy Major
Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Opening Statement:
Russ Brandon: Thanks for being here. Obviously it’s been a long trying week for our community and we were very mindful of that as we entered yesterday’s game and we’re glad that we were able to give everyone a great outcome and three hours away from what they’ve dealt with and what they’re dealing with moving forward. With that being said, we’re looking forward to preparing for the Browns and playing Sunday here at Ralph Wilson Stadium. There has been an enormous amount of progress over the last few days and while we had a difficult hand from Mother Nature last week, Mother Nature certainly assisted this week with the heat wave that we somewhat had here in Buffalo and the great efforts by Andy Major and his staff over the last few days. I’m going to open it up for questions, Andy has a lot of detail that he can go into and we’re here to answer any of your questions.

On the repair work that needs to be done due to the storm…
Andy Major: There’s a long list of repair work, like Russ said the snow removal process went great, we’re very thankful to our partners and very thankful to our stadium ops team that did the work. We did get lucky with the snow that did help us. I think something we learned was that the new construction and everything that was put in place really helped us and we had less leaks than we really anticipated and less issues than we anticipated. There’s still a lot of damage and what we’re focused on now is all of the repair work.

On structural damage to any of the practice facilities or stadium…
AM: Yeah, we’ve got some ceiling tile damage; we’ve got our ring wall on the field is damaged in different places from the snow removal; we’ve got some pipes that have burst in some of the concessions and some of the restroom areas. The Fieldhouse wall caved in a little bit in our practice facility which is not going to affect our team at all or our practices, it’s already been repaired and a lot of minor damage some vent systems we’re kind of covered in snow or buried in snow which kind of damaged those areas as well and a lot of miscellaneous things in our suites and our club areas where we did have some leaks.

RB: One thing I want to stress Jim on that is that there is no structural damage to the facility from an engineering standpoint. We’ve had structural engineers in here throughout the process and this building, the training center, the field house and the stadium are fine structurally so there’s no issue on that end other than what Andy mentioned, a lot of repairs that we have to attend to over the next week in certain areas but nothing that would put the safety of the public, or our fans or our players or our staff in any trouble.

On the parking situation at the stadium for Sunday’s game…
RB: I’ll say this, when it comes to Bills related parking less than 5% of our spots will be impacted come game day. Bills controlled lots to our fans will be open and ready for business. We do not control satellite lots; we understand some utilize those areas. Fans need to be cautious that those lots may be unavailable but that’s outside of our control.

On what it feels like to return home…
RB: It’s great John, for everyone here in the organization.. Like Coach Marrone said after the game “Let’s go home”. As I mentioned many times here last week, our game pales in comparison to what people have been dealing with here, we understand that, we just want to be great citizens and help the community in any way we can. Last night certainly helped for people to watch television and watch Bills football which means so much to people. We take a lot of pride in what we give back to the community and we’re here to help in any way possible and it’s great to be sitting back in Orchard Park and we’re looking forward to preparing for Sunday.

On how it felt to represent Buffalo and the community…
RB: I think for all of us, we take a lot of pride in representing our community and it’s something that is very meaningful to people that work here in Buffalo with the Bills and with the players. We know how much this franchise means to our community and our region and it’s an honor to be a part of it. And I need to say again that we cannot thank the Detroit Lions organization enough. The Ford family, President Tom Lewand general manager Martin Mayhew whose a former Bills player and Coach Caldwell opened their doors and treated us with such great respect and it really shows the character of this league and as Mr. Wilson said the foundation of what this league was built on.. We’re partners six days a week and we compete one day a week and it certainly was spotlighted by how the Lions treated us and allowed us to prepare and I can’t say enough from our organization to theirs how much we appreciate it.

Q: Would there still be problems if the Ralph was a dome stadium?
AM: Yes, there was so much snow. I mean we had six feet of snow here at the stadium. So we’re moving 330,000 tons of snow, it was originally reported as 220,000 tons of snow which was when we had the four foot snowfall, and then we had two more feet of snow so yeah we still would have had a lot to deal with in our parking lots, the roof in all of our facilities was a major concern. We really wanted to make sure the people that were here were safe and were comfortable and okay. Russ mentioned all of our contractors that were here on site helping, we can’t thank them enough and we can’t share with you their pride in trying to get the facility ready for the Browns game. Once the focus was on the Browns game and we were past that snowstorm, our guys really dialed in and were just great. We all came together to get this thing done and then Mother Nature really helped us out yesterday.

Q: Is it 100% that the game will be played at the Ralph?
RB: We will play the Browns at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday.

Q: How long did you have the shovel crews in there? When did it begin? And it looks like it ended around 5 o’clock yesterday…
AM: It was really tough when the travel bans were going on. We made sure not to have anybody come during that period. But once Saturday’s travel bans were lifted we were able to get snow shovelers on site, and from Saturday until last night at about 8 o’clock we made the call with our bus partner to stop a shuttle service that we had set up for a lot of fans who were working. So, they were here triple shifting from Saturday to Monday night and about 500 total snow shovelers or so. They did a tremendous job, and we’re very thankful to Janet King who lined that project up for us. We paid them 10 dollars an hour, they got a ticket to the Browns game, and we really treated them as best as we could. We had an indoor area called the Coors Light sports bar which was heated for them.. We fed them lunch and dinner, we really took care of them, we really appreciated what they were doing and I think they really came through for us. We need to show them that we care about them and hopefully they saw that we did.

Q: What role did Terry and Kim play in all of this?
RB: They were great. I was in constant communication with both of them. Anything we needed, they opened their doors to anything from an organization. Their leadership was outstanding and I was in constant communication. Obviously we had a tremendous individual in Andy Major leading the charge and his staff. There’s so many great stories that we were laughing at lunch, we’re all pretty good at embellishing stories over time, me leading the charge there. Just sitting around at breakfast and lunch with our players and with our staff members you can’t make it up what some people went through to get on the plane or some stories that we had operationally that people stepped up and took leadership within the community. I feel blessed to be a part of this organization and the character of it and it starts at the top with Terry and Kim.

On if Terry and Kim Pegula were in Buffalo at the time of the storm…
RB: No they were in Detroit. They were back at their home and I was keeping them up to speed, this was no place to be as we all know.

Q: Looking forward after the win and getting to 6-5 and the playoffs, your still in the picture, do you think this might have a unifying effect or a spring boarding effect?
RB: Well we have great leadership here as you know, with the captain and the veteran players but I can’t stress enough the leadership that Coach Marrone showed from the time it began on Monday. He lived in this building; he did an unbelievable job of communicating to our players and to our staff. We were in lockstep with him throughout the process and last night obviously it was a great outcome but it starts with him and how he led this team through an adverse situation. While it pales in comparison, we had to go play a football game in a very unique setting and he did an outstanding job leading us.

Q: Is practice overrated?
RB: I will never answer that question (laughs). The answer to that is no. No matter what Allen Iverson said.

On Coach Marrone giving the game ball to emergency workers…
RB: He did obviously after the game and there were some game balls given out but he gave one to the Erie County first responders and I’ll be talking to County Executive Poloncarz and we will be sending some game balls out to the great citizens of this community that did outstanding work.

Q: Hindsight question, but how worse would the damage have been had the renovations not been done?
RB: That’s a great question Joe. The renovations as Andy stated certainly helped, it would have been increasingly difficult without the renovations. It allowed us to be more proactive throughout the cleanup.

AM: Yeah, I would just say two things. We were so much more organized because having so much more space, more facilities, newer facilities and more equipment, that made the job that much easier. It wasn’t an easy job but that made it much easier. And it also made things safer for the people working. Driving around and the contractors and the snow shovelers. I felt nervous in years past that we could have an injury or that something could happen even though we preach safety first. With the way the stadium is laid out now with the construction and the wider areas, we were really able to navigate that and make things safe so organization safety was really better.

Q: Was it just the additional space or was there anything else about the renovations that made things safer?
AM: Well we have a new operations building, number one for starters. And the operations team that we had, they were here sleeping through the night last during the storm and plowing just trying to get a couple of the lots open. Some of those things aren’t possible if they don’t have that kind of a building and they don’t have a place to store the equipment or the trucks so number one I’d say the operations building was paramount. The other part was just the new concourses the wider concourses really helped us out, and then the new commissary building, the Delaware North commissary building for the kitchen area. We did have a chef that was stranded here for the week and everyone else that was stranded here for the week, they were fed. They didn’t have great places to sleep but they were fed, they were sleeping on recliners in the team meeting rooms and the one couch in the lobby. Those things really helped us out a lot and I think the other thing that helped us out a lot was a lot of the new traffic coating that really sealed up the concourses and sealed up some of the areas where in years past they would’ve been leaks that would pour down into the locker room areas or the tunnel or other locations where were walking through those this past weekend after the storm and we weren’t seeing it. We were very happy not to see it but we were asking our team to look for stuff to find issues. In years past, we would be responding to issues because they were all over the place but now it is much better. We’ve had to actually go look for things and find things because the areas in which we had issues in the past, we didn’t see it as badly.

On the effect of the new staircases on the snowfall and snow removal process…
AM: It actually created a little more snow within the concourses so the grand staircases did encounter a lot of snow there. It added some snow to the inside of the stadium but it was nothing that our guys couldn’t handle. It was just an area that we had planned to make sure we had covered. So for the most part we were able to work around that.

Q: After last night win do you hope that they build a dome here?
RB: I’m not going to answer that question. I’m just happy were home and the atmosphere there as well, the fans did an outstanding job. Standing on the sideline pregame was pretty heartwarming. To see the amount of Bills fans that were in the building and see how fired up they were and again the atmosphere was much better than I personally anticipated so we very much appreciate the support.

On if parts of the stadium will be restricted on Sunday…
AM: No at this point we don’t expect that. We anticipate getting all of the repair work done before game day. I think Russ mentioned the parking lot; we’re going to lose a little bit of the parking lot where we put all of the snow to melt down into the creek. Other than that maybe 5% of the parking spot will be lost but other than that we will be fully operational.

RB: We anticipate being fully operational.

On if fans attending the game should arrive earlier than usual…
RB: Jim, we always do. Get here early, get into the gates early. But especially this week with people, who have routines in satellite lots, they may be altered. Again, their outside of our control but from a Bills controlled spots we will be fully operational with the exceptions of the corner of Lot 7 which like Andy mentioned will be less than 5% of our total parking spot availability.

On how many parking spots are under Buffalo Bills control…
AM: We’re just right under 10,000 total. Right around the 10,000 mark.

On insurance coverage for the damage done to the stadium…
AM: We’re compiling that now and taking photos and doing our due diligence with that right now.

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