Terry Pegula addresses Housley's future, new stadium, NFL issues

Cover Image
Photo credit Photo: Mark Konezny - USA TODAY Sports
By WGR 550 SportsRadio
PHOENIX, AZ (WGR550) - Here is the complete transcript from Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres co-owner Terry Pegula from the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday: 
Q: So Terry as far as the Sabres are concerned Kim said it too that no one's happy with the way the season has gone. As you stand here now do you anticipate the need to make any kind of change with your head coach, with your general manager? 
Terry Pegula: Well, you know, the season obviously hasn't finished yet, but I think [Jason Botterill> has said it pretty well that he supports Phil [Housely>. Phil communicates with the players well. Are we happy with how the season is going? Absolutely not. You can ask anybody on the team. So, you know, something has to change. We don't know what, but we're all going to put our heads together and talk about it. 


Q: But you feel you can justify bringing Phil Housley back despite the results since the 10-game win streak? 
Terry Pegula: Yeah, yeah. He's a young coach and he was a great player and I think he can grow as a coach. 


Q: Terry how much of the coaching changes over the past years with both organizations maybe play a role in wanting to finally stick with it? 
Terry Pegula: Yeah, we talked about consistency and you know you look around both leagues, the National Hockey League and the National Football League and the teams that have the consistent management teams seem to fare better. I always say like the [New England> Patriots you know [Bill> Belichick and [Tom> Brady. It's like going to McDonald's to get your coffee in the morning. It's the same. Or Tim Horton's. You know what you're going to get every morning, and those guys have been together so long, they're hard to compete against. 


Q: From a GM and coach perspective on the hockey side, do you maybe need to add someone there? An extra layer of experience, someone who could maybe help the process along? 
Terry Pegula: I don't think so. I don't think so, because you know I communicate with [Botterill> regularly, daily, sometimes three times a day and he's the only three-time gold medal world junior guy in the world. He's a smart guy and you know he does a good job. 


Q: In hindsight, it's easy to say now but when you had that 10-game winning streak and the season was in a position where you could make a playoff run, do you regret not a greater investment in trying to help that cause by bringing in the players who might be able to help you that way? 
Terry Pegula: Well, first off, I don't know if it was said publicly, I think Jason may have said something publicly, I'm not sure, but we knew at the time when we were number one in the Eastern Conference, we said, 'we're not this good, but we'll come back to earth some. Now did we think we'd come back like this? No. So, at the time when we were 17-6-2 we didn't think we were the number one team in the Eastern Conference, and I think our guys have showed one thing - at one time they were. They just need to now continue and do that over a longer period of time. 


Q: And what gives you confidence that that can happen given the way this season has taken the downturn that it has? 
Terry Pegula: The team is so young, and I know it sounds like a cop-out because there's young teams that are winning. We're one of the youngest teams in the league and young guys make mistakes that sometimes they shouldn't, but they grow. 


Q: Terry, we've heard from Brandon [Beane> and Sean [McDermott> to their responses of people taking shots at Buffalo after the whole Antonio Brown thing and how passionate they were about defending the city and things that were written and said. What was your reaction when those things were happening? 
Terry Pegula: First off, I don't know what was written and said because I think I told you last night I don't look at that stuff, but you know I don't know. Buffalo is a good town to be in. We all know that, we're all here. And I think Brandon, I saw what his quote was, that you need to come here, see what it's all about and then you'll know that it's a good place to be. So that's all I have to say to that. And you know Antonio Brown, you know he made his decision. We tried and it didn't work out for either one of us. 


Q: Do you have anything to add about, as Kim spoke to it, about the changes at PSE and some of the reasons behind it, some of the stuff that has become public, some of the reasoning behind that? How much does that bother you and just your thoughts on the overall changes and the reasoning behind it? 
Terry Pegula: Well that was obviously driven mostly by Kim, she consulted with me on it. But you know she worked more with the people there daily than I do. So you know she just felt she needed to make some changes and she did. 


Q: Entering Year 3 with Sean and Brandon, and now that you've gone through this big free agency period, what's your level of confidence, faith that you're closer to being the team you want the Bills to be? 
Terry Pegula: Well for one thing these guys work and they're smart. They put the time in and we talk a lot, and there's such good communication between all three of us and Kim. It's just fun to be there and work with those guys and if they can communicate with me I know they can communicate with the players and the staff and that's a good thing. There's a good vibe over there. 


Q: Terry, when you were ratified as owners of the Bills, a lot of the talk was that there was an understanding that a new facility would be needed for the Bills. Has that softened a bit, because I know the survey came out where it left the door open on renovating New Era Field as it stands today, as opposed to getting a new stadium. So have the owners in that room softened on what they initially said? 
Terry Pegula: Well we've employed CAA ICON and Populous. They're doing a market study. It will be done this summer. It's pretty extensive the work they're doing, and so I can't comment on what their results are because I don't know. We have dribs and drabs of what they've seen so far but you know we're open to any option and we'll see what the market study says. 


Q: I’m just wondering in terms of the expectation from the league? 
Terry Pegula: The league, I think they more or less want to see something done one way or the other and we're one of the smaller markets and any way we can increase our revenue they're all for it. 


Q: Have you maybe asked some of the other owners for advice in terms of people who have been through this? Oviously it's your first time. 
Terry Pegula: Yeah we do that, we do that a lot. 


Q: I know your story, Terry, is part of it, but there's been a long held question as to you know a new stadium and could the Western New York market support it from an economic standpoint, the model that it takes to make a lot of these new stadiums work. I know you're still factfinding, but as a businessman do you have a general sense of what the answer to that question is? 
Terry Pegula: I think the answer is probably a scaled down version of some of these palaces that are being built around the country. You know the thing Stan [Kroenke> is building in [Los Angeles> is amazing. Jerry Jones' facility in Dallas, so you know we need to do something that's Buffalo-style. 


Q: So your response is that you would favor building something as opposed to renovating what you have now? 
Terry Pegula: We'll see what the market research says. 


Q: Why are you in favor of expanding the replay? It was voted, obviously you guys voted yes. What went into that thought for you? 
Terry Pegula: I think just to try to make the game better and to erase any doubt on calls, to let our on-field people make the best decisions they can to help the game. None of us like to see mistakes or missed calls or whatever decide the outcome, of any game. 


Q: I want to go back to the Sabres for one second. I remember your quote when you bought the team, "the sole existences to win the Stanley Cup." Given you're going on eight years out of the postseason right now, what is your level of patience and what is your level of expectation moving forward to get this team really competitive and into the postseason? Where are you setting the bar? 
Terry Pegula: We have a lot of good young talent and especially our good young talent, you know who they are, but we've got two of them that are potential superstars with Jack [Eichel> and Rasmus Dahlin so you know those are two pieces that I think a lot of teams would love to have, and we have them in Buffalo, so we'll build around that foundation. 


Q: Would you like to get Skinner done, too? 
Terry Pegula: Yes. 


Q: I know the NFLPA has talked a lot about you know what's coming down the road, the CBA is expiring, obviously. How much are those discussions from an owner standpoint are starting to take place as far as what to be prepared for and what to look out for in the next couple of years? 
Terry Pegula: I can't comment on that. 


Q: On the football side of things you've got Josh Allen now. What did you see from him in his rookie season that maybe gives you confidence that you finally found the franchise quarterback? 
Terry Pegula: Well the first thing I told Josh was, 'you jump over a linebacker like you did, you do that three times, you're going to be out (laughs). But I mean, Josh, one thing we've seen from him, everybody knows he's got an arm. What I was impressed from him was how the team just sucked into him and he's just the focal point. He became the leader and he's a hard worker and he's a heck of an athlete. So we'll see what he can do this season. But I can tell you this, he's going to be a good leader. 


Q: I want to go back to the football stadium and whether it be what you do at KeyBank Center but really primarily football. Do you have a sense at this point how much public money would be involved in those projects? 
Terry Pegula: I don't have any idea, no. 


Q: Is everything still on the table as far as location, if let's say it was new, location, dome, no dome, grass, turf, all that stuff? 
Terry Pegula: We're waiting for our study to come out and see what all they tell us, what our market can support. 


Q: So it would be everything? So anything can happen as far as that's concerned? 
Terry Pegula: I don't know. If we build a stadium, do you want a dome on it? 


Q: Some people do, some people don't. 
Terry Pegula: I know Miami doesn't. I know Steve Ross doesn't. He's told me that. 


Q: But do you? 
Terry Pegula: No. We'll see what the study says. It's all about what we think our fans want, what they prefer. 


Q: If the study shows that the marketplace just doesn't want to pay for, everybody wants the new thing but paying for it is two separate things. Can you live with a renovated or just an improved existing stadium? 
Terry Pegula: Again, let's wait until the summer and see what kind of results we get out of what the experts are telling us our market is. 


Q: Has the league given you any comments or direction, or push in a time frame? 
Terry Pegula: No. No.


Q: With regards to the football team, do you have any sense that maybe the hard part is over in terms of the patience of how Brandon and Sean wanted to build this and that maybe we could see a turn in terms of results in the next year or two? 
Terry Pegula: You know I mentioned Josh Allen, we've got another young piece on defense, Tremaine [Edmunds>. So you know we're developing some good solid foundation for the football team, too, so you know, we got ten draft picks this year. So, we'll see what happens. 


Q: Just back to the taxpayer question. So would you potentially be willing to foot the bill for a new stadium yourself?