By Tim Graham
Some guy: "The Bills have a woman vice president?"
Some other guy: "Yeah, it's Ralph Wilson's niece."
I've overheard that conversation a few times. Occasionally, I've interjected a few lines about all the NFL committees she's on and the real work she does. But mostly people get hung up on the nepotism angle.
Hopefully, Buffalo News reporter Bob DiCesare's Spotlight feature on Bills executive vice president of strategic planning Mary Owen helps put her role into better perspective. Owen over the past couple years has taken a greater role in shaping the front office and representing Buffalo at the NFL level.
Owen is on the NFL's Super Bowl Committee, International Committee and the Advisory Committee on NFL Giving. Oakland Raiders CEO Amy Trask and Dallas Cowboys executive vice president of brand management Charlotte Jones Anderson are perhaps the only more powerful females in the league.
DiCesare's piece chronicles Owen's background and Wilson's pursuit to keep her within the organization while she has been tempted to challenge herself elsewhere.
"I believe she is one of the most talented young executives in the league today," Wilson said. "And her best work is still yet to come."
In other Buffalo-oriented links from this morning and the weekend:
* Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told the News he wants the Bills to sign a lease that will make it difficult for the club to break and move. "I want to ensure that we have a lease that keeps the Bills here for many years to come," Poloncarz said.
* Buffalo News columnist Donn Esmonde opposes the Bills' decision to stay with the old TV blackout policy that requires games to be completely sold out to be shown locally. Esmonde called the reported $500,000 loss in revenue the Bills could sustain "pocket change ... that, sadly, the Bills will not sacrifice for the fans -- and taxpayers -- who pump up the team's massive profits."
* StillTalkinTV.com's Alan Pergament counters Esmonde's arguments and sides with the Bills. "The Bills decision not to accept the new policy isn’t about the $500,000 they could lose if the blacked out games were televised," Pergament writes. "It is about the millions they would lose in season ticket sales if ticket buyers like me would abandon them if the new blackout rule had been accepted."
* Regarding one of our most famous -- some might say impishly infamous -- local boys in the NFL, Boston Globe writer Shalise Manza Young reports the New England Patriots have told Rob Gronkowski "that his summer of Gronk, so to speak, is over." Gronkowski took part in last week's Triple-A Home Run Derby, walked the red carpet at the ESPY Awards, was a contestant on a celebrity dating show and appeared nude on the cover of ESPN The Magazine.
* Pro Football Talk revealed the Bills as No. 19 in its Preseason Power Rankings. That's one spot behind the New York Jets. You can see PFT's entire rundown so far by clicking here.
* BuffaloRumblings.com chief Brian Galliford breaks down the wide receiver position to see who might get cut and projects they could be Donald Jones, Derek Hagan or Marcus Easley.