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Pete Carroll happy to avoid Ralph Wilson Stadium

By Tim Graham

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll loves the idea of playing in Toronto.

It's better than Orchard Park.

"I think it's a great opportunity," Carroll laughed on a conference call with Bills reporters Wednesday. "Love playing in Canada. That'll be a fun experience. We won't miss that day at Rich Stadium. We'll be just fine."

The forecast for Sunday afternoon in Orchard Park is a high of 43 degrees with a 50 percent chance of rain and winds at 14 mph. Whatever, the Seahawks will play the Buffalo Bills under the Rogers Centre's roof.

One of the many criticisms from Bills fans about the Toronto series is that the Bills sacrifice their home-field advantage. Opponents get cozy confines. The fans are far more dispassionate than in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The series opened Dec. 7, 2008, with the Bills still alive in the playoff race at 6-6. The Miami Dolphins comfortably beat the Bills 16-3 in a dome rather than coping with nasty weather in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Las Vegas oddsmaker and frequent Press Coverage contributor Joel Staniszewski explained Toronto isn't quite a neutral site when it comes to setting the line. Staniszewski said it's similar to "neutral fields" in college football, when a team plays close to campus but not in its home stadium. Those teams still get the traditional 3-point betting bump.

But the more neutral the better for the Seahawks, who are 8-5 and fighting for a playoff berth.

"If we weren't playing at CenturyLink, I would think that we would've lost a bit of an advantage," Carroll said. "If we had to play somewhere else, at a different site, and we were playing up in Vancouver, I would think that would be different. It's going to be a different makeup in the crowd.

The Seahawks are 2-5 on the road, although many of their games have been close and they are coming off a 23-17 sudden-death victory over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

"It's not going to factor into anything that we're doing or anything that we approach -- unless it does," Carroll said. "If it does, then we'll hopefully be a beneficiary of it. But I don't know.

"It's kind of like a bowl game. You go in and play in somebody else's place and see what happens."

Carroll was the head coach at USC from 2000 through 2009 before joining the Seahawks. His bowl record was 7-2, including 4-1 in the Rose Bowl. He won a Rose Bowl and an Orange Bowl to secure national championships in 2003 and 2004.

"That's kind of why I'm thinking of [the Rogers Centre] that way," Carroll said with another laugh.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |