Gov. Cuomo pledges New York state support for teams ready to reopen: 'I want to watch the Bills'

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ready for the sporting world to reopen, and in standard Cuomo fashion during the COVID-19 crisis, he had a graphic to prove it.

After voicing optimism this weekend that New York’s baseball teams will play games this summer, Cuomo played to his audience again. He lent support to the upstate teams while pledging state help to leagues seeking to start again.

Cuomo: ‘I want to watch the Bills’

Cuomo gave his daily briefing from the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo on Monday, where he announced the western New York region was ready to begin the first phase of reopening. Much of the upstate region has started the process.

He switched gears to speak about major league teams resuming their game schedules and spoke specifically to the NFL and Buffalo Bills.

“I want to watch the Bills,” he said alongside a graphic saying the same thing.

While the governor has used such graphics over the past two months during his briefings, many people on Twitter thought it was photoshopped at first. Bills fans have anointed the governor president of the team’s unofficial support group, “Bills Mafia.” And they were quick to remind that the Bills are the only New York team that actually plays in the state.

Cuomo: NY will help sports reopen

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a Buffalo Bills football helmet that was presented to him by Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy in the Red Room at the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in Albany, N.Y. Cuomo was unable to attend a news conference in December announcing a 10-year lease extension between the state, Erie County and the Bills. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to watch the Buffalo Bills this year. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Cuomo said he has been encouraging major sports teams to plan reopening their seasons without fans. The games can be televised and the economic impact would be positive, he said.

“New York state will help those major sports franchises do just that,” he said. “Hockey, basketball, baseball, football, whoever can reopen we’re a ready, willing and able partner.”

He made sure to say that while he wants to watch the Bills, it doesn’t come in front of his job to protect New Yorkers, calling them “separate agendas.”

Does Cuomo’s support change things?

Cuomo can’t make a proclamation that would bring sports back to the calendar. Each league’s owners and players need to come to an agreement to hold games safely. Major League Baseball is attempting to have a 2020 season and sent out a 67-page document to players on Friday outlining how a league would handle safety precautions.

At Saturday’s briefing, Cuomo was optimistic the New York Mets and New York Yankees would resume games. There is still a recommendation in the state for gatherings, and municipalities are asking for gatherings of ideally no more than 10. It seems Cuomo would waive that to hold games.

The NFL issued a league-wide memo giving the go-ahead for team facilities to partially reopen starting Tuesday. It is subject to state and municipal regulations with certain guidelines.

That’s where Cuomo’s support matters. He can, and seemingly will, do whatever needed to help sports get back on the schedule as long as it is safe for everyone to do so. Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson has the state-by-state breakdown on when each team will open up for training.

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