Don’t cry for Buffalo Tom Brady, but come visit

New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady uncharacteristically called a bad audible during Super Bowl week yesterday by mildly criticizing Buffalo’s hotels.

A Buffalo News columnist, the voluble Jerry Sullivan, heard this and our section of Western New York, which has had a near-complete scarcity of snow this winter, suddenly had no scarcity of attention.

Why add to it? For a couple of reasons tied to this blog’s theme. First, Tom, if you don’t want to see it in headlines, or in body text, or in a video or in audio, don’t say it. Second, if you screw up, apologize. [Brady did.]

What did Brady say? He said Buffalo’s hotels are a little run down and lack the luxury he’s used to. Since Brady and his glamorous wife Gisele Bundchen are only pampered with the best, this is understandable. They’re one percenters, for sure, estimated to be worth $90 million.

Sullivan tried to make news of the comment by drawing a larger lesson, that the Buffalo Bills have trouble attracting top-flight free agents in part because the city in their name is not as robust as say New York, Chicago or Brady’s own Boston. [Didn’t Brady play in Ann Arbor, MI, a short bus, er, limo, ride from Detroit? That great midwestern city has also suffered from job and industrial loss. Yet Detroit and Buffalo maintain their dignity.]

Facts are, as Brady and Sullivan agreed, Buffalo does not have a lot of five-star hotels, although the one at Seneca Niagara Casino would fit the bill; as would The Mansion, which we’ve worked with over the years. It recently became a member of an elite historic hotel organization.

The other lesson for crisis work is that taking advantage of an opportunity to put you or your company in the forefront of positive news is an opportunity best seized fast. When President Obama held the beer summit at the White House, a colleague brilliantly succeeded in inviting a client’s beer, because it was American-made, to the discussion. Bingo.

And, another colleague generated ample publicity for The Mansion since yesterday by suggesting that its owners offer Tom and Gisele a free room, which they would undoubtedly enjoy.

Brady may end up the best quarterback the NFL ever saw. He’s a competitor and the Bills roughed him up thoroughly in their first game of 2011. He’s not going to praise Buffalo, any more than Miami, New York, Indy or Oakland. But you can still have some fun with him.

Today he apologized. And some day, he may come enjoy a night on the town at The Mansion and recall what his dad and mom taught him long ago: That a city’s personality is no more derived from its hotel rooms than from its airport, its interstate or its weather. It’s about the people. And from what I’ve read about Tom Brady, he’d fit in just fine in Buffalo.

Not to mention that Brady’s and Bunchen’s $20 million, 22,000-square-foot California mansion would cost him only $1 million at the top of the Avant Building in downtown Buffalo, with an amazing view of Lake Erie and Ontario. Then he’d have $19 million left over to invest in a five-star hotel in downtown Buffalo.


About steveoncrisis

The content is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It comes from Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and as managing editor and editorial page editor at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the nation's largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agency with six offices in the Northeast and Southeast.
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