For years now, there have been rumblings throughout the NFL world about the possibility of the league adding new teams.

Whether it’s talk of expanding into new American cities or even placing a franchise overseas, pretty much every scenario has been put on the table at some point.

But now, at least one NFL team is looking to throw a wrench in those plans, as they’re now apparently exploring the possibility of relocating further south.

Every so often, professional sports franchises and the cities and states that are their home find themselves locked in a bit of a tug of war.

Each side jockeys for position, making claims and threats in order to put pressure on the other, all in the name of trying to avoid having to spend more than they want on a new stadium.

For each of them, their goal is simple – teams want to force local and state governments to pay for their stadium with taxpayer money, and the governments want to spend as little as possible without losing the team.

And at this moment in time, that battle is apparently playing out in Buffalo, New York between the storied Bills franchise and the state of New York.

According to reports, the proprietors of the Bills, Terry and Kim Pegula, announced earlier this week that they intend to seek a new stadium for the team that would be fully funded by taxpayer money.

On top of that, the Pegula’s announced that they would also be considering relocating the team to Austin, Texas if their bid was not accepted.

Of course, as ESPN’s Seth Wickersham pointed out on Twitter shortly after that news came to light, it’s likely that the Bills are merely using Austin as a threat in order to get more taxpayer funding from the state of New York.

But at the same time, this back-and-forth over a new stadium for the Bills does underscore some of the leverage NFL teams currently have.

As Wickersham alluded to, there are a number of American cities that are reportedly clamoring for an NFL franchise, and “would pay handsomely for it.”

In addition to Austin, those cities apparently include Orlando, Portland, and Sacramento, and do not include any overseas locations the NFL may have their eye on as well.

The fact that there are cities champing at the bit to get an NFL franchise certainly gives teams like the Bills leverage in these stadium negotiations, and puts pressure on states like New York to pony up and give the teams what they want.

But Buffalo does find themselves in an even more advantageous situation than some others would in a similar scenario, thanks to government-imposed COVID restrictions.

Buffalo was one of the teams most affected by COVID restrictions throughout last season, as the team and fans battled with local and state officials over their restrictions that constantly left the Bills stadium empty – and without revenue – for the entirety of a season that included a great playoff run.

So while the threat of an Austin move may seem like a vapid ultimatum the Bills are simply using to get their way, there may be a little more behind the threat than meets the eye.

Regardless, it’s hard to envision a world in which the Bills aren’t in Buffalo.

Unlike many teams that have relocated or changed their names over the years, the Bills have been in Buffalo since they became a charter member of the American Football League in 1960, and joined the NFL in 1970 following the AFL-NFL merger.

On top of that, the Bills are the only NFL team that actually plays in the state of New York, as both the New York Jets and New York Giants play in New Jersey.

And the Bills just so happen to have one of the most passionate fan bases in the world, and would most certainly lose all of that support if they ultimately chose to become the third wheel in Texas.

It’s ridiculous that these sort of battles even have to take place as anyone with a functioning brain knows that taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill – no pun intended – for a stadium that will be occupied by a team owned by billionaires and part of a league that generates billions of dollars in revenue every year.

Yet, that’s what every NFL team will do in these situations so long as they believe they have a chance of using other people’s money to build their massive stadiums for them.

Ultimately, there’s literally no chance that the Bills, of all teams, actually relocated to Austin, or anywhere else for that matter.

The Bills have leverage thanks to the actions of the New York state government during 2020, and they’re going to milk that for everything they can.

But when push comes to shove, they’ll strike a deal with the state, build a new stadium, and not have to worry about such negotiations for at least another couple of decades.

Then we’ll just do this whole song and dance again and again until someone finally puts a foot down and stops using taxpayer money to build toys for billionaires.

Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.