On the field, the Miami Dolphins downed the "home" Buffalo Bills 16-3 at Toronto's Rogers Centre. But off the field and in the stands, it was a first. Yes, there have been pre-season games in Canada, with 4 of the last 5 of them in Toronto.
But this was the first regular-season matchup on Canadian soil. The NFL has ventured into Mexico and England for regular-season matches, but this was the first north of the border. Unlike the other matchups, this is part of the Buffalo Bills 8-game plan to play in Rogers Centre (formerly known as SkyDome): 5 regular-season games and 3 pre-season games.
The crowd wasn't a sellout (did draw 52,134), mostly because the tickets were priced too high to recoup the money spent on getting the games to Canada. And there were some issues with not being able to do much tailgating. There isn't much room around the Rogers Centre downtown to set that up. But otherwise, the NFL was on display.
Bills games have generally drawn Canadians to come down for football. But we are still waiting to see how many Bills fans came from Buffalo. There has been speculation of relocating the Bills, despite their excellent fan base. And Toronto is the only realistic city in Canada to host the NFL. Make no mistake, the NFL is popular in Canada. Canadians get games piped in on CTV and Rogers Sportsnet coast-to-coast, but also pick up local CBS and FOX stations from the States. So those in Vancouver can see the Seattle Seahawks, Windsor watches the Detroit Lions, and Toronto gets the Buffalo Bills. TSN carries the Sunday Night and Monday Night packages.
The fans, used to seeing much more scoring in CFL games, only saw one touchdown (Miami) and only 3 points combined in the second half. One funny note: former Argonauts running back Ricky Williams made his return to the Rogers Centre. Williams had 11 carries for 40 yards, including a 22-yard run.
They played this year's game after the CFL season ended. Next year, they could play during the CFL season. The only issue is that Rogers Centre is also home to MLB's Toronto Blue Jays.