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By Frank Thomas Croisdale

"When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child." -- Sophia Loren.

In an effort to control off-the-hook fan behavior at games, the Buffalo Bills have turned to the one person they believe crowd members will listen to -- mom. In launching a new ad campaign entitled "Make Mom Proud" that will be seen and heard all around Ralph Wilson Stadium this fall, the team hopes to cut back on the number of violent incidents and arrests made before, during and after Bills games.

Four actresses portray "mom" and remind fans to stay on their best behavior by uttering momisms like "This is a family event, so watch your mouth, or you'll catch a whole lot of heck," "Unless you're heading for the end zone, there are some lines we just don't cross," or "Don't make me come up there."

The Bills have rolled out this campaign shortly after announcing they will institute a new parking policy in for the two busiest lots. Cars will now be parked Disney-style, meaning fans will be forced to park their car next to the one that entered the lot just before them. The policy is intended to cut down on excessive tailgating, since folks often save a block of spaces for their pregame partying, as well as the dangers to pedestrians as cars cut across the lot to get to a held spot.

Proponents say the team is taking the fun out of the pregame and that they are creating a hardship where no problem exists.

The moves come on the heels of two recent instances in the San Francisco area -- one in which a baseball fan was beaten into a coma and the second in which a football fan was shot. Fan behavior is often abhorrent. Whether it is at an all-time low point is debatable. Soccer hooligans have run amok in Europe for decades, and people old enough to remember Bills games at the old Rockpile here can spin yarns of beer bottles flung in response to a bad call from one of the guys in the zebra suits.

What is questionable is if having "mom" at the games will have any effect on what is almost always young males' bad behavior. It is presumptive to think that all young men have had a positive maternal role model.

Let's not forget that Pamela Anderson is a mom and she admitted on a national radio program to leaving her kids home with a sitter so she could get naked on the air and cavort around a bathtub with another woman.

Joan Crawford, of course, made the world aware that wire hangers are a no-no, while simultaneously cementing the phrase "Mommie Dearest" for any mother who has gone off the deep end.

And how could we forget Susan Smith, who locked her two toddlers in a car and rolled it into a lake, blaming the murders on a sinister "black man."

Do you think the kids of any of those dames would respond well to the "mom" campaign? They're extreme examples, but with the number of shattered homes in America today, it seems like a promotion plucked from a time capsule.

If it does work, I can think of some other places where "mom" might want to make an appearance.

How about putting "mom" on billboards on the interstate saying things like, "If your friend drove his crotch rocket off the road at 100 miles an hour because he wanted to be cool, would you do it, too?" or "As long as you're texting while you're driving you might as well send one to 9-1-1 and ask for an ambulance -- you're gonna need one soon, missy."

Maybe "mom" should be at the checkout line at the supermarket. Phrases like, "Is that how I taught you to count to 10?" and "Maybe you should get your cash out before she's done ringing up your groceries, Einstein" might go a long way to speeding up the experience.

"Mom" might come in handy as a cardboard cut-out at some area watering holes. There are folks who could use hearing some "mom" advice like, "You passed your limit two umbrella drinks ago, dearie," "Reach for your keys, and I'll reach for the back rent you owe me," or "If you have to ask yourself, 'Which mom is talking to me?' the one in the middle is telling you to call a cab."

How about "mom" at the casino? "You keep blowing your money at the roulette wheel betting on black and I'll give you the blue to go with it for free."

"Mom" at the all-you-can-eat buffet: "Two servings makes a strong young man, three and you're a gluttonous pig; so drop the chocolate cake, junior."

"Mom" at the corner store: "A dollar and a dream, huh? How about, you'd better start saving those dollars or you're going to be dreaming of a roof over your head."

Finally, "mom" on the Internet: "Just because a girl can bend like that doesn't mean she should, and never when someone is rolling film."

Here's hoping the security people in the yellow coats at the Ralph get a bit less work this season. If so, you can be sure that it is a campaign that will gain MOMentum around the NFL.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Sept. 12, 2011