Ralph Wilson, owner of the Buffalo Bills has passed away at the age of 95. The announcement came from Bills President Russ Brandon:

I’ve just received word that our Hall of Fame owner, Ralph Wilson, has passed away. He passed away peacefully at his home with his beautiful wife, Mary, and his daughters by his side. I don’t have a lot of information. We had the opportunity to tell, Commissioner Goodell had a chance to tell his fellow owners. It’s fitting, no one loved this league more than Ralph Wilson and his fellow owners and his players. Obviously, trying to deal with this information and it’s very difficult at this time. Great man, unbelievable leader and sort of fitting it is here at the league (meeting) where he really put this league – he and the original owners, put this league in the position it is in today. It’s a difficult, difficult period right now.

On everything Mr. Wilson has done…

Unbelievable what he has accomplished. Such an unbelievable day when he put on the yellow jacket and went into the Hall of Fame. I always said the only two things I wanted to see was Mr. Wilson put on that yellow jacket and hand him the Lombardi trophy. We’re still working on the second part obviously, but it is fitting that he is in the Hall of Fame for all of that he’s done for this organization, for this league and all he has meant to Western New York and the community.

On how he found out and when…

I found out about an hour ago. Spoke to Mary Wilson directly. We had a brief conversation. She just wanted to let me know and then obviously, tried to put some thoughts in place here to make sure we were able to speak to you directly. Lot of thoughts running through my mind mainly for his family. Like I said, no one loved this game more than Ralph Wilson.

On it being a difficult day at One Bills Drive…

It’s tough. It’s very tough. I worked for him for 18 years and talked to him every day for 18 years—sometimes multiple times a day (laughs). What he’s meant to the entire organization. He’s our leader, our mentor, our friend. How he loved his players and loved our community. Special guy. They don’t make them like Ralph Wilson. They just don’t.

Wilson brought professional football to Buffalo in 1959, when he joined a group that became known as “The Foolish Club,” eight businessmen led by Texas oilman Lamar Hunt, who founded the American Football League. The initial cost to Wilson was $25,000, and it was considered a risky venture to challenge the established National Football League.

Wilson maintained in his later years that he would keep the team in Buffalo as long as he was alive.


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