Tonawanda News

Local News

March 25, 2014

Bills owner Ralph Wilson dies at 95

Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, who helped found the American Football League in 1960, died at his home on Tuesday afternoon. He was 95.

Bills president Russ Brandon made the announcement at the NFL winter meetings in Orlando.

Wilson was the founder and sole owner of the Bills after establishing the team with the upstart AFL in 1960. He played a key role in the league's merger with the NFL. He was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

Wilson died at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., around 1:40 p.m., said Mary Mazur, spokeswoman for the Wayne County medical examiner's office.

He had been receiving in-home hospice care.

"No one loves this game more than Ralph Wilson," Brandon said in a statement. "It's very tough. What he's meant to the entire organization. He's our leader, our mentor our friend. How he loves his players and loved our community. Special guy. They just don't make them like Ralph Wilson."

Wilson had been in failing health for several years after having hip surgery in 2011. Though he spent much of his time at his home suburban Detroit, he was well enough to attend the Hall of Fame induction weekends over the past few years.

After regularly attending Bills home games since founding the franchise, Wilson had not been to a game since attending one in 2010.

Wilson established a reputation as being the "conscience" of the NFL for his loyalty to fans and the several stands he took against franchise relocation.

"He didn't let anyone pull anything off in him. He was very forceful," New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson said.

"Mr. Wilson was a visionary and pioneer of professional football," added Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank. "We have lost a founding member of the NFL family, but Ralph's lasting impact on the NFL will forever be felt."

 

1
Text Only
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage