Skip to main content

Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson has passed away

One of the most exclusive clubs in sports has lost its dean. Buffalo Bills owner and founder Ralph Wilson passed away on Tuesday. He was 95.

The father of professional football in upstate New York, Wilson brought the Bills into the American Football League as an original member in 1959. 

In addition to owning the Bills, Wilson helped keep a pair of struggling AFL franchises, the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills, afloat with the then revolutionary concept of revenue sharing. Of course, it is that same concept that has helped turned the NFL of today into the most profitable sports league in North America. 

The last of the original AFL owners, Wilson entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. He played football at Virginia and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. 

Wilson ceded control of day-to-day operations for the team in 2013 but retained ownership until his death.