The founder of the Buffalo Bills and one of the pioneers of the game.
Wilson’s daughter was the NFL’s first female scout. He was a minority owner of the Detroit Lions before signing up for an AFL franchise, his Bills.
Wilson helped defend the Lions’ Thanksgiving game tradition. He grew up in Detroit and attended the University of Michigan Law School. Wilson passed in Grosse Pointe, where he maintained permanent residence.
He opposed the league’s collective bargaining agreement that led to the 2011 lockout, one of only two owners who saw it coming. At 92.
Wilson also urged the AFL to cancel it’s games post-Kennedy’s assassination, which they did. The NFL has since described how uncomfortable their playing of those games proved to be.
Hopefully, his integrity will pass on to the current NFL owners and future one’s alike. His stadium turned down naming rights to remain “Ralph Wilson Stadium,” like G’s. Tiger Stadium over Comerica Park? Can’t put a price on that.
RIP, Hall of Famer.