One of the two men who had the courage, cognition and cachet to vote against Art Modell’s proposed move to Baltimore is no longer with us. Buffalo Bills founder, owner and stadium namesake Ralph Wilson, Jr., has died, team president Russ Brandon announced Tuesday at the NFL meetings. He was 95.
Wilson is credited with initiating talks in 1965 with Baltimore Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom that led to the AFL-NFL merger as well as keeping the Bills in western New York despite multiple years of rumors of a potential relocation. He is one of the few owners to have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as he was enshrined in 2009, three years prior to the passing of the former Browns owner.
Wilson’s passing comes just weeks after the passing of Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford, Sr., who died March 9 at age 88. Another long-tenured owner, Bud Adams of the Tennessee Titans, passed away Oct. 21 at age 90.