Inside The Bills

Berman reflects on Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.

Posted by Dallas Miller on March 26, 2014 – 10:05 pm

Ralph Wilson, Jr., Chris BermanBuffalo Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., who helped found the American Football League in 1960, passed away today at the age of 95.

Chris Berman, who covered the Bills’ run to four consecutive Super Bowls and coined the phrase “No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills,” had the distinguished honor of presenting Wilson during his Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony in 2009 (pictured above).

On the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter on Tuesday, Berman discussed the passing of Mr. Wilson and what he will remember most about him with anchor John Anderson. Berman’s comments:

“It’s obviously a very sad day for anybody that follows pro football and was fortunate enough to have known Ralph Wilson. The thing that we must remember about Ralph is from a young man – and what were they 39 or 40, “The Foolish Club,” late 30s, just about 40 when they said this AFL thing with eight teams might work.

“They were about loving the sport of football and loving those who played it and were in it, and loving those who followed it, and I think there was a twinkle in his eye and a laughter in his voice from a guy in his 30s to a guy in his 50s to a guy in his 70s, and I’ve got to tell you, as we stayed close in his 90s, he would write letters and be funny. Even if the Bills weren’t winning, he would take the bright, glass half-full part of it.

“I think the word loyalty we ought to use. Because forget just loyalty to Buffalo, where others might have said ‘boy, there’s certainly a pot of gold somewhere other than Buffalo, N.Y.’ He would have none of it. This man served in the U.S. Navy in the Atlantic and Pacific fronts. So, before we even get in the football, we should honor him as a World War II veteran on both fronts.

“His vision, his laughter, his love of the game, his joie de vivre in his 90s, will be with us for a long, long, long time. It’s a sad day, but he wouldn’t want us to be grieving very much. . . . The one-time owner of one team for half a century, say no more.”

A number of other ESPN commentators knew Wilson well and shared their comments here.


Posted in Inside the Bills