Bills founder and owner Ralph Wilson has passed away, team president and CEO Russ Brandon announced today (Twitter link via Tim Graham of the Buffalo News). The longest-tenured team owner in the NFL, Wilson was 95 years old.
Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009, Wilson was instrumental in keeping the Bills in Buffalo, resisting offers to move or sell the team. With his passing, there will be many suitors, including several in Western New York and Ontario, seeking to purchase the franchise, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. However, the current lease will make it very difficult to move the team for the next few years.
Wilson, who saw the Bills transition from the AFL to the NFL, was acting as the club’s president as recently as 2012, but surrendered all team control to Brandon on January 1, 2013.
Our condolences go out to Wilson’s friends and family.