Buffalo Bills founder and owner Ralph Wilson dies at age 95

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Ralph Wilson was the last surviving member of the original American Football League owners, a group of eight innovators known as "The Foolish Club." He bought the Bills for $25,000 in 1959, and owned them for 54 years. In 2009, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Wilson is credited with initiating AFL-NFL merger talks with Carroll Rosenbloom, then owner of the NFL’s Baltimore Colts, in January of 1965. - Frank Schwab, Shutdown Corner

18 Nov 2001: Quarterback Jim Kelly #12 of the Buffalo Bills speaking at the podium with President Ralph Wilson Jr. during Jim Kelly's Retirement Ceremony before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at the Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Seahawks defeated the Bills 23-20.Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport
18 Nov 2001: Quarterback Jim Kelly #12 of the Buffalo Bills speaking at the podium with President Ralph Wilson Jr. during Jim Kelly's Retirement Ceremony before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at the Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Seahawks defeated the Bills 23-20.Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport
18 Nov 2001: Quarterback Jim Kelly #12 of the Buffalo Bills speaking at the podium with President Ralph Wilson Jr. during Jim Kelly's Retirement Ceremony before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at the Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Seahawks defeated the Bills 23-20.Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport
CANTON, OHIO - AUGUST 3: Jim Kelly (left) stands next to his bust with Ralph Wilson (center), owner of the Buffalo Bills and his presenter and former head coach Marv Levy (right) after his induction into the National Football League Hall of Fame on August 3, 2002 at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Kelly played quarterback for the Buffalo Bills from 1986 to 1996 and led the Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearences during his NFL career. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
CANTON, OHIO - AUGUST 3: Jim Kelly (left) stands next to his bust with Ralph Wilson (center), owner of the Buffalo Bills and his presenter and former head coach Marv Levy (right) after his induction into the National Football League Hall of Fame on August 3, 2002 at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Kelly played quarterback for the Buffalo Bills from 1986 to 1996 and led the Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearences during his NFL career. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
CANTON, OHIO - AUGUST 3: Jim Kelly (left) stands next to his bust with Ralph Wilson (center), owner of the Buffalo Bills and his presenter and former head coach Marv Levy (right) after his induction into the National Football League Hall of Fame on August 3, 2002 at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Kelly played quarterback for the Buffalo Bills from 1986 to 1996 and led the Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearences during his NFL career. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
<div>Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson checks the field. The Bills defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 38 - 17 (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)</div>
Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson checks the field. The Bills defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 38 - 17 (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson checks the field. The Bills defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 38 - 17 (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2009, file photo, Ralph Wilson Jr., fourth from left, owner of the Buffalo Bills, poses with his bust and former Buffalo Bills players, from left, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton, Billy Shaw and Jim Kelly during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95 at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
In this Aug. 8, 2009, file photo, Ralph Wilson Jr., fourth from left, owner of the Buffalo Bills, poses with his bust and former Buffalo Bills players, from left, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton, Billy Shaw and Jim Kelly during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95 at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years
FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2009, file photo, Ralph Wilson Jr., fourth from left, owner of the Buffalo Bills, poses with his bust and former Buffalo Bills players, from left, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton, Billy Shaw and Jim Kelly during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95 at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2009, file photo, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. celebrates his Hall of Fame induction at a half-time ceremony during the NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Don Heupel, File)
In this Nov. 1, 2009, file photo, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. celebrates his Hall of Fame induction at a half-time ceremony during the NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years
FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2009, file photo, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. celebrates his Hall of Fame induction at a half-time ceremony during the NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Don Heupel, File)
<div>Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson checks the field. The Bills defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 38 - 17 (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)</div>
Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson checks the field. The Bills defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 38 - 17 (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson checks the field. The Bills defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 38 - 17 (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2009, file photo, Ralph Wilson Jr., fourth from left, owner of the Buffalo Bills, poses with his bust and former Buffalo Bills players, from left, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton, Billy Shaw and Jim Kelly during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95 at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
In this Aug. 8, 2009, file photo, Ralph Wilson Jr., fourth from left, owner of the Buffalo Bills, poses with his bust and former Buffalo Bills players, from left, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton, Billy Shaw and Jim Kelly during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95 at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years
FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2009, file photo, Ralph Wilson Jr., fourth from left, owner of the Buffalo Bills, poses with his bust and former Buffalo Bills players, from left, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton, Billy Shaw and Jim Kelly during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95 at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2009, file photo, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. celebrates his Hall of Fame induction at a half-time ceremony during the NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Don Heupel, File)
In this Nov. 1, 2009, file photo, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. celebrates his Hall of Fame induction at a half-time ceremony during the NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years
FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2009, file photo, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. celebrates his Hall of Fame induction at a half-time ceremony during the NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Don Heupel, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2009, file photo, Ralph Wilson Jr., fourth from left, owner of the Buffalo Bills, poses with his bust and former Buffalo Bills players, from left, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton, Billy Shaw and Jim Kelly during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95 at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
In this Aug. 8, 2009, file photo, Ralph Wilson Jr., fourth from left, owner of the Buffalo Bills, poses with his bust and former Buffalo Bills players, from left, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton, Billy Shaw and Jim Kelly during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95 at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years
FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2009, file photo, Ralph Wilson Jr., fourth from left, owner of the Buffalo Bills, poses with his bust and former Buffalo Bills players, from left, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton, Billy Shaw and Jim Kelly during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95 at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2009, file photo, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. celebrates his Hall of Fame induction at a half-time ceremony during the NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Don Heupel, File)
In this Nov. 1, 2009, file photo, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. celebrates his Hall of Fame induction at a half-time ceremony during the NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years
FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2009, file photo, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. celebrates his Hall of Fame induction at a half-time ceremony during the NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Don Heupel, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2009, file photo, Ralph Wilson Jr., fourth from left, owner of the Buffalo Bills, poses with his bust and former Buffalo Bills players, from left, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton, Billy Shaw and Jim Kelly during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95 at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
In this Aug. 8, 2009, file photo, Ralph Wilson Jr., fourth from left, owner of the Buffalo Bills, poses with his bust and former Buffalo Bills players, from left, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton, Billy Shaw and Jim Kelly during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95 at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years
FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2009, file photo, Ralph Wilson Jr., fourth from left, owner of the Buffalo Bills, poses with his bust and former Buffalo Bills players, from left, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton, Billy Shaw and Jim Kelly during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95 at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2009, file photo, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. celebrates his Hall of Fame induction at a half-time ceremony during the NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Don Heupel, File)
In this Nov. 1, 2009, file photo, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. celebrates his Hall of Fame induction at a half-time ceremony during the NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years
FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2009, file photo, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. celebrates his Hall of Fame induction at a half-time ceremony during the NFL football game against the Houston Texans in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bills owner Wilson Jr. has died at the age of 95. NFL.com says team president Russ Brandon announced his death at the league's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 25, 2014. He was one of the original founders of the American Football League and owned the Bills for the last 54 years. (AP Photo/Don Heupel, File)

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