Ralph Wilson Cedes Control of Buffalo Bills to Team CEO Russ Brandon

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIJanuary 1, 2013

Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson has decided to take a diminished role within the front office and has given complete control of day-to-day operations to CEO Russ Brandon.

ESPN reported the following quote from Brandon:

It was a rather emotional visit. He told me he was passing the torch to me to run the franchise in totality. He has granted me full authority to run the franchise with zero restrictions and zero limitations.

Brandon has served as the team’s CEO since general manager Buddy Nix was hired at the end of 2009. Wilson is 94 years old and has been the team president since he founded the team in 1960 except for a brief stint between 2001 and 2005 when he ceded control to Tom Donahoe.

The Bills are in the midst of other changes to the front office. The team fired head coach Chan Gailey after a third consecutive losing season that featured Buffalo’s playoff drought extend to 13 seasons.

The ESPN report also notes that Nix will remain in his current position for now, but that there are rumblings around the organization that assistant GM Doug Whaley will take his place “at some point.”

This season was especially disappointing for the franchise after an active offseason brought optimism to Buffalo.

The 2011 Bills started the year 5-2 before losing eight of its final nine games. Signing marquee free agent Mario Williams was supposed to help the team avoid another collapse, but Buffalo never appeared to be a serious playoff contender at any point this season.

Now, the front office is being reshuffled and the team is moving in a different direction. Bills fans can only hope that Brandon’s elevated role will allow him to put together a team that will reach the playoffs.