Win One for Ralph: A Tribute to the Buffalo Bills Owner
Ralph Wilson has chosen Chris Berman as his presenter for his induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on August 8, 2009. This is a well deserved honor for long time, and sole owner in the history of the Buffalo Bills.
What would be maybe even a greater honor for Wilson would be for the Bills to win an NFL Championship. In 50 years, the Bills have won two AFL Championships in 1964 and 1965, but have never won a Super Bowl in four tries.
Mr. Wilson realizes that he's not getting any younger. Since the '90s AFC Championship teams the Bills have not been a real contender. To reverse that trend, and assure the Bills are a winning team, Wilson reached out and made a move so uncharacteristic for the Bills. He picked up the T.O. show.
With threats from the fans against renewing their season tickets after some dismal late season performances, something drastic had to be done. Wilson wasn't willing to get rid of the coach and start from scratch. There is no time for that. If the Bills are going to win now, the staff has to put the tools in place.
Wilson is putting a lot of faith in head coach Dick Jauron who has only one winning season in nine years as a head coach ('01, 13-3).
However, Jauron enters his fourth year as head coach with the Bills and third with Trent Edwards as quarterback. And if you go by history, Marv Levy went to the AFC Championship in his third year with Jim Kelly as quarterback.
Edwards and Kelly’s stats are very similar in their first two years in the NFL, most notably in passes completed (60.8 compared to 59.6), and passer rating (79.1 compared to 83.5).
If the Bills implement the no-huddle, or T-Gun, they can expect better results from Edwards. The season that Levy’s Bills implemented the K-Gun, Kelly threw for 10 more touchdowns and his rating shot up from 78.2 to 86.2.
The time is now. Mr. Wilson, has said he won’t sell the franchise while he is alive, which frankly may not be too much longer. If the Bills keep losing there’s no reason to not seriously consider they might move away, maybe to Toronto: a place that will see a pre- and regular season game for the next few years.
Several Canadian businessmen have expressed interest in buying the team.
Was the Toronto deal that Wilson made an attempt at testing the market for a bid or to provide an influx of cash and buy some time for the franchise to win now?
No one knows what will happen to the franchise after Wilson’s death. After the death of his daughter Linda in May, pro football’s first female scout, he has no family members that have expressed interest in taking over the ownership rights.
Former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly has been rumored to have shown some interest in buying the team. His increased involvement with the team has been more evident the past few seasons and is beneficial to the organization from a visibility standpoint for the fans.
Everyone around Wilson is passing away making 2009 a sad time for Wilson with the death of veteran scout Bob Ryan and former Bills great quarterback, Jack Kemp, in addition to his daughter.
But Wilson continues to press on and persevere with heavy heart.
So, to the 2009 Buffalo Bills: win for yourself, win for your coaches, win for the fans, win for the game, win for the city, win because they said you couldn't, but most of all, because of his dedication towards the game, win one for Mr. Wilson.
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