The Buffalo Bills issued this statement regarding the passing of their owner Ralph Wilson:
"I speak for everyone within the Bills organization when I say that we are all suffering a deep and profound sadness with the passing of our Hall of Fame owner Mr. Wilson," said Bills CEO and President Russ Brandon. "We have lost our founder, our mentor, our friend, and this is a very difficult time for us all. We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Mary, his daughters Christy and Dee Dee (Edith), his niece Mary and his entire family. "Mr. Wilson had a relentless passion, a deep love for his Buffalo Bills, the City of Buffalo and the National Football League. He also loved the Bills fans and all of the people of Western New York who embraced the Bills.
"This incredible man was the personification of the Buffalo Bills. His life was grit, determination and resolve. He was bigger than life in many ways and yet he was the everyday man, driving his Ford Taurus to the local store and greeting everyone as they called out "Hi Ralph!" He will be greatly missed by those in our community whose lives he touched.
"Mr. Wilson was a man of true integrity, charisma and a hero in every sense of the word. His service to his country in the South Pacific in World War II is well documented. He was a pioneer in the American Football League. He was instrumental in forging the merger between the AFL and the NFL. Mr. Wilson will long be remembered as a man who was true to his word and did countless acts of kindness and generosity for so many, while never seeking the limelight in doing so.
"More than anything, he wanted to bring a Super Bowl Championship to Western New York. He wanted it for the players, the coaches and the franchise. But mostly he wanted it for the fans. No owner has wanted a title more for these reasons than Mr. Wilson. In the end, he was extremely proud that his Bills are the only team to have played in four consecutive Super Bowls.
"For those of us fortunate to have worked for him, we'll miss his kindness, his insight, his leadership, but mostly his sense of humor. He possessed the unique ability to turn a negative into a positive.
"Our organization, our league, our community has lost a great man.
"Right now all of us are absorbing this tremendous personal loss. We are performing our day-to-day functions as we normally would. We understand our fans' curiosity in wanting to know what the future holds for our organization and that will be addressed in the near future. But at this time, we are committed to honoring the life and legacy of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., the man who delivered NFL football to Buffalo."
STATEMENT FROM BILLS GENERAL MANAGER DOUG WHALEY
"Since I joined the Buffalo Bills organization four years ago, I have been truly humbled to work for a man like Mr. Wilson – someone with so much knowledge of the game of football and someone so important to the growth and stabilization of the National Football League in the past half century. Men like Mr. Wilson, Mr. Rooney and George Halas are pioneers of this league and entered this business for the love of the sport and not for the economics. I admire those pioneers for their principles.
My heart goes out to the Wilson family and our fellow employees at the Bills organization. When I heard the news, I melted. Mr. Wilson has affected my life tremendously in my relatively short time with the team.
He has set the foundation and laid the blueprint for us to build a winning organization. Mr. Wilson said it best 'this is a people business'. He cared about everyone – from the security guards to the training staff to the players, coaches and management. We are a family and everybody matters. That is the blueprint Mr. Wilson put forth for us and I along with Russ Brandon and Doug Marrone subscribe to it whole-heartedly. We are all in this together as we move forward on this journey to getting the Bills back to being a consistent, competitive team competing for championships. We are all pointed in one direction and we will continue fighting to get to where we need to be."
STATEMENT FROM BILLS HEAD COACH DOUG MARRONE
"First and foremost, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Mary Wilson and the Wilson family during this extremely difficult time.
Prior to joining the Buffalo Bills, I was aware of Mr. Wilson's role as a visionary leader in development and growth of the National Football League in his 54 years as owner of one of the most storied franchises. But when I joined his beloved organization as its head coach a little more than a year ago, my admiration for him only grew. I have met and spoken with Mr. Wilson on occasion through this year and I can honestly say there is no one who cared more for his players, coaches and his entire organization.
He lived his life to make a difference in both the game of football and the communities he held dear to his heart – Buffalo and his hometown of Detroit – as well as numerous other initiatives around the country. Our players and coaches greatly admired Mr. Wilson for the lasting impact he made on this organization the opportunity he afforded us to represent his team in the National Football League."