by Terry Duffy
"One team; one goal; One Buffalo" Those six words set the theme Sunday to the close of one of the most historical periods in Buffalo sports history - the $1.48 billion purchase of the Buffalo Bills by Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula.
ESPN's Chris Berman introduced the Pegulas by video prior to the start of the Bills-New England Patriots game with a brief but memorable recap of the Bills 55-year history. He lauded late Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson, who passed away this past March, for his dedication to the team and city.
"On Wednesday, Oct. 28, 1959, a team was created. On Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2014, a city was united. 'One team; one goal; One Buffalo,' " he said. "Ladies and gentlemen, let's give a welcome to the second owner in Buffalo Bills history."
With that, came the near-deafening shouts of "Terry, Terry, Terry" for several minutes by more than 70,000 rancorous fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium as the Pegula family was introduced on the field. Coupled with the "One Buffalo" message seen by thousands of fan-carrying placards in the stands, Sunday ranked as one of the most memorable days in the four decades of the stadium's existence.
"OK, OK, that's enough," the usually low-key Pegula responded. Ranked by Forbes as the fourth wealthiest owner in the NFL, he said, "I must say there are few times in life that I'm second at anything, but to follow Ralph Wilson ... I accept that."
Thanking the crowd for its affection, Pegula turned his attention to the Bills players gathered across the field and told fans, "All the drive, emotion ... you need to give that to your football team today."
Heading off the field, Pegula threw out some humor as he asked, "Anyone seen my dog?" Pegula was referring to his first-ever meeting with Patriot's owner Robert Kraft, mentioned at Friday's introduction, when he and Kim brought Sidney, their family dog, into Kraft's office at One Patriot Place in Foxboro.
Unfortunately, the Bills came up on the wrong end of a lopsided 37-22 loss to the Pats. (photos and video by Terry Duffy)
In the photos, the "One Buffalo" message shown at the Ralph, and the Pegulas depart the sideline following the event.