The Buffalo Bills announced today the organization will commission a statue to be made of Ralph C. Wilson Jr. The statue will be displayed outside of Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park.
Wilson passed away one year ago today at the age of 95. He was the sole owner of the Bills franchise for 54 seasons after purchasing the team Oct. 28, 1959. Under his leadership, the Bills won two American Football League Championships in 1964 and 1965 and appeared in an unprecedented four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990s.
Wilson, along with former Bills head coach Marv Levy, former General Manager Bill Polian and eight of his players, have earned football's highest honor by being inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame.
"Mr. Wilson was an icon in both the professional football world and in the Western New York community," Bills owner Kim Pegula said. "This is our opportunity to honor his legacy and to allow our fans to share their game-day experience with the man who brought professional football (to) Buffalo."
The construction of the statue is a
collaborative effort between Terry and Kim Pegula and Mary Wilson.
It will serve as the anchor display in the soon-to-be-developed Founder's Plaza, which will be located northwest of The Bills Store at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Wilson's statue will be the first displayed on the stadium grounds.
"It just seems so fitting to honor Ralph with a statue in Founder's Plaza where fans will have the opportunity to interact and pose for photos," Mary Wilson said. "Ralph was so approachable. And he absolutely loved the fans and he would have been honored and humbled to stand among them for all-time.
"I think everyone will appreciate the detail in the statue, even to the point that it replicates what Ralph wore to the stadium on game days. And I want to thank Terry and Kim Pegula for honoring Ralph in this special way."
The life-size statue is based on a photo taken of Wilson with Thurman Thomas along the sidelines Oct. 21, 1990, during Buffalo's 30-27 victory over the New York Jets.
Additional details regarding the construction and official timeline for completion of the project will be announced at a later date.