Ralph Wilson: At 93, I want to win now


Why were the Bills so aggressive about making a big splash at the start of free agency and signing Mario Williams? Partially because 93-year-old owner Ralph Wilson says he doesn’t have time to be patient.

“I’d like to see us make the playoffs and possibly the Super Bowl while I’m around,” Wilson told the Buffalo News. “I don’t expect to be around that many years.”

The Bills haven’t typically been huge spenders in free agency, but Williams’ six-year, $96 million contract is money that Wilson is more than happy to spend.

“I didn’t give a darn about the money,” Wilson said. “I can’t take the money with me. The money had nothing to do with it.”

Asked how he celebrated signing Williams, Wilson — the NFL’s oldest owner — said he didn’t.

“The same way I did yesterday,” Wilson said, “staying home and having dinner and playing cards with my wife.”

Wilson sounds as happy to pay Williams $96 million as Williams is to make it.

“It was a big win today,” Wilson said, “a big win for everybody.”

70 responses to “Ralph Wilson: At 93, I want to win now

  1. Good for you, Ralph. But couldn’t you have spent this money 8 years ago when my then 93 year old imaginary Grandfather was still around to see his beloved Bills?

  2. Im no bills fan, but that is a good owner. Great attitude. You can’t take the money with ya to the next life, spend it on great memories.

  3. I’m no Bills fan, but I just find that team hard to root against.

    Teams like Buffalo, Kansas City, Carolina have good young teams with re-energized fan bases that I see doing well for years to come.

    It’s about time to show that there’s other NFL teams out there that are legitimate contenders.

  4. Most arrogant fan base? how intelligent of you to make that observation. Im no Bills fan, but the organization is top notch.

  5. It is going to take much more than one player to turn the Bills into a playoff team. If he really wants to win now, he can mortgage away the future, trading future draft picks for current talent, and loading up on free agents now at a cost of being in salary cap hell later. Mario is only a small piece of what he needs if he’s serious about winning a super bowl.

  6. @jtchernak Are you kidding? Arrogant? The Bills? Last winning season was 2004. Let the Bills fans be happy for once. Whether or not it pans out so well for them, it’s okay to just let someone be happy without trying to rain crap all over them.

    Side note: It’s good to see Ralph Wilson finally ponied up the cash after so many years of being viewed as a money-oriented owner.

  7. @jtchernak
    You clearly never met a steelers fan who brought up the fact that the steelers have 6 championships when you’re trying to argue who is the better safety between Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. Ugh.

  8. Good luck Buffalo. You can’t help but root for a small market team like the Bills. They get no breaks, but they soldier on. I’m not a Bills fan, but I hope they do well.

  9. Jtchernak
    Don’t litter the comments with your personal experiences and feelings about a certain teams fans. If you don’t like what other fans have to say then you yourself should also not be posting. Can’t take the heat? Get out of the kitchen. I love my fellow Bills fans particularly because we have nothing to be arrogant about and therefore have no bandwagon fans.

  10. seatownballers, so, a “good owner” is being a stingy fool his entire life right up until the point where he is minutes from shuffling off this mortal coil? So NOW he wants to win one before he takes his everlasting dirtnap? Give me a break. He’s the worst type of owner. He should have opened up that coin purse long ago, shame on him for waiting to do it on his deathbed.

  11. Remember, No Mr. Wilson, no team in Buffalo. He brought the team here 51 years ago and has resisted many opportunities for quick cash by not selling or moving the franchise. Mr. Wilson’s generosity has always been prevalent. Too bad there are the odd few who think just because he’s not a jack*ss like Dan Snyder or Jerry Jones, he’s cheap. Let’s go Buffa-lo-oh!!!

  12. I hope Ralph get a SB championship before he heads off to the football fields in the sky!

    I know my Grandma sure would of loved celebrating a Bills SB win before she passed away. Boy, she loved Jim Kelly when he was doing good but, the second he threw that next interception she’d start throwing out the curse words, thats what partly got me so addicted to the Bills. Go Bills!!!! #BillsMafia #BillsNation

  13. As a dolphins fan I am ok with this atleast he isn’t chasing a player that doesn’t wanna be there

  14. as far as 93 year olds spouses go this guys wife is still pretty foxy. lets hope this guy out lives NYS death tax or the bills are gonna be in trouble. long live the ralph!

  15. wtf kinda chant is buffa-lo-oh?

    not sure if it offends me more as a bils fan or a phonics teacher, anyway……


  16. Hopefully it works out for the Bills. However, I can’t remember the last team that bought a title. Spending that much on one player can hurt the team in the long run.

    I do like his attitude though, too bad more owners don’t have it eariler and more often.

  17. ?!?!?

    jtchernak says:
    Mar 16, 2012 6:50 AM
    Most arrogant fan base around


    That has to be one of the most Ignorant statements I’ve ever heard. You might be talking about a couple of arrogant people who sing the praises of the Bills … and likely just to get under your skin …

  18. jtchernak says:
    Mar 16, 2012 6:50 AM
    Most arrogant fan base around
    Wow, really? Because the last word I think of when it comes to Bills fans is”arrogant”. This Ravens fan(and sadly Orioles fan) understands that rooting for a team in tough times isn’t easy, but that’s what defines a true fan. Bills fans are up there with the best of them and has a smaller market guy I can only respect that.

  19. Ralph Wilson is in the Hall of Fame. I hope the Bills can muster a Super Bowl just for this guy. The Bills have their Gipper.

  20. @buffobeel42
    Ralph also lent money to keep the Raiders and Patriots afloat in the AFL’s early days. He continually has done charity work and even turned one of the Bills’ old practice fields into a youth football stadium with grandstand and scoreboard.

    He’s had some flaws too, but who doesn’t?

  21. I think the cash minimum floor imposed by the CBA kind of put him in a position where he was going to spend some serious money, may as well spend it on the best FA available I guess.

  22. trolls used to get on the bills for their cheap owner, now they say it still wont make a difference. its still mind boggling to me how a team thats been in the basement for a decade can draw this kind of hatred.
    you are a real piece of work if you are doing this.

  23. jtchernak says:Mar 16, 2012 6:50 AM

    Most arrogant fan base around

    LOL!! This is too funny. Im a Bills fan and for over 12 years, myself and the rest of the Bills Mafia has had to endure mediocrity and this guy thinks the fan base is arrogant…LOL!!

    Must be a Pats fan…

  24. Ralph should refer to his old buddy Al. You can’t just go a spending spree.

    Bills will be in the Raiders situation – clean house when Wilson’s gone

  25. While I’m not a Bills fan, I hope that they do win a Super Bowl, not only for Mr. Wilson but for the long-suffering fans of Buffalo. My only hope is that I don’t have to wait until I’m 93 to see my beloved and equally long-suffering Vikings win a Super Bowl (only 44 more years to make that happen).

  26. jtchernak says:
    Mar 16, 2012 6:50 AM
    Most arrogant fan base around

    Not a BIlls fan.. But i have to disagree. Cleveland fans are, they act like everything is owed to them, Like Cleveland is the best place in america…and its not at all

  27. It’s funny how Dan Snyder gets thrown into this. Getting old people. As a skins fan, I truly respect the Bills fans. Went to a game some time ago in Buffalo, and the fans were great. They were very respectful. Ralph has been a great owner, and hope he get’s what he wants. I say go for it Ralph. Your fans will love you for that.

  28. coming from the Virgin Islands and having never even been to Buffalo, I am constantly asked why I love this team so much and why I don’t follow one with a few more checks in the win column. Even through 12 years of watching everyone else get excited about playoffs and superbowls, and watching the Bills come in last place the past four seasons, I have never once wavered as a Bills fan. I love this team because they are one of the last teams left to play with heart. The ownership, lore, and history. And right up there with all of that, I love this team because of the fans, best fans in football. Thank you for everything Mr. Wilson, although the win-loss record for the past decade may not show it, it’still great to be a Bills fan and every Sunday I feel like your boys still have a chance, regardless of what happened the last Sunday, the last year, or the last 10 years. Can’t wait for opening day!

  29. from the Pro Football Hall of Fame:


    Class of 2009
    (Virginia, Michigan)

    One of original founders of American Football League. . .During tenure as Bills owner, team won two AFL Championships and unprecedented four straight AFC championships. . .Bills 103 regular season wins, second most in NFL during 1990s. . . Helped lead AFL through early years making tough decisions that were necessary for league’s survival. . . Began talks with Carroll Rosenbloom, then owner of NFL’s Colts in January 1965, that eventually resulted in AFL-NFL merger. . .Born October 17, 1918 in Columbus, Ohio.

    He was a guiding force in AFL policies that ensured success, such as gate and television revenue sharing. As one of only three AFL owners to be on relatively solid financial ground (along with Hunt and Bud Adams), Wilson lent the financially troubled Oakland Raiders $400,000 and was also willing to lend money to Billy Sullivan of the Patriots. Wilson helped keep those franchises afloat, likely saving the entire league from folding (the AFL was unique among professional football league in that not a single AFL franchise folded in its history).

    Wilson enlisted in the Navy and was in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters during World War II.

    Yeah, if he’s the “worst type of owner”, I’ll take two.

  30. This headline is eerily similar to Leon Hess about 15 yrs. ago, saying he wants to win now before he is gone.

    It didn’t work out so well for Mr. Hess, perhaps Mr. Wilson will get his wish.

  31. It’s interesting to find Buffalo so polarizing. Yesterday, having just re-signed with the Panthers, Geoff Hangartner was on the local sports talk radio show, with absolutely nothing nice to say about Buffalo. He mentioned the “beautiful” weather (his voice dripping with sarcasm), and the fact that he managed to get engaged to the only good-looking woman in the city before returning to the Panthers. I guess Buffalo is a city that is good for some, not good for others.

    As for the Bills, Mario plus Darius makes for a good D-line. But I just can’t see Fitzpatrick carrying them to a Super Bowl win.

  32. too little too late. blow a ton of cash, kick the bucket and leave the team cap strapped for several years. should just wait for tom brady to retire so they have a prayer

  33. @jtchernak
    You clearly never met a steelers fan who brought up the fact that the steelers have 6 championships when you’re trying to argue who is the better safety between Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. Ugh.
    You said it bro, that is the “when all else fails” move right there. Next time do what I do, ask them to recite the 6 years that they won, and when they get on their smartphone to google it, just sit back and enjoy watching a fairweather fan in action 🙂

    When I invision what you look like, I see that guy that wears a helmet with a leash connecting from your collar to your mom’s hand. When you try to encounter normal citizens, I can see your mom pulling you back over and over like a dog with a sniffing addiction. P.S. No matter what your favorite sports team does, that never and I mean NEVER has a lick to do with your life or lack there of.

  34. poor guy lost all those big games with a hell of a team. I loved those teams as a kid when my steelers sucked. tally reed thomas kelly man ill never get over the fact that they didn’t win at least one of those. and when they make it back they get ripped by the robbery in nashville I think they call it. good luck Mr. wilson

  35. This is classic. I guess he saw no need to panic when he was in his late 80’s to early 90’s. 93 is the magic number. NOW I’m worried. He’s able to spend now because he hasn’t for years. But he’s the best!

  36. Good luck, Wilson.

    I admire a guy physically and mentally capable at that age.

    He’s done something right.

  37. Sorry Ralph!!!

    Your team won’t as long as you own the team!!!

    I’m sorry, but I don’t know why he’s a Hall of Famer!!!

  38. I’m a Lions fan. Mr. Wilson was a Detroit kid and once owned part of the Detroit Lions. I wish him well. Vegas would make it 1000 to 1 but I’d love to see the Bills play the Lions in a Super Bowl. Two owners who are both true gentlemen.

  39. The way Ralph was ogling Mario during that presser harkened me back to the days of J Howard Marshall and Anna Nicole Smith.

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