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Re-Airing: Ralph Wilson - A Living Legacy Special

12:29 AM, Feb 14, 2013   |    comments
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By Adam Benigni

If you missed it over the weekend, 2-On-Your-Side will be re-airing our Ralph Wilson legacy special three times this week over the air on WGRZ 2-2, Time Warner 114, and 460 on Fios.

It is scheduled to air Wednesday at 7:00pm, Friday at 10:00pm, and Sunday at 2:00pm.

This is a project we actually started back in November.  Along the lines of the in-depth reporting that WGRZ has developed a reputation for doing, it was suggested we do an hour long look at Ralph Wilson as one of the most influential men in the history of Western New York.

It became especially timely on New Year's Day when for just the second time during his ownership, he passed on the title of team president.  

Wilson is 94, and he's likely given up operational control of the team for the final time.   That to me signals the end of a very significant era and lends additional meaning to a project like this one.

We asked that Mr. Wilson take part, but at this point he has not granted us an interview.  Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon did contribute along with a host of others.   That list includes Jim Kelly, Bill Polian, Marv Levy, Steve Tasker, Booker Edgerson, Ed Rutkowski, Mark Gaughan and Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News, and Joe Horrigan from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It goes without saying that we'll also hear from Ed Kilgore who has covered sports in Buffalo since 1973.   Veteran reporter Scott Brown will also look at Wilson's tenure from a news and political perspective.

Our goal has been to provide a balanced look at the past, present, and future of Wilson's ownership.  Obviously there are a myriad of contributions and questions involved, and we've tried to do our best to highlight the most significant ones. 

Having worked here since 1997, I have certainly developed a sense of many of those over the years, along with an appreciation for the impact Wilson has had on the game as an original AFL owner, and a driving force behind the merger with the NFL and the development of the game as we know it today.

I've also covered the 13-year playoff drought, and realize that Ralph has many shortcomings as an owner as well.   His willingness to spend money, his ability to trust those who work for him, and his reactions in terms of some of the decisions he's made when those relationships don't go well.  It's certainly fueled a high level of frustration among Bills fans despite Wilson's Hall of Fame legacy.

We hope you join us Saturday night  at 9pm on Channel 2 for the first airing of this program, and hope you find it both entertaining and informative.

-abenigni@wgrz.gannett.com

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