Chris Berman Comments on Ralph Wilson and his Hall of Fame Induction

As the man in charge of the Buffalo Bills, Ralph Wilson was one of the American Football League’s original eight franchise owners.  Today he is one of just two such men still in football (the other being Bud Adams of the Tennessee Titans), and the only one with his original team and city.  In this short video, Chris Berman, an AFL fan of the highest regard, discusses what has made Ralph Wilson such an asset to professional football, and why he was such a deserving Hall of Fame inductee in 2009.


Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

2 Responses to Chris Berman Comments on Ralph Wilson and his Hall of Fame Induction

  1. Rick Smith says:

    Photos of War Memorial Stadium remind one of the movie The Natural, which was filmed in that Western New York version of old Balboa Stadium.

  2. Tom says:

    I know nothing other than what I’ve read about Ralph Wilson Jr, learned he had a thing or two in common, with one time Chargers owner Gene Klein, both owned original AFL teams, and race horses.

    I know something of Bob Chandler, Bob played 12 NFL seasons 9 in Buffalo and three in LA with the Raiders, after cutting his teeth at USC. Bob and I were High School teammates, he was a grade ahead, low key BMOC. From 1975 to 80 he caught more passes in the five full season he played, than Issac Curtis, Harold Carmichael, Cliff Branch, Mel Gray and some others, they all made multiple Pro Bowls, Bob never did, he probably watched them all to the end.

    I have more than one memory, one, waiting for him to show up for a school yard touch game and getting pissed, wondering what he was doing, and impatiently, asking his best friend Where is he?” and his close friend saying he’s coming, we have to wait, we don’t have a choice, he has the football. When he arrived he said “Sorry I’m late, I had to watch Namath and the end of the Jets game”, like that was a good enough excuse, you know “a boy’s got to watch his idol and the end of the Jets game”. and me saying something to to myself, I won’t repeat here. Shooting pool with him at George Buehler’s parents home his senior year, it was a pre season team dinner, put on by the Buehlers, my first scrimmage against him in high school, and the last defensive play his senior year, a play that turned out badly.

    USC gave him a football scholarship after watching him play basketball and me from age 14 telling anyone that would listen that he was going to be a pro.
    Playing every day against him in the summers, especially the summer of 1968 before his Soph season at USC, he was so wanting to please coach McKay and make it big at QB. He practiced the roll out and throwing on the run all summer to no avail, Steve Sogge got the nod and Bob went to wide reciever and never looked back.
    The summer before his senior year at USC he lived above Pats liquor with Jerry Moon Mullins in Manhattan Beach and going to parties at his neighbors house who was a USU teammate of mine.

    When I heard he was ill I didn’t think much of it, when told it was lung cancer, first I was surprised, a non smoker and all. and thought about growing up in Whittier an LA County City before AQMD< unleaded gas etc, below Rose Hills in a basin that was often smog filled. Today the smog has been regulated away and Bob is buried alongside his mother Marylyn and father Gene in those Rose Hills. On a clear day you can see the Rose Bowl where he was named MVP in the 1970 Rose Bowl game and the Coliseum, where he played with the Trojans and with the 1980 Super Bowl Champ Raiders.

    I was at the game when he first injured the lung, It was the 1969 USC Spring game in the Coliseum. He caught a pass went out of bounds, the whistle blew to end the play and Tyrone Hudson (LA Roosevelt HS), grabbed him from behind, lifted him and slammed him with all his might back first, on to the long jump running surface, Bob got up head down, we could tell he was hurt, but he hid it pretty good and began to run it off, this is a guy that broke an ankle in a game his junior year in high school at tailback, on the second play and played the rest of the half without even taping the ankle, so he had a high tolerance for pain, too high. Later it was learned that he had broken ribs that punctured his lung and the surgeon at LA Orthopedic Hospital, brought him back to life. I wish someone, somewhere, could do it again.

Leave a Reply