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MemoraBillia: Wilson's priceless Hall collection


By Tim Graham

CANTON, Ohio -- Of all the displays I saw at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the one that struck me most Friday was in the showcase inside the new Ralph Wilson Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center.

The case is unassuming, a simple glass cabinet with seven items that should resonate with any Buffalo Bills fan.

Six of the pieces relate directly to the Bills: a vintage standing buffalo helmet with a single-bar facemask, Bruce Smith's red helmet, Billy Shaw's cleats, a program from the 1990 AFC Championship game and team-signed footballs from Buffalo's 1964 and 1965 AFL championship teams. The balls were donated to Milt Woodard, a former sportswriter who served as AFL president.

The seventh item was the most remarkable: a shadowbox of Wilson's eight World War II medals.


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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |