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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Joining the club

   October 28, 1959 -- It's official.

   As expected, Ralph Wilson's application for a franchise in the American Football League was accepted by the rest of the owners. That meant professional football would come to Buffalo the following summer, and that Wilson was a full-fledged member of the so-called "Foolish Club."

   The Bills became the seventh team for the AFL, joining Minneapolis, Denver, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston and New York. Boston eventually became team number eight.

  It was just a wild gamble because bucking the NFL was a major task," Wilson said in the book, "Rockin' the Rockpile." "It was like starting an automobile company and bucking General Motors."

   The franchise represented something of a consolation prize for the city. Buffalo had been an applicant for an NFL franchise when that league decided to expand, but came up short. Eventually, the Minneapolis franchise jumped to the NFL, and was replaced by Oakland.

   As it turned out, challenging the established National Football League didn't turn out to be so foolish, did it?

 --- Budd Bailey

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