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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Worth reading

   October 17, 1959 -- Is this the anniversary of the most significant day in Buffalo sports history? It very well may be.

   Ralph Wilson announced on this day that he would place an American Football League franchise in Buffalo. Wilson, a Detroit-area resident, had looked at Miami as a destination for the team but decided to place a team in Buffalo after speaking with civic leaders.

   One of them was George Schaaf, a building contractor who had been Wilson's commander on a World War II mindsweeper. Wilson also consulted with Paul Neville, the sports editor of the Buffalo News. Neville broke the story about the Bills' application for an AFL team.

   "Eleven years was a long time [without football], and I knew Buffalo had had many disappointments through promises from the NFL that had never materialized," Wilson said. "But George and many other of Buffalo's most prominent citizens convinced me that the city was one of the greatest sports towns in America."

   It took less than seven years for Buffalo to be a member of the National Football League, thus putting the city firmly on the national map.

--- Budd Bailey

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