The Buffalo Bills made sure that Tim Russert will forever be remembered by Bills fans for his love of the team and the city of Buffalo on Sunday.
In a special ceremony with the Russert family and friends before the Bills vs. 49er’s game, the Bills renamed the 12th Man Walk of Fame, “Tim Russert Plaza” and dedicated the plaza in his honor.
The official dedication took place outside the main gate at Ralph Wilson Stadium where Russ Brandon, Bills chief operating officer, spoke on behalf of Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Brandon read a letter from Mr. Wilson that said, “I regret I cannot be in attendance for the dedication of the Tim Russert Plaza, which will be located inside the main gate, encompassing the Walk of Fame and a plaque in Tim’s honor. Tim Russert was a wonderful human being and a brilliant journalist, as well as a great family man who was humble and caring. He was born in Buffalo and was taken to Bills games by his father at a very early age, and became a life-long Bills fan who often closed his television program, Meet the Press, with ‘Go Bills.’ Today, we pay homage to Tim, who left us much too soon. We honor him with this plaza named for him, and we present his widow Maureen with this memorial brick which symbolizes the admiration for one so respected. Tim had great passion for the Bills, and he reveled in our wins, and forgave us for our fumbles. Who could ask for anything more. Maureen, please accept this brick with our deepest affection, and we are honored to have you and your family here today in Tim’s memory. With deepest respect, Ralph C. Wilson Jr.”
Brandon presented Tim’s wife Maureen and son Luke with the first memorial brick with the Russert Family name etched on the brick. Maureen and Luke then unveiled a permanent plaque of Tim Russert’s image wearing his Bills jersey and a big grin. Maureen placed her hand gently on the plaque and son Luke smiled warmly. Tim’s three sisters and family joined Maureen and Luke as they admired the plaque and quietly took in the touching moment.
Under the heading TIM RUSSERT PLAZA, the plaque reads, “This plaza is dedicated to the memory of Tim Russert, a Family Man, Proud Buffalonian, Host of Meet the Press and the Epitome of A True Bills Fan…Passionate About the Bills and Forever Optimistic. “GO BILLS!”
After the unveiling, Tim’s wife Maureen said, “We want to thank you so much for this honor. I can’t imagine anything that Tim would love better than being commemorated here, because the Bills gave Tim his highest highs and his lowest lows, and we really know that he is now with you guys and the Bills forever. Thank you so very much.”
Tim’s son Luke smiled and said that when the Bills started out 4-0 there was an angel looking down on the team, and in the midst of the team’s losses the angel may have taken some time off. Strikingly similar to his dad in looks, he also sounded like his dad stating, “We want to thank Mr. Wilson, Mr. Brandon, and Scott Berchtold from the Bills for getting this done. It’s been an unbelievable honor for our family.”
The Tim Russert Plaza dedication ended fittingly when Luke said, ”Go Bills!”