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Important Dates in Bills History: Oct. 28, 1959. Buffalo granted AFL franchise


Important Dates in Bills History, presented by M&T Bank, helps fans recognize what's important. In the NFL, a franchise's legacy is important and on Oct. 28, 1959, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. made history as he was named the principal owner of a professional football team in Buffalo.

Under Wilson's leadership, Buffalo became the American Football League's (AFL) seventh franchise. An astute businessman from Detroit, Wilson was a key member of the "Foolish Club," which helped create the AFL. Naming his newly awarded football team the "Buffalo Bills," on Nov. 30, 1959, Wilson would forever leave a mark on the Western New York community and professional football as we know it. 

During the height of Buffalo's years playing in the AFL, the franchise posted two consecutive AFL Championships in 1964 and 1965. Soon after, Wilson, who was well respected for his guidance and football expertise, played an integral role in the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The blockbuster move, helped shape the League into what it is today.

Throughout Buffalo's rich history, the franchise has recorded four consecutive AFC conference titles, named 30 to the team's Wall of Fame, retired two jersey numbers, sent 11 to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and created countless memories. The franchise's legacy would not have been possible without the support of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Thanks to his passion and dedication, the Bills found a home in Buffalo.

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