5 Ways That Ralph Wilson Helped Make the NFL What It Is Today

5 Ways That Ralph Wilson Helped Make the NFL What It Is Today

Ralph Wilson
Getty Images

With the tragic passing of 95-year old football legend Ralph Wilson, it's time to look back on the enormous impact he had on America's most popular sport. He was the owner of the Bills for over half a century and truly helped shape the NFL into what it is today. Here are just five ways that he helped turn the NFL into what it currently is.

5. Gate and Revenue Sharing in the AFC

Ralph Wilson
Getty Images

5. Gate and Revenue Sharing in the AFC

Ralph Wilson
Getty Images

It may seem commonplace now, but revenue sharing was new when Wilson helped come up with it. The point of it was to ensure a level playing field for all teams with parity throughout the league. This and other measures have made sure the NFL is the most competitive league in American professional sports.

4. Brought NFL Games to Other Countries

Ralph Wilson
Getty Images

4. Brought NFL Games to Other Countries

Ralph Wilson
Getty Images

Wilson first locked up a deal to have his Bills play one "home" game a year in Toronto in 2008. When this went well, it paved the way for the NFL to attempt games in London. Thanks to his forward thinking, perhaps the NFL will play games in even more countries in the future.

3. Helped Develop Football Into Most Popular Sport In America

Ralph Wilson
Getty Images

3. Helped Develop Football Into Most Popular Sport In America

Ralph Wilson
Getty Images

After hearing of his passing, commissioner Roger Goodell said, "Ralph Wilson was a driving force in developing pro football into America's most popular sport." Goodell isn't exaggerating. Wilson was truly a visionary and that vision mixed with other owners' visions helped build the league up into the multi-billion dollar business it is today.

2. Co-Founded AFL

Ralph Wilson
Getty Images

2. Co-Founded AFC

Ralph Wilson
Getty Images

Along with some other football owners, Wilson grabbed up a pro football franchise and moved them to Buffalo, naming them the Bills. Shortly thereafter, he and other owners developed an up start league to rival the NFL. Eventually, they would be involved in the same entity they were trying to compete with.

1. Helped 1970 AFL-NFL Merger

Ralph Wilson
Getty Images

1. Helped 1970 AFL-NFL Merger

Ralph Wilson
Getty Images

After the AFL proved they could hold their own against the NFL in the first few Super Bowls, it was clear the two leagues should merge in order to improve league play in both leagues. Wilson, taking on a leadership role once again, was a huge reason for the merger that helped the NFL gain the notoriety it has today.


Around the Web