The Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame currently contains 25 names, but the very first name to go up was O.J. Simpson, who joined the Wall on this date in 1980.
1980 was a year full of accolades for the retired Simpson. In July, Simpson and former teammate Joe DeLamielleure were recognized as members of the NFL's All-70s team.
Most Bills fans know the story of the Simpson's Hall of Fame career. They know he was the Bills' first Hall of Fame inductee, in 1985. They know he was the prolific running back who became the first to run for 2,000 yards in a season. Simply put, The Juice was on the loose. They also know about his troubles since leaving the game.
Fewer know the story of the Wall of Fame.
The Wall of Fame Committee is a group of local sports journalists that meets annually to select a new member for the Wall. They were also in charge of nominating members of the 50th Anniversary Team announced last year. Sports writers like former Buffalo News writer Larry Felser and the Olean Times-Herald's Chuck Pollack, along with TV/radio personalities like the current "voice of the Bills," John Murphy, carefully deliberate. Ralph Wilson is not a voting member of the committee, but is said to have a large sway over the men, and is rumored to be keeping notable former Bills Lou Saban and Cookie Gilchrist from the honor.
The current Wall of Fame members are (* denotes a non-player): O.J. Simpson, Billy Shaw, Jack Kemp, Patrick McGroder*, Tom Sestak, Ralph Wilson, Jr.*, The 12th Man*, Elbert Dubenion, Mike Stratton, Joe Ferguson, Marv Levy, Joe DeLamielleure, , Ed Abramoski*, Bob Kalsu, George Saimes, Jim Kelly, Fred Smerlas, Kent Hull, Darryl Talley, Jim Ritcher, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Steve Tasker, Bruce Smith and new enshrinee Booker Edgerson.
Simpson was honored at halftime of a 20-10 win over the New York Jets.