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Ralph Wilson family's NFL ownership ending where it began

Ralph Wilson began his run as a pro football owner in Detroit, and his family's run in that role will end in Detroit, as well.

Joe Robbins

Next week, NFL owners will vote on Kim and Terry Pegula's ownership bid, and it's widely presumed they will be approved as the next owners of the Buffalo Bills. If that holds true, this Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions will be the final contest in the Wilson family ownership era.

It's fitting that the Wilsons' final game as an NFL owner comes in Ralph Wilson's hometown, and where he first became an NFL owner. Prior to founding the Bills, Wilson was a minority owner for the Lions in the 1950s. When he wanted more control, he started his own team in the newly formed American Football League as a member of the Foolish Club.

As a byproduct of Wilson's relationship with the Lions, the Bills wore blue and grey jerseys instead of the familiar red, white, and blue in their first season, in what some have said were Detroit's hand-me-down jerseys. The two teams have also played a yearly preseason game for more than two decades.

Wilson passed away this March, just a couple weeks after Lions owner William Clay Ford, Sr. One of Wilson's final public appearances was at Ford's funeral. Despite owning a team in Buffalo and businesses around the country, Wilson never left his home in Michigan. It's another testament to his loyalty, and while it's a coincidence that the final game with the Wilsons at the head of the table is in Detroit, it's a welcome one.