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This Day in Bills History, Oct. 17: Buffalo's biggest sports moment

Oct. 17, 1959 – In the late 1950s, a Dallas man by the name of Lamar Hunt asked NFL Commissioner Bert Bell about his chances of acquiring an expansion team for his city. He was told that the NFL had to settle the financial problems of the Chicago Cardinals, and then planned to put an expansion team in Buffalo.

Hunt became tired of waiting, and started making phone calls to try to find owners for a new football league. One of his calls was to a Detroit man by the name of Ralph Wilson, who owned a small share of the Lions.

Wilson looked into Miami at first as a possible destination for a team. But then he contacted Buffalo’s civic officials, who were tired of waiting for the NFL to act. Wilson received plenty of encouragement, and decided to act.

This is the day that Buffalo entered the American Football League, perhaps the most significant event in the city’s sports history.

Budd Bailey is a retired sports reporter and editor at The Buffalo News. He is also the author of "Today in Buffalo Sports History." Learn more about the book here.

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