by Matt Steinberg

Bills50For fifty years, Buffalo Bills fans have used those words to root for the red, white and blue, starting at War Memorial Stadium and now at “the Ralph”. To celebrate the team’s golden anniversary, the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society is running an exhibit now until February 7, 2010, titled “It’s Amazing How Long a Moment Can Last”. It’s truly a multimedia event – in addition to traditional displays of artifacts, there is a touch screen with a trivia quiz, a booth to call a game as a play-by-play announcer, the complete broadcast of the famous “Greatest Comeback Ever” wild card playoff game, and a stirring History of the Bills film, produced by NFL Films. The film is really outstanding, letting me re-experience the 20 seasons that I remember, and telling me the story of the 30 years that are before my time. (I have to admit that I ducked out during Super Bowl XXV highlights, however – some memories are just too painful to relive.)

In addition to the video exhibits, the main hall of the building displays HUGE black and white and color photographic prints of notable Bills moments, including the memorable shot of Mike Stratton leveling Keith Lincoln in the 1964 AFL Championship Game, AKA “The Hit Heard Round the World”. Then go down the stairs to the main exhibit, which features jerseys, helmets, posters and other artifacts and ephemera of Bills past and present. It’s truly amazing the amount of tchotchkes that our team has inspired, from posters and figurines to cereal, tumblers, pins and buttons. One bit of the business of sports is also on display – one of Jim Kelly’s game checks from 1993 (it’s $83,000, in case you wonder what a Pro Bowl quarterback was paid per game back then). But the coolest part of the exhibit, in my opinion, are the uniforms. This was the first time that I’ve seen an example of the Bills original silver and blue jerseys and helmets, which are displayed along with game worn white “red standing bison” helmets and jerseys and shoes worn by O.J. Simpson, Bruce Smith and others.

Whether your favorite player was Cookie Gilchrist, Joe Ferguson, Thurman Thomas or Trent Edwards, the Historical Society is now a must-see for any Bills fan. For more information, go to www.buffalohistory.org.

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