The Buffalo rumor mill was running full throttle on Friday night as rumors of Ralph Wilson's death spread across the region. Using the best new medium to track breaking news - Twitter - we asked if others had heard the same rumor and could actually confirm the veracity of the claim.
From a reporter at the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle with the Twitter handle @nrusso came this response: @BuffaloRising i work at the rochester paper. we confirmed he is alive and laughing about this. She followed up with this: sounds like Ralph is alive and well. Channel 2 in Buffalo called his house and he answered :)
And from a desk reporter at CNN with the handle @GLBcnn came this follow-up: @BuffaloRising rumors at the moment.. He followed up moments later: The Buffalo Bills tell CNN "it's a false rumor" with regards to rumors of Ralph Wilson's death.
And from a Buffalo News article:
The Buffalo News got calls from people at the Sabres-Maple Leafs game in HSBC Arena, a local bar, a golf dome and from reporters as far away as the West Coast. Even Wilson's Wikipedia page had been changed.
Subsequent calls to people close to the 90-year-old Wilson, who was recently elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, quickly proved the claim was baseless.
Perhaps the fact Wilson had suffered a shoulder injury recently fueled the rumors. He did have to make a trip to the hospital Friday to have the shoulder checked out. But Wilson was fine. No mainstream media ran with the rumor Friday night.
The Bills sent out a Twitter alert this afternoon refuting the claim.
"There is absolutely no truth to the internet rumor referencing Ralph Wilson's health," the Bills' official Twitter page reads.
It's unclear how this rumor started, though some speculate it was mischievous Toronto fans who started the rumor at the HSBC Arena as the Sabres dismantled the Leafs.