Ralph Wilson Stadium is the home of the Buffalo Bills, the only team in NFL history to win four consecutive conference finals and the only team ever to lose four consecutive Super Bowls, both of which are likely to be records that will not be broken. Another mark of extreme futility is their inability to make the playoffs since 1999.
Located in Orchard Park, New York, Ralph Wilson Stadium is the only place where NFL football is hosted within the state. MetLife Stadium, which hosts both the New York Jets and the New York Giants, is situated within New Jersey state.
Ralph Wilson Stadium was built when the owner of the Bills at the time, Ralph Wilson, was looking to move the team to cities such as Memphis, Tampa or Seattle due to the lack of an appropriate facility to host football. Initially, Ralph Wilson Stadium was named Rich Stadium as part of one of the first commercial naming rights deals in the United States. Amusingly, Ralph Wilson offered to pay the same amount as Rich Products to call the stadium Buffalo Bills stadium, but was rejected by a vote of 16 to 4.
The field was comprised of AstroTurf from its opening in 1973 until 2003, before changing to AstroPlay artificial turf. For the 2011 season, the team switched to A-Turf Titan, which is manufactured by a company in Western New York. The Bills are the only team to use this type of playing surface.
Buffalo Bills Stadium
Ralph Wilson Stadium is known as one of the most difficult environments for kickers in the NFL due to its proximity to Lake Erie, which makes Buffalo one of the windiest cities in the United States. In addition to the constant wind coming from the lake, the field is 50 feet below ground level while the upper deck is 60 feet above ground level. Parallel to the usual direction of the wind, the open side of the stadium allows wind to whip and dip into the field, which causes wholesale havoc for opposing kickers who aren’t used to this type of ferocious wind pattern.
Despite the overall futility of the Bills over the past decade or so, they typically still do well at home, which suggests they enjoy a significant home field advantage. Although they had a nightmare home record of 2-6 in 2010, they’ve managed to go 18-14 over the past four years. Since moving to Ralph Wilson stadium in 1973, the Bills have had a home record of 185-143, good for a 56.4% win percentage.
Date Opened: August 17th, 1973
Construction Cost: $22 million
Capacity Attendance: 71,870
Playing Surface: A-Turf Titan
Previous Buffalo Bills Stadiums
War Memorial Stadium
Other Major Events
2008 NHL Winter Classic
The 2008 Winter Classic featured the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabers battle it out on a temporary ice rink built on the artificial turf. While the quality of the hockey was impacted by playing conditions, the constant snow fall of the game evoked an atmosphere that reminded many hockey fans of their childhoods, playing the sport on outdoor rinks dusted with snow.