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The Buffalo Bills will honor their greatest ambassador when they dedicate the Tim Russert Plaza before Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers in Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The late moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press" was a South Buffalo native and often professed his love for the Bills on air, sometimes signing off with a hopeful "Go Bills" and occasionally mixing in a "Go Sabres."
Buffalo was proud of Russert on his professional merits alone, but his unashamed love for the city and its sports teams on an international stage made him a beloved figure at home. Some fans started a petition to add him to the Bills Wall of Fame.
Here's an excerpt of commencement address Russert delivered at American University in 2005:
Graduating from AU has given you incredible advantages over others in your generation. Yes, I too have heard smug remarks about non-Ivy League schools. You think you have it bad? You should try being a Buffalo Bills fan in Washington D.C.
I actually took "Meet the Press" to the Super Bowl a few years back. At the end of the program I looked at the camera and said, "Now it's in God's hands. God is good, and God is just. Please, God, one time. Go Bills!"
My colleague, Tom Brokaw, jumped up and said, "You Irish Catholics from South Buffalo are shameless. You can't pray on the public airwaves." I said, "You'll see the power of prayer, Brokaw." Well, the Dallas Cowboys slipped by the Bills, 52-17. After the game, the first person I saw, of course, was Brokaw, who yelled across the room, "Hey, Russert! I guess God is a Southern Baptist!"
In reporting his friend's death, Brokaw gave tribute by ending his emotional report with "Go Bills."
Russert suffered a fatal heart attack on June 13, while recording voiceovers at NBC's Washington bureau.