Campus News

Silverman exhibit highlights history of UB football

"Buffalo vs Everybody" exhibit in the Silverman Library.

The “Buffalo vs. Everybody” exhibit on the third floor of Silverman Library is on view through July 2019.

By AMY VILZ

Published September 21, 2018

A new exhibition on the third floor of Silverman Library showcases the extensive history of UB Bulls football.

Using imagery from the Tom Borrelli UB Football Programs Collection, “Buffalo vs. Everybody” highlights the explosive growth of graphic design in the post-World War II era, from iconic covers of stoic athleticism to the zeitgeist in creative advertising.

Program cover illustrated by Buffalo native Kevin Weil.

Niagara Falls native Kevin Weil illustrated this cover for the program for the UB homecoming game against the Temple Owls in 1961.

Bulls football game films also are on view, and mementos, artifacts and photographs from the University Archives complement the exhibition and provide tangible evidence of the more than 100 years of UB football history.

Of particular note is the work of Kevin Weil, a native of Niagara Falls and a sales executive. Weil was also a gifted artist who illustrated several football program covers during the UB Bulls’ 1961 season.

Weil’s reach extended beyond UB: From 1961-64, his distinctive illustrations graced program covers for the Buffalo Bills, a charter member of the American Football League (AFL). As a mark of his talents, Weil’s playful cartoons were featured at the Football Hall of Fame in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the AFL in 2009.

The football programs featured in this exhibit span the years 1930 through 2010, and include some programs from opposing teams. They were compiled by Tom Borrelli, a prominent Western New York sports journalist and enthusiastic collector of Buffalo sports memorabilia. Borrelli was severely injured while covering a high school football game at Robert Rich All-High Stadium on Nov. 8, 2008, and he passed away two weeks later at the age of 51.

"Buffalo vs Everybody" exhibit in the Silverman Library.

The “Buffalo vs. Everybody” exhibit includes the work of Niagara Falls native Kevin Weil (at end of corridor), who illustrated several football progam covers during the Bulls' 1961 season. Weil's work also graced the covers for Buffalo Bills programs.  

Following his death, Borrelli's colleagues at The Buffalo News created a scholarship in his honor that is awarded each year to the top high school lacrosse players in Western New York.

The Tom Borrelli UB Football Program Collection was gifted to University Archives on Nov. 2, 2017, by Borrelli’s friend and Buffalo News colleague Keith McShea.

“Buffalo vs. Everybody” is on view through July 2019.