The Interesting History of the Buffalo Bills

A professional American football team, the Buffalo Bills is situated in the Buffalo metropolitan area. The American Football Conference (AFC) East division is where the Bills participate in the National Football League (NFL). In Orchard Park, New York, at Highmark Stadium, the team plays its home games. They were established in 1960 as a founding member of the American Football League (AFL), and after the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, they became a part of the NFL. The All-America Football Conference (AAFC) team from Buffalo that bore the same moniker as the western frontiersman Buffalo Bill is whence the Bills got their name. The Bills, the only NFL club with home games in Western New York, are mostly supported by fans from that region. Terry and Kim Pegula acquired the team in 2014 after Ralph Wilson, the team’s first owner, passed away.

In 1964 and 1965, the Bills won consecutive AFL championships, the only major professional sports championships won by a Buffalo team which is one of the top teams to look out for in New York like the Brooklyn Nets, New York Giants, and New York Yankees to name a few. They were perennial postseason contenders after joining the NFL from the late 1980s to the late 1990s.

O. J. Simpson pictured breaking the NFL's single-season rushing record in 1973

Quick Fun Facts

  • Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, is the home stadium of the Buffalo Bills. The stadium is named after the founder and former owner of the Buffalo Bills.
  • Ralph Wilson, 95, passed away in 2014. He was the oldest NFL team owner in history, as well as the second longest owner of a team after George Halas of the Chicago Bears.
  • Following the death of the team’s founder, Ralph Wilson, in 2014, Terry and Kim Pegula purchased the Buffalo Bills.
  • The Buffalo Bills won the American Football League championship in 1964 and 1965. In 1964, 1965, and 1966, they won the AFL Eastern Division.
  • In 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993, the Buffalo Bills won the AFC Championship. In 1980, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, and 1995, they won the AFC Eastern Division.
  • The only team number ever retired was #12, worn by Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly.
  • Buffalo Bills Hall of Famers include Joe DeLamielleure, Jim Kelly, Marv Levy, Andre Reed, Billy Shaw, O.J. Simpson, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, and Ralph Wilson Jr.
  • The Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame has been in place since 1980 to honor team members such as coaches, administrative personnel, and players.
  • The Buffalo Bills’ Wall of Fame includes Addie Abramoski, Joe DeLamielleure, Elbert Dubenion, Booker Edgerson, Joe Ferguson, Phil Hanen, Kent Hull, Robert James, Bob Kalsu, Jim Kelly, Jack Kemp, Marv Levy, Patrick J. McGroder, Bill Polian, Andre Reed, Jim Ritcher, George Saimes, Tom Sestak, Billy Shaw, O.J. Simpson, Fred Smerlas, and Bruce Smith.

Jack Kemp led Buffalo to back-to-back AFL Championship titles in the 1960s

  • The Buffalo Bills have appeared in four Super Bowls: XXV, XXVI, XXVII, and XXVIII. They were defeated 20-19 by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV. They were defeated 37-24 by the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XXVI. They were defeated 52-17 by the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVII. They were defeated 30-13 by the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVIII.
  • Marv Levy was the head coach for all four of the Buffalo Bills’ Super Bowl losses in a row.
  • The uniform colors of the Buffalo Bills are red, white, and royal blue.
  • Billy Buffalo is the mascot of the Buffalo Bills.
  • Rex Ran is the current (2014) head coach of the Buffalo Bills; Doug Whaley is the general manager; Russ Brandon is the president, and Terry Pegula is the CEO.
  • The Buffalo Bills previously played at War Memorial Stadium before moving to Ralph Wilson Stadium (1973-present) (1960 – 1972).

Behind the Name

The Bisons were Buffalo’s All-America Football Conference (AAFC) team in 1946. A competition was held in 1947 to rename the team, which was owned by James Breuil of the Frontier Oil Company. The winning entry suggested Bills, a reference to Buffalo Bill Cody, the famous western frontiersman.

The greatest Buffalo Bill of all time

Bruce Smith is widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in NFL history, not just for the Buffalo Bills. Smith, the first pick in the 1985 NFL draft, went on to record more sacks than any other player in league history.

The Red Line in Buffalo Bills Logo

Lustig stated that he wanted the logo to depict a buffalo accelerating forward. The addition of a red stripe was used to convey this. 1960-1961: The original Bills logo features two football players in Bills uniforms running alongside several buffalo.

The AFL Years and back-to-back Championships

At the heart of the world’s cultural center, one of the new experiences to enjoy in New York City is its challenging and exciting sports events just like the rich record of the Bills wherein after finishing 5–8–1 (third in the four-team AFL East Division) in their rookie season, they received four of the first five picks in the 1961 AFL draft, including the top pick, which they used to choose offensive tackle Ken Rice. In the same draft, they also selected guard Billy Shaw. Success did not come easily. On August 8, 1961, the Bills became the first and only American Football League team to face the adjacent Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. The Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets played their final game at the Polo Grounds on December 14, 1963. Buffalo had their first run of success from 1963 through 1966, making the playoffs all four years and earning back-to-back AFL titles in 1964 and 1965 under head coach Lou Saban. The Bills advanced to their third consecutive AFL championship game in 1966, with the victor representing the AFL in the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game, also known as Super Bowl I, but were defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs, who went on to face the Green Bay Packers.

2022 Buffalo Bills season

The 2022 season will be the Buffalo Bills’ 53rd in the National Football League (NFL), 63rd as a club, their eighth full season under Terry and Kim Pegula’s ownership, and their sixth under the head coach/general manager pairing of Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane. 

Back-to-back AFC East champions, the Bills will enter the 2022 season. They will try to improve on their 11–6 record from last season and become the first club since the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017 to win the Super Bowl for the first time. The Bills’ current contract on Highmark Stadium expires in 2022. Negotiations for the team’s new stadium were ongoing as of January 2022; the team said that it will not renew its lease on Highmark Stadium unless a deal for a new stadium is reached by the conclusion of the 2022 season.