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Buffalo Bills History

  Untitled Document





Formed in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League, the Buffalo Bills joined the NFL in 1970, when the merger went through. The Buffalo Bills are now one of four teams in the American Football Conference Eastern Division. The Bills are a Buffalo, New York-based National Football League which plays its home games in the suburb of Orchard Park. Following the 1946 season, in an effort to generate more fan interest and distinguish the football team from the city's minor league baseball and hockey teams, which also had the name "Bisons." The organization held a contest to find a new name for the team. Over 4,500 entries were submitted, and "the Bills" won over "Bullets," "Nickels" and "Blue Devils." Several contestants suggested the winning name, but James F. Dyson was named the winner of the $500 prize based on his essay comparing the team to a band of "Buffalo Bills." The name was given to the team also to represent the American scout, guide, and showman William Frederick Cody, who was known as Buffalo Bill for his ability to kill buffalo.

The Bills first president was Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. The Bills were a founding member of the American Football League in 1960. In the AFL, a predominantly offensive league, the Buffalo Bills were a great defensive team. With a line-backing corps of Harry Jacobs, Mike Stratton, and John Tracey; and defensive line stalwarts like Tom Day, Tom Sestak, Jim Dunaway, and Ron McDole. After four average seasons in the AFL, the team won the Eastern Division in 1964 under head coach Lou Saban, who was named AFL coach of the year. Also that year, the Bills’ star kicker, Hungarian-born Pete Gogolak, became professional football’s first soccer-style kicker, using the side of his foot rather than his toe to propel the football.


The Bills beat the San Diego Chargers in the 1964 AFL Championship Game. A year later they repeated the feat. Saban again won top coaching honors, and Jack Kemp was named the league’s most valuable player (MVP). Buffalo Bills squad that year was one of the great teams in professional football history. The 1964 Bills allowed their opponents only 300 rushing attempts and held them to 913 yards rushing during the regular season; a pro football record, just over 65 yards per game. They were the first American Football League team to win 13 games in a season. Before the 1969 season, the Bills drafted running back O.J. Simpson, who would become the face of the franchise through the 1970s. After the AFL merged into the NFL in 1970, the Bills spent the next few years in the basement until Lou Saban, who coached the Bills' AFL championship teams, returned in time for the 1972 season.


 The Buffalo Bills players who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame include Joe Delamielleure, Jim Kelly, Marv Levy, Billy Shaw and O. J. Simpson. Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson nicknamed "The Juice" was born on July 9, 1947, is a former NFL Player and has also acted in motion pictures. Simpson was selected by the Buffalo Bills, who made the first selection in the draft that year because they had finished with a record of one win, 12 losses and one tie in 1968 - the worst record in professional football. In 1973 Simpson ran for a then-record 2,003 yards, becoming the first player ever to eclipse the 2,000 yard mark, and was voted as the league's Most Valuable Player. Although the 2,003 yard season has been surpassed since then, no other player ever accomplished the feat in only fourteen games, as Simpson did. Simpson went on to earn All-Pro honors five times and amassed 11,236 rushing yards during his career. After being traded to the San Francisco 49ers in 1978, Simpson retired from the NFL the following year, and on January 23, 1985 became the first Heisman Trophy winner elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He is a member of the Bills' Wall of Fame. Simpson is perhaps now most famous for being accused of the 1994 killing of his wife and his acquittal in criminal court in 1995 after a lengthy and highly publicized trial. Previously the Buffalo Bills uniform consisted of the colors light blue and white (1960 - 1961), they now bare the colors Red, white and blue (1962 - Present). The helmet design from 1960 - 1961, was silver with blue side numerals, it then changed in 1962 - 1964, to white with red center stripe and red standing bison. In 1965 - 1973, the helmet design was again changed to white with red and blue center stripes and red standing bison , this was until 1975 - 1983, when the design changed to white with red and blue center stripes and blue charging bison with a red slanting stripe streaming from its horn. In 1984, the design changed again to red with blue center stripes and blue charging bison as before. The Buffalo Bills have played in the War Memorial Stadium (1960 -1972) and are currently playing in the Ralph Wilson Stadium (formerly Rich Stadium) (1973 - Present).


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