Buffalo Bills

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Bills Timeline


Buffalo Bills Team Formation

The Buffalo Bills were a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) in 1960. After a public contest, the team adopted the same name as the AAFC Buffalo Bills, the former All-America Football Conference team in Buffalo. The AAFC Bills franchise was named after the Buffalo Bills a popular barbershop quartet, whose name was a play on the name of the famed Wild West showman Buffalo Bill Cody. The franchises are not officially related, other than in name, to each other.

The Bills began competitive play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League and joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The Bills won two consecutive American Football League titles in 1964 and 1965, but the club has not won a league championship since then.

Drafting O.J. Simpson

Simpson was drafted by the AFL's Buffalo Bills, who got first pick in the 1969 AFL-NFL Common Draft after finishing 1–12–1 in 1968. Before the 1969 season, the Bills drafted running back O. J. Simpson, who would become the face of the franchise through the 1970s. The NFL-AFL merger placed Buffalo in the AFC East division with the Patriots, Dolphins, Jets, and Colts.

NFL-AFL Merger

The NFL-AFL merger placed Buffalo in the AFC East division with the Patriots, Dolphins, Jets, and Colts. Their first season in the NFL saw the team win only three games, lose ten, and tie one. In 1971, not only did the Bills finish in sole possession of the NFL's worst overall record at 1–13, but they also scored the fewest points (184) in the league that year while allowing the most (394); no NFL team has since done all three of those things in the same season in a non-strike year. They thus obtained the #1 draft pick for 1972, which was Notre Dame DE Walt Patulski. Despite good on-field performances, he struggled with injuries before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1976. Lou Saban, who had coached the Bills' AFL championship teams, was re-hired in 1972, in which the team finished 4–9–1.

Rich Stadium Opens

War Memorial Stadium was in severe need of replacement, being in poor condition and too small to meet the NFL's post-1969 requirement that all stadiums seat at least 50,000. Construction began on a new stadium in the suburbs after Ralph Wilson threatened to move the team to another city; at one point after the 1970 season Wilson was “prepared to move the team” to Husky Stadium in Seattle and was also fielding offers from Tampa and Memphis. Western New York leaders acquiesced to Wilson's demands and built a new open-air facility that featured a capacity of over 80,000 (at Wilson's request) and, unlike other stadiums, was built into the ground. Rich Stadium opened in 1973 and continues to house the Bills today.

Wilson Pass the Torch

Owner Ralph Wilson died March 25, 2014, at the age of 95. Wilson's assets, including the team, were placed into a trust governed by four members: Wilson's widow, Mary Wilson; his niece, Mary Owen; Jeff Littman, the Bills' chief financial officer; and Eugene Driker, an attorney. The trust sold the team to Buffalo Sabres owner Terrence Pegula, along with his wife Kim, reportedly for $1.4 billion in cash, which the Wilson trust intends to use as an endowment for charitable causes in Western New York and Wilson's hometown of Detroit. The deal closed October 10, 2014. The 2015 season will be the first full season for the Bills under the Pegula Family's ownership.

Bills Primary Logo History Bills Alternate Logo History No Wordmark Logo History


Team Information Team History


Bills - The nickname refers to William F. Cody, who was known as “Buffalo Bill.” Buffalo had a football team called the Bisons, but the city’s minor league baseball and hockey teams had the same name. The football team held a contest to select a new nickname following the 1946 season. More than 4,500 entries were submitted and Bills beat out Bullets, Nickels and Blue Devils.

Ralph Wilson Stadium
1999 - present
  • Rich Stadium
  • 1973 - 1998

War Memorial Stadium
1960 - 1972

Terry and Kim Pegula
2014 - present
Estate of Ralph Wilson
Ralph Wilson
1960 - 2014

Established: 1960

League History:
National Football League
1960 - present

Team History:
Buffalo Bills
1960 - present

Super Bowl: 0
AFL Championships: 2
1965, 1964

Retired Numbers:
12 Jim Kelly
78 Bruce Smith

Mascots: 2000 - present

The Official Site of the Buffalo Bills

*Red is this team's history


+3 #1 Ron Getty 2016-09-15 17:06
"No logo on the helmets till 1970" The red standing Buffalo was used from at least 1962, probably 1960

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