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.