Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins (Olga Bogatyrenko / Shutterstock.com)
The Buffalo Bills play in the National Football League’s American Football Conference East division and are based at the Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The only team in the NFL to actually play their games in the state of New York (the Giants and Jets actually play in New Jersey) the club was one of the original AFL franchises.
The Buffalo Bills are the only ever team to play in and get beat in four consecutive Super Bowls (1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993). However, form has dropped badly since and they have not made the playoffs since 1999 – the longest playoff drought in NFL history.
- Full Name: Buffalo Bills
- Conference: American Football Conference
- Division: East
- Location: New York
- Stadium Name: Ralph Wilson Stadium
- Year Established: 1960
- Owner: Terence and Kim Pegula
- Head Coach: Rex Ryan
- Manager: Doug Whaley
- Nickname: None
- Mascot: Billy Buffalo
- Team Colours: Royal blue, red, white, navy blue
Olga Bogatyrenko / Shutterstock.com
The Buffalo Bills’ history stretches back to 1960 when they were founded by Ralph Wilson and were one of the founding members of the American Football League. In their first two seasons they proved to be one of the worst teams in the league but thanks to adding the quarterback Jack Kemp to their ranks along with running back Cookie Gilchrist, their fortunes soon picked up, reaching the playoffs in 1963. The following season the Buffalo Bills won 12 out of their 14 games and defeated the San Diego Chargers to win their first-ever championship. A second championship followed in 1965 once again defeating the Chargers but their third consecutive appearance in the championship game ended in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
This saw the Buffalo Bills start a period of poor form, including a disastrous season in 1968 that saw them post a 1-12-1 record. This, however, gave them the first selection in the joint AFL-NFL draft where they selected the running back OJ Simpson. Simpson went on to set a number of NFL rushing records in the nine years that he spent at the Buffalo Bills, including the first ever 2000 yard rushing season in 1973. Despite this, the team continued to struggle for several seasons and only made the playoffs once. OJ Simpson was eventually traded to the San Francisco 49ers in 1978 and the Bills made the playoffs in both 1980 and 1981.
The next few years, however, saw the Bills return to their poor form, posting 2-14 records in 1984 and 1985. Quarterback, Jim Kelly, joined the team in 1986 and his unique skillset was made the most of by head coach, Marv Levy, who instigated a no-huddle ‘K-Gun’ offense based on fast paced passes. With Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed also making up the Bills offense, between 1988 and 1993, the Bills made the playoffs every year, winning five divisional titles.
The Buffalo Bills first Super Bowl was after the 1990 season where they lost to the New York Giants in a close game. The Bills returned to the Super Bowl the next year and were unfortunately beaten again – this time by the Washington Redskins. The end of the 1992 season saw the Bills reach their third Super Bowl and once again they were defeated, this time soundly by the Dallas Cowboys, 52-17. A record fourth Super Bowl followed after the 1993 season, which once again saw them playing the Dallas Cowboys, the Cowboys soundly beating them 30-13.
Since then, the Buffalo Bills form has badly suffered apart from a few playoff appearances in the late 90s. It has also been dogged by speculation that the franchise could move to Toronto but 2014 saw the Bills sold to a local ownership group that vowed to keep the team in Buffalo.
Super Bowl Appearances
1993 Super Bowl XXVIII Dallas Cowboys 30 – Buffalo Bills 13
Super Bowl XXVIII was the Bills’ fourth consecutive appearance in a Super Bowl – this time against the Dallas Cowboys – and it was also their fourth consecutive Super Bowl defeat. Played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, the game was watched by 72,000 in the stadium and over 90 million viewers at home who also saw a halftime show that featured The Judds and Clint Black. This was the first time that the same two teams met in consecutive Super Bowls and was the fourth consecutive defeat of the Bills, which signalled their last ever appearance in the Super Bowl.
1992 Super Bowl XXVII Buffalo Bills 17 – Dallas Cowboys 52
The Buffalo Bills third consecutive appearance in the Super Bowl, it saw the Bills take on the Dallas Cowboys at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. This saw a huge attendance of nearly 100,000 at the stadium with over 90 million watching at home who were treated to a halftime show by the iconic Michael Jackson. The Cowboys forced a record nine turnovers en route to their win over the Bills who were beaten 52-17.
1991 Super Bowl XXVI Washington Redskins 37 – Buffalo Bills 24
Super Bowl XXVI was played at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Marking the second consecutive time the Bills had made the Super Bowl, they faced the Washington Redskins who were pre-match favourites. The Redskins were 17-0 up at halftime and outscored the Bills by another four points in the third quarter. Despite a late fight back by the Bills in the final quarter, they were eventually defeated by 37-24.
1990 Super Bowl XXV Buffalo Bills 19 – New York Giants 20
Played at Tampa Stadium in Florida on January 27, 1991, the Bills faced the New York Giants in front of 73,000 spectators and 80 million TV viewers. The first ever Super Bowl to feature two teams from the same state and also the first ever in which neither team committed a turnover, it saw the Bills lose by one point to the Giants, despite being pre-game favourites.
Ralph Wilson Stadium (Richard Cavalleri / Shutterstock.com)
The Buffalo Bills home stadium is the Ralph Wilson Stadium which is located in Orchard Park in New York. Originally called the Rich Stadium and opened in 1973, it was renamed in 1998 in honour of the team founder Ralph Wilson.
It is an open-air stadium that has a capacity of just over 70,000 and is unusual in that it has never had a natural grass surface, it having AstroTurf since its opening in 1973. It has been subject to a number of renovations, firstly in 1984, which saw the addition of executive suites with more added in 1992. 1994 saw some major work including the addition of the Sony JumboTron video scoreboard, which was the biggest in the NFL at the time. This has since been replaced by a huge HD Mitsubishi LED board and more recent renovations have included the renewal of the AstroTurf surface, as well as general updating of the stadium’s facilities.
As a stadium it is known as being one of the most difficult for kickers as thanks to its position downwind of Lake Erie, winds swirl around the stadium constantly. It’s made worse by the stadium’s design, which sees the field below ground level meaning that when the winds enter into the stadium, they immediately drop to ground level causing difficult wind patterns.
As well as being the home of the Buffalo Bills, it has been used for a variety of other sports including soccer, athletics, rugby, and baseball. Concerts are popular too at the stadium and it has played host to the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin and One Direction.
Bruce Smith (1985-1999)
Bruce Smith is not only one of the best players ever to play for the Buffalo Bills, he is one of the best ever NFL players full stop. A first pick draft in 1985, he went on to record more sacks than any other player in the NFL. During his 15 years with the Bills, he made 941 tackles, 171 sacks, and forced 35 fumbles.
Jim Kelly (1986-1996)
The centrepiece of the famous ‘K-Gun’ offense, Jim Kelly was a talented and popular quarterback who helped the Bills to four Super Bowls in a row, albeit unsuccessful ones. A five time Pro Bowler and All-Pro three times, he remains a popular icon with Buffalo Bills fans.
OJ Simpson (1969-1977)
‘The Juice’, as he was known, played for the Buffalo Bills at a time that they weren’t that successful. However, he did manage to average 4.8 yards per carry in his nine seasons there, as well as gaining 10,183 yards and scoring 57 touchdowns.
Andre Reed (1985-1999)
Andre Reed and Jim Kelly worked in perfect unison during their time at the Bills, Reed being Kelly’s favourite receiving target. During his time with the team, he caught 941 passes for 13,095 yards and scored 86 touchdowns. Currently 12th in all-time NFL receiving yards, he is undoubtedly one of the best and most popular players ever to play for the Buffalo Bills.
Did You Know?
- There are three New York teams in the NFL: the Buffalo Bills, the New York Giants and the New York Jets. However, only the Bills actually play their games in New York, as the Giants and the Jets play their home games in New Jersey.
- The Buffalo Bills are the only ever NFL team to play in (and lose) four consecutive Super Bowls.
- Celebrity fans of the Buffalo Bills include Jon Bon Jovi, the Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln and Meet the Press legend, Tim Russert.