History of the Buffalo Bills

The history of the Buffalo Bills begins in 1960 in the America Football League (AFL). The Buffalo Bills are one of the eight original AFL franchises. Ralph Wilson Jr. is the only owner the Buffalo Bills have ever had. After mediocre beginning to the team’s existence, the Bills won their first AFL Championship in 1964 and again in 1965. Unfortunately, these would be the only two championships for the Buffalo franchise to this day. The Bills finished the 1968 season with just one win and the first pick in the 1969 AFL-NFL draft. The Buffalo Bills selected running back O.J. Simpson, but success did not follow until 1973. O.J. Simpson had his break out season in 1973 and the Buffalo Bills had their first winning record since 1966. O.J. Simpson and his offensive line became known as the “Electric Company” after the 1973 and they would “Turn on the Juice” like never before in 1974. O.J. Simpson became the first player in NFL history to rush for over 2000 yards in a season and the Buffalo Bills were back in the playoffs. However, the Electric Company went out of business after the 1977 season when the Buffalo Bills traded O.J. Simpson to the San Francisco 49ers. After O.J. Simpson’s historic season in 1974, the Bills only made the playoff twice until 1988.

The season of 1986 marks the beginning of the Buffalo Bills turnaround after nearly two decades of irrelevance. Marv Levy was hired as Head Coach and quarterback Jim Kelly debuted for the team after three seasons in the USFL. The Buffalo Bills are the only team in NFL history to play in four straight Super Bowls, making it from 1990 to 1993. Unfortunately the Bills were unable to win any of the four Super Bowls they played in. The 1990 Super Bowl is considered to be the most heart breaking of all four losses. As time expired Scott Norwood missed a 47 yard field goal and the Bills lost 20-19 to the New York Giants. The following season the Bills were defeated by the Washington Redskins. In 1992 playoffs the Bills pulled off the largest comeback in NFL history. The Bills were down 35-3 in the third quarter, but they were able to send the game into overtime. In overtime, Steve Christie kicked the game winning field goal and the comeback was complete. Despite this historic comeback, the Bills still were not able to win the Super Bowl, losing to the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and 1993. In 1994 the Bills missed the playoffs and their four year reign as AFC Champions came to an end. The Bills returned to the playoffs in 1995 but were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional round. The following season Jim Kelly retired and Marv Levy retired after the 1997 season.

Wade Philips was named head coach of the Buffalo Bills and the team acquired quarterbacks Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson. In 1998 Philips named Rob Johnson the starting quarterback, but Flutie took over after he was injured early in the season. Flutie got the Bills into the playoffs, but they were eliminated in the first round. The following season Flutie has been the starter for most of the season, but Johnson was named the starter in the first round of the playoffs. Johnson gave the Bills the lead over the Tennessee Titans 16-15 with just 16 second in the game. However, the Titans were able to return the kick off on a controversial play that is known as the “Music City Miracle”. The Bills have not made the playoffs since this loss in 1999. The team’s lack of success has caused low attendance and TV blackouts. The Bill’s future in Buffalo may be in doubt. Stadium issues along with the uncertain health of owner Ralph Wilson have opened the door for rumors of relocation. Cities rumored to be desiring the Bills include Toronto, a city the Bills occasionally play home game in, and Los Angeles.