Buffalo Bills

Sun, 14 Sep 2008 21:32

The history of the Buffalo Bills

About the NFL team Buffalo Bills.

Based in Buffalo, New York, the Buffalo Bills team is a member of the American Football Conference Eastern Division and is a charter member of the American Football League since 1960. The Buffalo Bills play home games in Orchard Part, and in Toronto (2008).

The team won the American Football League championship in 1964 and 1965. The Pats have not won any since the merger with NFL though. They are the sole team to win four consecutive AFC championship playoffs but unfortunately have not won any Super Bowl after.

The team was named after Buffalo Bill Cody. Its cheerleaders are aptly called the Buffalo Jills, while its mascot’s token name is Billy Buffalo.

The 1960s

With the founding of the AFL in 1959, Ralph Wilson of the Detroit Lions decided to put up his own team. Buffalo, New York accepted, and he soon received his franchise for the the 8th AFL member.

In 1961, the Bills became the first and only team to lose to a Canadian Football League team in an exhibition game. The team’s game greatly improved after, with the signing of running back Cookie Gilchrist and quarterback Jack Kemp. The Bills experienced a winning streak from 1963 to 1965, clinching championship titles in 1964 and 1965. They were the first team to play 13 winning games straight in 1964. The Bills’ tight defense allowed only four touchdowns during the same year. It was likewise amazing that in 1965, they won seven games without allowing a rushing touchdown. They were eventually honored as the AFL’s All-time Team.

Apart from being a highly defensive team, the Bills also boasted of a highly skilled offensive lineup, which included Cookie Gilchrist, Jack Kemp, Daryle Lamonica, Elbert Dubenion, and Ernie Warlick. Bob Kalsu, another valued offensive team member, would later quit football to serve in the Vietnam War, where he imminently met his passing.

This downturn in offensive power took its toll on the team’s performance. By the end of the 1968 season, the team finished last. Being last, they had first pick in the 1969 NFL Draft. They picked running back O. J. Simpson.

The 1970s to the early 1980s

1973 saw the entry of a new quarterback Joe Ferguson for the Bills. Likewise, Simpson rushed 2,000 yards for the season and was voted as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. The team later on made it to the divisional playoffs in 1974. They lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, which also won the Super Bowl that year.

The Bills did not get their chance in the playoffs again until 1980, when they beat the Miami Dolphins. They eventually lost the AFC championship title to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Mid-1980s to 1997

The team incurred dismal records win between 1984 and 1985, with 2-14 finishes. In the middle of the 1986 season, coach Hank Bullough was fired in favor of Marv Levy. Levy and general manager Bill Polian put together a new defensive game for the team. In 1988, with running back Thurman Thomas, the team impressed with a 12-4 finish. They also won the AFC divisional championship. They won three more consecutive AFC divisional championships after.

By 1990, the Bills experimented with a hurry-up offense led by Jim Kelly. This would be referred to as the K-gun. This strategy began a series of successful runs. They won against the Miami Dolphins 13-3, and against the Los Angeles Raiders 51-3. During the Super Bowl XXV, they lost to the New York Giants with a very close 20-19.

The team performed as well during the 1991 season, with a record of 13-3. They made it to the Super Bowl, when they beat the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos. For the Super Bowl XXVI, the Bills lost to the Washington Redskins by 37-24.

The Bills advanced to their third consecutive Super Bowl in 1992, in an amazing streak that started with what was said to be the biggest comeback in NFL history. In the game against the Houston Oilers, the team was down 35-3, early into the third quarter. The game managed to go on overtime and resulted in the team’s winning with 41-38. The Bills lost to the Dallas Cowboys 52-17 in the Super Bowl. The Bills had another chance to face the Cowboys in the 1993 Super Bowl but again lost at 30-13.

In 1995, the Bills closed in on another appearance on the Super Bowl but missed the chance when they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 40-21.

1996 and 1997 saw the decline in the team as the reinforced New England Patriots rose in the NFL ranks. At the same time, veterans Kelly and Thurman Thomas left the tea. Levy also retired after the season.

1998 to today

For the 1998 season, the team took in two new quarterbacks: Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie. The team was also now under Coach Wade Phillips. Flutie led the team to a 10-6 record. They lost to the Miami Dolphins in their first playoff game.

Flutie likewise led the team in the 1999 season, with an 11- 5 record. During playoffs though, he was not used as starting quarterback. The Tennessee Titans eventually won the controversial game.

By 2000, the team lineup declined with the cutting of Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, and Andre Reed. The Bills' general manager, John Butler, left to join the San Diego Chargers. He took his ward Flutie and Marcellus Wiley with him, further weakening the team. Antowain Smith, a very gifted running back for the Bills, also left to join the New England Patriots as a free agent.

In 2001, Gregg Williams of the Titans became head coach. The team finished the season with 3-13. Included in the losses was a game against the San Diego Chargers led by Flutie.

Quarterback Drew Bledsoe led the team in 2002, with an 8-8 record. Ex-Patriots Lawyer Mallow also joined the team and boosted the defensive lineup. For the 2003 season, the team posted a dismal 6-10. Williams was then fired and was replaced by Mike Mularkey.

2004 was a little better for the team, with the Bills reaching a 9-2 record partly due to the efforts of running back Willis McGahee. They lost a crucial game with the Pittsburgh Steelers though, costing them a chance at the playoffs.

In 2005, coach Mularkey resigned and was replaced by Dick Jauron. In 2006 and 2007, the team posted 7-9 records. New team recruits for the defense included Ko Simpson, Donte Witner, Ashton Youboty, Kyle Williams, and Anthony Hargrove. The offense got Trent Edwards, Marshawn Lynch, Derrick Dockery, Paul Posluszny, Fred Jackson, and Langston Walker.

The year also saw shifts in the team management. Levy retired at his contract's end. Steve Fairchild, offensive coordinator for the team, moved to be the head coach of the Colorado State University team. And offensive line coach Jim McNally also retired. All of the management positions were replaced from within, starting with Turk Schonert, who was eventually promoted to offensive coordinator.

Starting 2008, the Bills will be playing one of its game in Toronto, in a deal forged by Bills owner Ralph Wilson with Ted Rogers of Rogers Communications. The deal was at a cost of C$78,000,000. In the deal, the team will play one of its December games in Ontario’s Rogers Centre, for the next five years.