Buffalo Bills

Based in Buffalo, New York, the Buffalo Bills are an American Football Team who play in the East Division of the American Football Conference in the American Football League.

For most of the year, the Bills have their home at the Ralph Wilson stadium in New York but in January 2008 an agreement was made that will see the team play one of their home games each year at the Rogers Centre in Canada.

History

In the beginning

The Buffalo Bills were formed in 1959 by former Detroit Lions owner, Ralph Wilson, on the inception of the American Football League. He originally attempted to form a team from Miami but after his attempts were rejected, he committed to the team from Buffalo, earning them a place in the AFL on October 28, 1959. The Buffalo Bills were (not very originally) named after an earlier team from Buffalo, who played in the All-America Football Conference between 1946 and 1949.

On September 11th 1960, under the direction of coach, Buster Ramsey, the Bills played their inaugural game in the Polo Grounds, losing to the New York Titans 27-3. The following week they played their first home game, this time losing 27-21 to the Denver Broncos.

After their disappointing beginning, however, the team had their first win later that month, beating the Patriots in Boston 13-0. They went on to win five of their 14 games played and finished an honourable third place in the league at the end of the season.

The following year was less successful, marked when the Bills became the only AFL team to lose to a team from the Canadian League, finishing 38-21 against the Canadian Tigers. In 1962, however, rookie footballer, Jack Kemp, joined the Bills and over the next few years he helped the team become one of the best in the AFL.

In 1964, the Bills had a storming season, winning the East Division of the league in a victorious game against the Boston Patriots. Following their success, the Bills progressed to the AFL Championships where they faced the San Diego Chargers.

The Bills beat the Chargers by an easy 20-7 win and were crowned AFL Champions, just five years after their formation. The following year, the Bills maintained the standard of their previous season, winning ten out of fourteen games to earn their second consecutive East Division title.

Once again they found themselves in the Championship final, where for the second time they beat the Chargers, this time beating the San Diego team 20-0. The Buffalo Bills were on fire!

In 1966 the Bills got off to a slower start but by mid season they were back on track after winning five games in a row. The Bills met the Denver Broncos in the Division finals, winning the Eastern title for the third time running.

For the third time the Bills progressed to the AFL finals but this time the game wasn’t theirs and they were beaten by a disappointing 31-7 in a home final against the Kansas City Chiefs.

At the end of the sixties the Bills’ performance went dramatically downhill and in 1967 they won only four of their fourteen league games. The following year, the team beat the New York Jets (who went on to win the Superbowl) but failed to win any more of their matches that season.

Simpson success

In 1969, things looked a bit brighter for the Bills when OJ Simpson joined the team but despite Simpson scoring five touchdowns that year, the team still lost ten of their fourteen games played.

It is difficult to imagine OJ Simpson for anything other than his high profile murder charge but, over the next few years, Simpson developed into a legendary player. In 1973 Simpson became the only player to date to have rushed for 2000 yards in a fourteen game season, earning him the honour of National Football League MVP.

At the beginning of the seventies, the AFL merged with the National Football League (NFL) and around that time the Bills gained a number of key players. Star quarterback, Joe Ferguson, joined the team as did Jim Braxton, Paul Seymour and Joe DeLamielleure who, along with Simpson, formed a demon offensive line nicknamed ‘the Electric Company.’

In 1974, in a testament to the team’s improved performance, the Bills reached the Division playoffs of the National Football League but ultimately lost 32-14 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Over the next few years individual players continued to perform well, with O.J Simpson setting an NFL record when he scored 27 touchdowns in 1975. Despite Simpson’s success, however, the Bills struggled as a whole and they didn’t reach the division play-offs again until 1980.

Play-offs in the Eighties

By the dawn of the eighties, Simpson had moved to the San Francisco 49ers and young new defence, Jim Haslett, had joined the team. In 1980, with Haslett’s help, the Bills beat the Miami Dolphins, a team they had failed to beat for an entire decade and went on to win five consecutive games.

That year they reached the Division play-offs, beating the San Francisco 49ers 11-5 to win their first Division title for fifteen years. The following year, the Bills reached the play-offs again but this time they were the weaker team, losing 28-21 to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Little of significance happened again for the Buffalo Bills until 1988 when rookie offensive, Thurman Thomas, joined the team. That year the Bills won eleven of their first twelve league games and went on to win the Division playoffs, beating the Houston Oilers 17-10 in their first home playoffs for over two decades. The Bills progressed to the American Football Conference Championship but lost the title 21-10 to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Superbowl

In 1990 the Buffalo Bills got their first taste of the American Superbowl after beating the Miami Dolphins 44-34 and then the Raiders 51-3, to meet the New York Giants in the Silver Anniversary Superbowl.

The Bills were the favourites when they met the Giants in Tampa, but after an extremely close game the Bills were ultimately defeated 20-19. In 1991 Thurman Thomas won the offensive of the year award and the NFL MVP award and the Bills played their way to the Superbowl for the second time running.

This time the team were hopeful when they faced the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis but their performance was worse than the previous year and they lost to the Redskins by a disappointing 37-24.

In 1992 the Buffalo Bills became only the second team to reach the Superbowl for the third time running, an astonishing success given their mediocre performance during the previous two decades.

The Bills started well but ultimately the game was a disaster and they were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys 52-17. The following year, they became the only team to have played in four consecutive Superbowls and to have won four AFC Championships in a row. Unbelievably, however, they failed to win the grand final once again and lost 30-13 to the Dallas Cowboys.

During the nineties the Bills reached the Conference playoffs four further times but have never managed to reach the Superbowl again. Despite having had a number of different coaches there have been no signs of them getting back to Championship standard and they are currently regarded as a somewhat mediocre team in the NFL.

Honours

American Football Conference Champions: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993

American Football League Champions: 1964, 1965

AFL East Champions: 1964, 1965, 1966,

AFC East Champions: 1980, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995

Tickets

Season tickets and tickets for individual games can be bought online at the following prices:

Lower Level Sidelines I

  • Individual game: $77
  • Season ticket (eight games): $560

Lower Level Sidelines II

  • Individual game: $66
  • Season ticket (eight games): $480

Lower Level Corners

  • Individual game: $58
  • Season ticket (eight games): $408

Tunnel End Zone

  • Individual game: $50
  • Season ticket (eight games): $360

Lower Level Scoreboard End Zone

  • Individual game: $48
  • Season ticket (eight games): $320

Upper Level Corner Rows 21-38

  • Individual game: $45
  • Season ticket (eight games): $280

Club Level Family Corner

  • Individual game: $38
  • Season ticket (eight games): $288

Club Level Scoreboard End Zone

  • Individual game: $36
  • Season ticket (eight games): $240

Travel

The Ralph Wilson stadium can be easily accessed from:

Canada: Head south on Route 190 to Route 90 West and leave the highway at Exit 55 (Route 219) Exit Route 219 at 20A West and follow the 20A for approximately one mile until the stadium becomes visible.

The East: Take Route 90 West and leave the highway at Exit 55 (Route 219) Exit Route 219 at 20 A West and follow the 20 A for approximately one mile until the stadium becomes visible.

Southwest New York: Take Route 90 East to Exit 56 on to Route 179 (Milestrip Road) Turn left on Route 179 and after 5 signals turn right on to Abbott Road. From Abbot Road follow signs to the stadium.

Southern Expressway: Take Route 219 and exit the highway at 20A West. Follow the 20A for approximately one mile until the stadium becomes visible.

Buffalo Airport: From the airport join Route 33 West and follow the highway to Route 90 (the New York State Thruway) Leave the highway at Exit 55 (Route 219) and exit the 219 at 20A West. Follow the 20A for approximately one mile until the stadium becomes visible.

Contact

The Ralph Wilson Stadium can be found at:

1 Bills Drive,
Orchard Park,
New York
14127

For information about matches or for general enquiries about the Buffalo Bills, fill in an online query form including contact information for a reply.