Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills

Established as one of the original eight members of the AFL in 1960, the Buffalo Bills struggled initially. But the franchise was transformed with the addition of quarterback Jack Kemp and powerful running back Cookie Gilchrist. By 1962, the fortunes were turned around. A league record was set by Gilchrist, who rushed for 243 yards in a game. Kemp was instrumental in guiding the Bills to a playoff appearance in 1963. Championships were won against the San Diego Chargers in both 1964 and 1965. However, a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1966 denied them entry into the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game. From Glory to Struggles A prolonged period of losing seasons followed the championships. The record was a league-worst 1-12-1 in 1968, which led to the selection of running back O.J. Simpson in the 1969 NFL draft. The powerful offensive line “The Electric Company” supported Simpson’s record-setting years with the Bills, but the team made the playoffs only once. After Simpson traded in 1978, the struggles continued, but 1980 marked the first of two consecutive postseason berths. The Jim Kelly Era The first round of the 1983 NFL draft saw the Bills draft Jim Kelly. Initially, Kelly signed with the USFL, leaving the Bills to post 2-14 records in 1984 and 1985. However, Kelly joined the Bills after the USFL folded in 1986. A new era was ushered in with head coach Marv Levy and the “K-Gun” offense. Between 1988 and 1993, the Bills made six straight playoff appearances, showcasing notable postseason exploits. Four Consecutive Super Bowls The Bills advanced to four consecutive Super Bowls from 1991 to 1994. A heartbreaking loss to the New York Giants in 1991 was followed by a defeat to the Washington Redskins. An incredible comeback victory against the Houston Oilers marked the 1992 postseason. Despite the momentum, the Bills were defeated soundly by the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl, and a rematch in 1994 also ended in disappointment. Postseason appearances continued in the mid-1990s, but key members soon retired. Brief Resurgence and Financial Challenges Quarterback Doug Flutie led the Bills to short postseason berths in 1998 and 1999. However, the franchise was in the middle of the AFC standings in the 2000s. Rumors of a move to Toronto persisted, but a sale to a local ownership group in 2014 ensured the team would stay in Buffalo. A series of “home” games in Toronto was also cancelled. Recent Developments The Bills broke an 18-year postseason drought with a 9-7 record in 2017 but lost their opening playoff game. A significant achievement was reached two years later with 10 wins, marking the first season with double-digit victories in 20 years. Despite this, the team once again lost its first postseason contest.

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