The Buffalo Bills are an NFL team based in the Buffalo metropolitan area. The Bills compete in the NFL as a member of the American Football Conference East division. The team presently plays their home games at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.
The team was initially founded as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL), then they joined the NFL in 1970 following the AFL-NFL merger. The team name came from an All-America Football Conference franchise from Buffalo that was named after western frontiersman Buffalo Bill.
After the merger, the Bills we4re considered a mediocre team, but featured the all-star talent of running back O.J. Simpson. But even with Simpson’s help, the team was pushed to the brink of failure in the mid-1980s. But the team rebuilt with key drafts that gave them the play skill to become a perennial contender in the late 1980s through the mid-1990s. This period saw the team win four consecutive AFC Championships.
Following this, the team faced a 17 year playoff drought which was the longest active playoff drought in all major professional sports at the time. Then the bills finally broke the drought beneath head coach Sean McDermott. Then they won their first division championship and playoff wins since 1995 during the 2020 season.
About Highmark Stadium
Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park ,New York, is the current home for the Buffalo Bills of the NFL. The stadium was first opened to the public in 1973 as Rich Stadium and, then was later known as the Ralph Wilson Stadium from 1998-2015, the New Era Field from 2016-2019, and finally Bills stadium in 2020.
The Buffalo Bills were an original franchise of the American Football League in 1960. The team played their first 13 seasons at War Memorial STadium, a multi-use WPA project stadium that opened in 1938. While the stadium was suitable for AFL play in the 1960s, it was falling to disrepair and had only a capacity of 47,000. This made it undersized for an NFL team, as the NFL mandates a minimum of 50,000 seats after the AFL-NFL merger of 1970.
So in 1971, Ralph Wilson, the then-owner, explored options to relocate the team including Seattle as a possibility. However, the potential loss of the team hastened the stadium project and Rich Stadium opened in 1973.
Stadium records and facts
1988 saw the first NFL playoff game played at the stadium which led to a 17-10 Bills victory over the Houston Oilers on January 1, 1989. The Bills then won every ensuing playoff game at the stadium until their streak was finally ended on December 28, 1996 by the Jacksonville Jaguars. This was the only home playoff loss for the stadium as of January 2022.
Also, from the stadiums opening until the end of the 2019 NFL season, the Bills have defeated each of hte 31 other teams at the stadium and were unbeaten there against the Arizona Cardinals (4-0), Green Bay Packers (6-0), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0).
It should come as no surprise that a team that has made as many dramatic turnarounds as the Buffalo Bills should have so many hall of fame players and coaches. But the team has a record of star players who have changed the face of professional football since their founding. And here’s a small list of those players.
Pro Football Hall of Fame
No. Name Position
- 32 O. J. Simpson RB
- 66 Billy Shaw OG
- 12 Jim Kelly QB
- 80 James Lofton WR
- 68 Joe DeLamielleure OG
- 34 Thurman Thomas RB
- 78 Bruce Smith DE
- 83 Andre Reed WR
- 81 Terrell Owens WR
Rivalry vs Miami Dolphins
One of the most famous Bills rivalries is undeniably against the Miami Dolphins. The rivalry actually originated in the AFL. The Dolphins didn’t start playing until 1966 as an expansion team while the Bills were one of the charter eight teams. The rivalry gained prominence when the Dolphins won every match-up against the Bills in the 1970s for an NFL-record 20 straight wins against a single opponent. The Bills finally broke the streak in their first matchup in the 1980s.
Since then, with the rise of Jim Kelly as the Bills quarterback, the tables started to turn. And Kelly and Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino shared a competitive rivalry that lasted in the 1980s and 1990s. BUt the Bills became dominant during the 1990s.
The rivalry has since cooled down after the retirement of Kelly and Marino and the rise of the New England patriots. But Miami still remains one of the Bills most heated rivals. At present, Buffalo has the advantage in the playoffs at 3-1, including a win in the 1992 AFC Championship game.