“The Bills Make Me Wanna’ Shout,” is a song that is still played throughout the stadium at the Buffalo Bills’ home games when a touchdown is recorded for all the fans to witness!
The “Buffalo Bills” are one of the most historic American professional football teams – as all New England teams are. And like all New England teams, they have experienced the highest-highs and the lowest-lows as they’ve worked their ‘horns’ off to be the best team possible. Members of the AFC East Division, the Bills’ home games are played in a suburb of Orchard Park at the Ralph Wilson Stadium (originally called, Rich Stadium ).
The “Bills” began in 1960 as yet another member of the American Football League before the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. In 1964 and 1965, the Bills won two consecutive AFL titles, and they are the only team to win four consecutive American Football Conference Championships- allowing them to also be the only team from either conference to gain entrance to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, that’s where the good luck stops and the bad luck begins, considering the Bills are also the only team ever to lose four consecutive Super Bowls.
The Bills’ actual name was derived from a winning entry in a local contest which named the team after the AAFC Buffalo Bills. They also play home to the Buffalo Jills- their cheerleading squad, and the official mascot is, to this day, Billy Buffalo. What most fans are not aware of is that the Buffalo Bills are actually the ONLY football team to play in New York – the Giants and Jets make their magic in New Jersey.
And their uniforms are still ranked as the most stunning uniforms in football. The bright red bison was designated as the team’s logo and placed on a pure white helmet – making sure that the other team on the field could see very clearly who was coming for them. And in 1962, the actual team’s colors were changed to red, white, and blue – making them even more American than the New England Patriots.
What was a bit odd was the fact that in 1974, the standing bison logo was replaced by a blue bull charging ahead with a red stripe coming from its horn. And in a very strange move, simply to supposedly help the Bills’ quarterback try to figure out who was who, the helmet’s background color was changed from white to red. That way, Joe Ferguson, could make out his own team from the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots. Apparently, everyone had white helmets in those days.
It was in 2002, that the uniforms again saw a drastic change, and a darker shade of blue became the main color of the Bills’ jersey, with gray being the border color. The helmet still stayed primarily red with a new logo being a ‘B’ that consists of two bullets and a more detailed buffalo head. But, for this last one, the fans screamed ‘NO!’ and the running bison logo came back into being. It’s very possible that a great number of fans believed if the organization worried more about actually winning a Super Bowl than changing their uniforms – then the Bills would have WON four consecutive ‘big games’ by now…or, at the very least, one.
There are other odd things about the Buffalo Bills organization that actually makes them even more interesting than if we spoke about games won and lost, statistics, and scores. One issue being that, since the ‘early days,’ number thirty-one was not supposed to be given out to any other player. Why is that? Was there a true ‘hall of famer’ who deserved that and had his jersey retired? Nope. Not that simple. The Bills actually had stationery made up and a lot of team merchandise that sported a player running down the field wearing number thirty-one. Apparently this number was only supposed to show the ‘spirit’ of the Buffalo Bills team – not an actual player.
But it was in 1969 that a reserve running back was issued number ’31’ for just one game, while his normal jersey – number 36 – was being fixed by the team’s equipment manager. The number ’31’ was then out of circulation once again until 1990, when first-round draft choice J.D. Williams wore it for his first two seasons.
Of course, there were other team members that made jersey numbers be ‘set aside’ for certain reasons. And the biggest one that came into play was number ’32’ of the Buffalo Bills – O.J. Simpson. O.J. was one of the most famous Buffalo Bills’ players on the field, but unfortunately his notoriety went off the charts when Simpson became known more for his post-retirement publicity than any actual skill he had brought to the field. And, boy, the man did have skill. In 1973, it was Simpson who became the first player in the entire National Football League to rush for over 2000 yards in a single season, and is currently the only player to have ever done so while the season was still made up of fourteen games. Simpson retired from the NFL in 1979 and was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1985, but he will always be most known in conversations that focus on the subjects of guilt and innocence.
There are many fans who will always only remember Jim Kelly, considering he is the only player to ever have his jersey officially retired. This was the man who had the power and strength to get the Buffalo Bills into those four back-to-back Super Bowls, but unfortunately he didn’t have the power to bring the trophy home to New York! In 1995, Kelly set the record for most yards gained per completion inone game, with forty-four. And he retired after ten seasons with the Bills in 1996, being inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
Bruce Smith was the man quarterbacks did NOT want to see coming their way. As the record holder for the most quarterback sacks, defensive player Bruce Smith is considered one of the most famous Buffalo Bills’ players. And true Buffalo fans believe that there is no chance for any future Bills’ player to ever break his record of 171 sacks. Even though Smith did leave the Bills to play with the Washington Redskins in 1999, he will always be most known and loved for his outstanding work when playing for the Bills.
And it was Thurman Thomas – residing in the twelfth position on the all-time rushing yards in a career list, who is still one of the most famous Buffalo Bills’ players in the history of the game. Thomas led the league in rushing in 1990, 91′ and 93′, and was selected for *five* consecutive Pro Bowl games from 1989 on. He is also STILL the Bills’ record holder for the most rushing yards, and the only player in NFL history to lead the league in total yards from scrimmage over four straight seasons.
As all readers can see, the Buffalo Bills have a uniqueness and a ‘quirkiness’ about them that not only shows they had some of the best players in history, but also that they had players who dressed in the largest variety of uniforms!