The Buffalo Bills were founded in 1960 as part of the AFL, before joining the NFL as part of the merger in 1970. They were able to win 2 championships in the AFL, in 1964 and 1965, which still stand as the only team representing Buffalo to win a mjaor league professional sports championship.
The Bills had chances in the NFL, going to 4 straight Super Bowls in the early 90s, although lost each one. They continued to have some success throughout the 90s, going to the playoffs 8 out of the 10 years, but have struggled since then, having a playoff drought that last from 1999 til 2017.
There is new enthusiasm with the Bills franchise however, with Josh Allen taking over at quarterback and the Bills making the playoffs 2 out of the last 3 years. With Tom Brady leaving the Patriots, the AFC East is up for grabs, and the Bills are positioned to take over for the foreseeable future. Here are some NFL bobbleheads from the Buffalo Bills as they begin their ascent back up the mountain.
Josh Allen – Quarterback 2018 – current
With the 7th pick of the 2018 NFL draft, the Bills picked Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. Standing 6’5″, 237 pounds, he is definitely the NFL prototype. Allen started for Wyoming for two years, after considering coming out of college for the 2017 NFL draft, but ultimately decided to stay at Wyoming for the second year.
After an up and down rookie year in which he played in 12 games due to an elbow injury caused him to miss 4 games, Allen improved in his second year, throwing for 3,089 yards along with 20 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions. He added an additional 1,141 yards on the ground in his first two seasons, making it difficult for defenses to get a read on him, and led the Bills to their second playoff appearance in three years.
Jim Kelly – Quarterback 1986-1996
The quarterback that was at the helm when the Bills had their most success in the modern era, going to the 4 straight Super Bowls. He was actually drafted by the Bills in 1983 with the 14th overall pick in the NFL draft, but chose to play for the USFL’s Houston Gamblers until the league folded in 1986. After 4 years at the University of Miami, Kelly would go on to have a very successful NFL career, throwing for over 35,000 yards in his 10 years in the NFL, and 237 touchdowns.
Marv Levy – Head Coach 1986-1997
The coach of the Bills during Jim Kelly’s entire time with the team was Marv Levy. Coaching since the early 1950s, Levy was instrumental in leading the Bills to 4 consecutive AFC championships. He is the leading coach in Bills history for wins with 112. Levy had success prior to joining the Bills in the CFL, leading the Montreal Allouettes to two CFL championships in 1974 and 1977.
Levy also received two UPI coach of the year awards, after 1988 and 1993. For his time with the Bills, Levy was elected to the 1990s All-Decade team as well.
Bruce Smith – Defensive End 1985 – 1999
The defensive leader of the Bills during their Super Bowl runs of the early 90s, Bruce Smith was one of the greatest NFL defensive players of all time. Holding the elusive all-time sack record with 200, Smith was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2009 in his first year of eligibility following a stint with the Washington Redskins.
Smith made 11 Pro Bowls, and was elected to the First Team All-Pro 8 times. He was also named the NFLs Defensive Player of the Year twice, following the 1990 and 1996 seasons. He also made the 1990s All-Decade first team, and the 1980s second team. Without a doubt, Bruce Smith was one of the greatest Buffalo Bills to play the game.
Willis McGahee – Running Back 2003 – 2006
McGahee was another former Hurricane to join the Bills. After a stellar college career, in which he broke many school records and won a national title with the Hurricanes in 2001, McGahee was seriously injured in the following seasons championship game against the Ohio State Buckeyes. He tore his ACL and MCL, which caused a lot of teams to worry about his ability to recover from such a bad knee injury, especially playing the running back position.
Before the injury, McGahee was though to be a top 5 pick in the draft, but the Bills ended up drafting him with the 23rd pick in the first round. Although sitting for his entire first season, he was able to come back in the 2004 season and rush for 1,128 yards and 13 touchdowns, winning the Comeback Player of the Year Award that season. McGahee ended up leaving the Bills after the 2006 season, playing for the Ravens, Broncos, and Browns to finish his career, rushing for 1,000 yards at least once for each team except Cleveland.
Tyrod Taylor – Quarterback 2015 – 2017
Drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL draft, Taylor spent his 4 years with the team on the bench seeing little action. When he joined the Bills in 2015, however, he was able to become the starter by coach Rex Ryan. He had his most success with the Bills, throwing for over 3,000 yards in 2 of his 3 seasons, and had a quarterback rating over 89 in all 3 seasons. Most importantly, Taylor led the Bills to their first playoff appearance since the 1999 season.
Takeo Spikes – Linebacker 2003 – 2006
Drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 13th overall pick in the 1998 draft, Spikes was picked up by the Buffalo Bills in free agency before the 2003 season. Although he had strong play with the Bengals, he made his only 2 Pro Bowls as a member of the Bills. After 2 strong seasons Spikes with the Bills, his last two years were marred by injury, and he eventually moved on and finished his career playing for the Eagles, 49ers, and Chargers.
Joseph DeLamielleure – Offensive Line 1973 – 1979, 1985
A central figure of the “Electric Company”, the offensive line of the Buffalo Bills that helped running back OJ Simpson rush for a then record 2,003 yards (and the most ever in a 14 game season), DeLamielleure was the 26th overall pick in the 1973 NFL Draft. Selected to the Pro Bowl six straight years from 1975 – 1980, he was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
Who was your favorite Buffalo Bill? Do you think that Josh Allen will be able to lead the Bills to their first NFL championship? Or will they continue to struggle winning it all? Let me know in the comments!