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In 1959, Lamar Hunt, conceived of a rival professional football league after the NFL turned him down as an owner. The son of an oil tycoon, Hunt wanted to bring pro football to Dallas by purchasing the Chicago Cardinals and moving them to his hometown. Brushed off by NFL commissioner Bert Bell, Hunt decided to create his own league, The American Football League.

Detroit businessman Ralph Wilson, who owned a minority share of the Detroit Lions, heard about the new league and tried to get a franchise. Having a taste for ownership, he wanted to jump into the league- but Buffalo was not his city of choice. Hard to believe, but Miami was one of the original cities on the AFL’s wish list. Wilson was willing, but the City of Miami and the Orange Bowl refused to give the AFL franchise a place to play. Wilson gave up on the idea. A week later, Hunt gave Wilson a call. They had 7 teams and owners lined up, and needed an eighth. Wilson was willing, and Hunt gave him the choice of 5 interested cities- Buffalo, Louisville, Atlanta, Cincinnati, and St. Louis.


1960- A New Beginning The Buffalo Bills chose Penn State QB Richie Lucas as the first Buffalo Bill. One other notable selected in the 1960 draft that day would be a stalwart on the team for the entire decade, Tom Day. The Bills also filled their roster out with NFL castoffs, CFL players looking for …

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1961 Buffalo Bills – Finding Their Way by Bill Choinski The AFL went under some changes in their second season. League runner up Los Angeles moved 100 miles south to become the San Diego Chargers. The NFL clobbered the AFL in average attendance, especially in the dual market cities of Dallas and New York. Competition …

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1962 Buffalo Bills – The Arrival by Bill Choinski The AFL’s third season was a stormy one. To get the jump on the rival NFL in signing college talent, the 8 owners conducted a “secret” under the table draft in which each team selected six top shelf college prospects. The draft took place before the …

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1963 Buffalo Bills – Knocking on the Door by Bill Choinski The AFL continued to solidify itself as a viable and competitive league. Lamar Hunt moved his 1962 AFL champion Dallas Texans away from direct NFL competition with the Dallas Cowboys. He settled them in Kansas City and renamed the club “Chiefs”. The New York …

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  1964 Buffalo Bills – As the Cookie Crumbles – Controversy and a Championship by Bill Choinski During the 1964 offseason, Lou Saban went to work cementing the final pieces of the puzzle. Through the draft Saban picked up more quality depth. Future Hall of Famer Carl Eller was the Buffalo Bill’s top choice, but …

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  1965 Buffalo Bills – Resiliency and a Repeat by Bill Choinski 1965 was a watershed year for the AFL. The Jets signed Joe Namath to an incredible 4 year $400,000 deal. Fans flocked to watch their new star in droves an attendance soared. The league that was struggling to keep their franchises solvent just …

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1966 Buffalo Bills – Just Short of Super by Bill Choinski Buffalo Bills kicker Pete Gogolak revolutionized the position when he came ino the league 2 seasons prior. Due to smaller rosters and costs, kicking duties on most teams were handled by other position players. The Bill shad lined up Offensive linemen, a defensive back, …

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1967 Buffalo Bills – Fall from Grace by Bill Choinski Departing in a bold offseason trade made with the Oakland Raiders were stellar back up quarterback Daryl Lamonica and WR Glenn Bass. The Bills received in return QB Tom Flores and standout WR Art Powell. At the time it looked like a steal for the …

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1968 Buffalo Bills – The Darkest Season by Bill Choinski   After the tough 4-10 campaign of the previous season, the Bills returned full of optimism. It was only 2 seasons previous that they were felled one game short of going to the Super Bowl. While some of the luster was lost on offense, the …

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1969 Buffalo Bills – Hellos and Goodbyes by Bill Choinski Before the 1969 season got underway, realignment was finalized between the AFL and NFL to form one league. For the players, it was both a triumph and a melancholy moment. 20 players remained in the league that were members since the inception of the AFL …

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