Based out of New York, the Buffalo Bills are an NFL team that joined the league as a product of the AFL-NFL merger.
The team spent the ’60s in the American Football League (AFL) before joining the National Football League (NFL) in 1970.
The Bills have not been the luckiest team in the league. The Northern New York franchise famously lost four straight Super Bowls from 1990 to 1993 and are the only team to do so. Another shocking fact about the team is they are the only NFL team to not have made the playoffs in the 21st century; the last time the team did so was in 1999. On the bright side, Rex Ryan – former New York Jets head coach – was acquired at the start of the 2015 season. And he’s been restructuring the team since.
Buffalo’s uniforms are based on a patriotic red, white, and blue color scheme, and have remained that way for the majority of the franchise’s existence.
We decided to see how the team’s patriotic roots came to be and examined the evolution of their Uncle Sam–approved jersey since their inception into the league.
Buffalo Bills WinCraft Deluxe 3′ x 5′ Logo Flag
1960–1961: For Buffalo’s first year in the NFL, the team utilizes a cartoon illustration as its logo. A blue background in the shape of a football displays a ball carrier, a pack of wild buffalo, and the city and team name in white.
1962–1969: Just one year later, the Bills transform the design to feature a more detailed illustration of a ball carrier in the team’s uniform followed by a realistic-looking brown buffalo complete with shading.
1970–1973: The Bills opt for a simple logo of a buffalo in red outline.
1974–Present: The modern-day logo is a more bold buffalo illustration in a stampede stance. The logo uses a red and blue two-tone colorway to add some freshness.
Notable Uniform Changes
1960 – Buffalo’s first uniform as a member of the AFL is a simple design that consists of royal blue, white, and some silver. The silver helmets display each player’s number instead of a team logo. At the time, Buffalo’s owner held a share with the Detroit Lions, and many believe these jerseys drew inspiration from Detroit.
1962 – To differentiate from the Detroit Lions, the Bills change the color scheme to a patriotic red, white, and blue. Royal blue jerseys are worn at home and white is worn on the road. The addition of red and white trim helps make the uniform pop. The team also introduces the red buffalo illustration at this time to replace the helmet numbers.
1965 – A blue trim is added along the center of the helmet, and the shoulder stripes are replaced by a distinct combination of four white stripes along the sleeves.
1973 – The Bills introduce blue pants to the white jersey.
1975 – Buffalo unveils the modern-day logo of a charging buffalo with a red and blue colorway. The helmets also feature gray facemasks.
Buffalo Bills Riddell Mini Speed Helmet – White
1984 – White helmets change to red, and the facemask changes from blue to white.It’s said that the color change is meant to help the Bills distinguish their own players from other teams with white helmets. At this point, the team also uses red socks instead of white.
1986 – The Bills begin wearing an all-white road uniform instead of traditional blue pants. The team also honors the Super Bowl with a patch.
2002 – The Bills introduce a dramatic redesign of the team’s home and road uniforms. The red, white, and blue color scheme remain, but the team begins using a darker shade of blue, which is accented with hints of gray. The white uniform features a blocky dark-blue splash on the shoulder area and red accents along the perimeter.
2005 – The Bills revive the standing red bison on the helmet as a throwback uniform. A red and white trim is added to the sleeves in reference to the design of Buffalo’s early 1960s flair.
2011 – The Bills unveil another major redesign, dropping the red helmet for white. This uniform is an updated rendition of Buffalo’s look from the ’70s and ’80s. The deep navy blue is swapped out for a return to royal blue, and the road uniform takes on a more minimalistic design.
2012 – As part of the league’s new uniform contract with Nike, the Bills receive minor alterations.
2015 – Nike unveils special all-red uniforms for its “Color Rush” promotional games. The Bills don the all-red combination against the New York Jets, who wear all green. The teams face off in November of 2015 during the league’s first “Color Rush” game.
Looking Back to Look Forward
Throughout their long history, the Bills have had many legendary players leave their blood, sweat, and tears on the field while reppin’ the red, white, and blue. Players such as Bruce Smith and Jim Kelly keep the tradition alive throughout the organization with their many contributions even after stepping off the turf – keeping their roots intact. Although there have been many greats to play for this team, only two numbers have been retired:
No.12 – Jim Kelly
No. 78 – Bruce Smith
Jim Kelly Buffalo Bills Nike Retired Player Game Jersey – Royal Blue
Heading out to the big game? Arrive at Ralph Wilson Stadium with all the latest Bills gear – that true red, white, and blue. Look no further than Fanatics.com for all things Buffalo Bills!