Bills Uniform History Fact Of The Day The Countdown
Until Uniform Unveiling
Do you remember Buffalo's first jersey in 1960?
What about the white helmets with a blue and red
charging buffalo that the Bills wore from 1974-83?
Send us your memories of Buffalo's uniforms and
Fact #1 - When they started play in the
American Football League in 1960, the Bills wore blue
jerseys with gray numbers at home and for road games
wore white jerseys with blue numbers. The rest of the
uniform for both home and road contests included plain
white pants with no stripe and plain royal blue socks.
The helmets were silver with blue numbers on the side.
The color scheme of gray/silver and blue was similar to
that of the NFL’s Detroit Lions, to whom the Bills had
several connections. Owner Ralph Wilson was a Lions fan
growing up and was at one time a minority owner of the
team while the Bills first coach, Buster Ramsey, came to
Buffalo after serving as the Lions defensive
Fact #2 - After playing the 1960 and ’61
seasons in their original silver/gray and blue uniforms,
the Bills made a switch prior to the 1962 regular
season. In the July 14, 1962 edition of the Buffalo
Evening News, Bills beat writer Jack Horrigan reported
that, “(Coach Lou) Saban decided to ‘brighten up’ the
Bills new uniforms by adding scarlet and making more use
of white than the former silver-blue combination.” The
team first wore the new look for the 1962 regular season
opener vs. Houston and though the Oilers won 28-23,
Evening News reporter Larry Felser described the new
outfits as “the Bills sharp new uniforms.” The new look
also saw the team’s silver helmet replaced by a white
one with a red standing buffalo and a single red stripe
down the middle.
Fact #3 - In 1962 and ’63, the blue jersey had
two broad white stripes surrounding a single red one
over the shoulder while the white jersey had double blue
stripes separated by a red one in a style popularized by
UCLA’s college team. It is believed that the striping
style coincided with the arrival of head coach Lou Saban
in 1962. Saban came to the Bills from the Patriots, and
Boston wore similar striping on their uniforms. That
jersey style lasted two seasons until 1964 when the
stripes were moved to the end of the sleeve and the
stripes became thinner. It is this style of jersey that
the Bills wore during their AFL championship seasons of
1964 and ‘65.
Fact #4 - The 1973 season saw another
significant change to the Bills uniform when the team
switched to blue pants with its white jerseys. The blue
pants had a white-red-white stripe down each side and
also had a blue belt. Running back O.J. Simpson was
wearing that style of uniform pants on 12/16/73 at Shea
Stadium when he became the first player in NFL history
to gain 2,000 yards in a season on the strength of a
200-yard rushing performance against the Jets. That
season was a big one in Bills history as it was also the
team’s first year at its new stadium in Orchard Park,
now known as Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Fact #5 - During their first decade of play in
the 1960s, the Bills helmet underwent several changes.
The helmet worn in 1960 and 1961 was silver/gray with
royal blue numbers on the side. From 1962 through 1964,
the team wore white helmets with a red standing buffalo
on the side and a red center stripe. In 1965, two blue
stripes were added to either side of the single red
stripe down the center of the helmet. Those helmets also
featured the players’ numbers on the back next to the
stripes. That style of helmet was worn from 1965-73.
Fact #6 - In 1974, the Bills helmet underwent
another change. From 1965-73, they wore white helmets
with a red standing buffalo on the side and
blue-red-blue stripes down the center. In ’74, the red
standing buffalo was replaced by a blue charging buffalo
like the one that is used today. From 1974-78, the
helmets featured gray facemasks but in 1979, dark blue
facemasks replaced the gray ones and remained through
the 1983 season.
Fact #7 - In February of 1984, the Bills
announced that they were switching their helmet color,
going to red after wearing white headgear since 1962.
While the color changed, the charging buffalo on the
side and blue facemasks both remained. It was speculated
that the color switch was to help quarterback Joe
Ferguson distinguish his receivers from opposing
defenders, especially the three division opponents
(Dolphins, Patriots, and Colts) who also wore white
helmets. Ferguson threw 25 interceptions in 1983 and 17
Fact #8 - Seven of the last eight NFL teams to
change their uniform design made the playoffs in their
first season with the new look. The trend started in
1996 when the Eagles earned a Wild Card berth after
changing attire. In 1997, the Buccaneers advanced to the
Divisional Playoff while the Broncos won Super Bowl
XXXII in their new uniforms. In ’98, the Jets advanced
to the AFC Championship Game and in ’99 the Titans
reached Super Bowl XXXI. In ’00 the Rams earned a Wild
Card spot while the Giants made it to Super Bowl XXXV.
The only recent team not to make the playoffs in their
first season with new uniforms was the ’00 Patriots who
made up for it by winning the Super Bowl at the end of
the 2001 campaign, a season in which there were no
Fact #9 - Through the years, the Bills have
made additions to their uniforms to mark significant
occasions. For the 1984 season, the Bills wore a patch
on the left shoulder of their uniforms to recognize the
25th anniversary of the American Football League. In
1986, the Bills added the initials “PJM” to the front of
their helmets above the facemask in memory of long-time
team executive Patrick McGroeder, who passed away in
February of that year. In 1994, the team wore a patch on
the right side of the jersey to celebrate the team’s
35th anniversary and also wore a patch on the left side
of the jersey to recognize the 75th anniversary of the
National Football League.
Fact #10 - In 1979, the Bills again altered
the look of the helmets slightly, this time switching to
blue facemasks. In 1980, the Bills began the practice of
wearing white jerseys with blue pants at home games.
That year, they also started a four-year run of wearing
wide-mesh jerseys for warm-weather games.
Fact #11 - After introducing them in 1973, the
Bills stopped wearing the blue pants in 1986, opting to
wear the white pants with blue and red stripes for all
games. The next year, 1987, the team switched from blue
facemasks to white ones. It marked the first time the
team used white facemasks, as previous ones worn were
either gray or blue.
Fact #12 -Since they switched to the red,
white, and blue look in 1962, the numbers on the Bills
uniform have remained pretty consistent. The blue
jerseys have featured white numbers outlined in red and
the white jerseys have had blue numbers outlined in red.
The most-issued jersey in team history has been #75,
worn by 21 different players in regular season action.
That’s followed by #86 (20 players) and #21 (19
players). Aside from “0” or “00” which have never been
worn, the most uncommon jersey number had been #2, worn
by just one player (Steve Christie).
Fact #13 -As part of the NFL’s 75th
Anniversary Celebration in 1994, each team wore a
‘throwbacks” uniform for at least one game. The Bills
wore a uniform modeled after the team’s 1964-65 version.
The most distinguishing features of the throwbacks
uniforms included a white standing buffalo against the
red helmet and red, white, and blue striped socks. The
Bills wore these uniforms for two games - a 15-7 road
win at Houston (white jerseys) on 9/19/94 and a 27-20
home victory over Denver (blue jerseys) on Monday night,
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