History of the Buffalo Bills Uniforms Part I

     It's a new week here at The Gridiron Uniform Database and as promised today we begin our week-long look back at the uniforms of the Buffalo Bills, who will be unveiling their 2012 (assuming the lockout gets settled) 2011 uniforms on Friday Night.

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1947 Buffalo Bills (AAFC)
     When the Bills began play as one of the charter members of AFL in 1960, they were actually using the same name as an AAFC team from the 1940s. The AAFC team started out as the Bisons in 1946, but from 1947-49 they were the Bills.  When the NFL absorbed the three teams from the AAFC, they almost chose Buffalo instead of Baltimore to go along with San Francisco and Cleveland.   Those Baltimore Colts were unsucessful and folded after one season -- the Colts of today were a different club; a 1953 expansion team.  The AAFC Bills were absorbed into the Cleveland Browns when the Browns joined the NFL.
1960 Bills' Team Photo
     Ralph Wilson, who was a part-owner of the Detroit Lions, was approached by AFL founder Lamar Hunt about having a team in the new league.  Wilson selected Buffalo over Miami and Cincinnati to be the location of his new franchise, and they named it after the defunct AAFC team.  For uniforms, they kept the same look as the AAFC Bills, the same blue and silver that Wilson's Lions also wore, and they would wear this look for the 1960 and 1961 seasons.
1959 Detroit Lions
1961 Buffalo Bills
     Since they only kept this look for the first two seasons, the classic blue and silver, although the first uniforms of this franchise, is rarely thought of or celebrated by the team.  It has never been used for throwback celebrations, and the iconic look they adopted in 1962 is widely regarded as the "original Bills" uniform.  Tomorrow we'll look back at the red "standing Buffalo" logo and the Bills' uniforms of the 1962-73 era.

One of the few images I could find of the 1960-61 Bills, this is running back Cookie Gilchrist of the Bills running over the Boston Patriots.  Even assuming the numbers are blue and the pants are silver/gray, the apparently white helmet with a stripe and no numbers may lead this photo to revamping, slightly, our database image of the Bills unis of this era.
This picture, which is undated and unknown if it is a regular or preseason game, also shows no Pat the Patriot on the right side of #85's helmet, while #34 does have the patriot on his left side.   Hmmmm.

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1964 St. Louis Cardinals
1981 Pittsburgh Steelers
     On Saturday, we told you about our revamping of the shoulder numbers for the Steelers, and we'd like to thank everyone who voted in our poll.  We decided to go with number five, and we updated the Steelers' numbers from that whole era, 1968 to 1996, as well as the road whites of the 1964 St. Louis Cardinals.  If you know of any other Cardinals' years or any other teams that wore the number on the mid-shoulder, let us know.

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     Tomorrow we'll have part two of our look at the Bills' uniforms, plus we'll have some database changes based on a picture from a Bengals-Broncos 1968 preseason game newspaper clipping we looked at.


  1. Likely a shot from a 1962 preseason game in Boston.

  2. That would make the white helmet make sense. Break in the new helmets while waiting to bring out the new uniforms.

    AFL preseason uniforms as whole seem to be quite a disjointed mess.

  3. that has to be from 1962 or later- Cookie didn't play for the bills until '62.



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