1946: Nearly two decades after the Buffalo Bisons folded, professional football returned to Western New York, with the Buffalo Bisons one of eight teams in the new All-American Football Conference. Starting the season on September 8th, the Bisons struggled losing their first game to the Brooklyn Dodgers 27-14. The Bisons who were coached by Red Dawson would not win any of their first seven games, only salvaging a 21-21 tie against the Los Angeles Dons. The Bisons would finally breakthrough on October 19th, beat the San Francisco 49ers 17-14 at Buffalo’s Civic Stadium. A week later the Bisons would earn a second straight win, beating the Chicago Rockets 49-17. In their final five games the Bisons would add a win over the Dodgers to finish the season with a record of 3-10-1.
1947: After a poor first season, Owner James Breuil hoping for a more distinctive nickname held a name-the-team contest. Bisons had been the traditional name used by most professional teams in Buffalo. The winning choice was “Bills,” which was a play on the name of the famed Wild West showman Buffalo Bill Cody. The Bills would start the season strong, upsetting the New York Yankees 28-24 on the road in the season opener on August 31st. Following a 30-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Bills would sweep a pair of games against the Chicago Rockets, including a 28-20 win in their home opener. The Bills would be in contention all season. However, a costly tie against the lowly Brooklyn Dodgers and a loss to the Yankees in the next to last game of the season ended the Bills hopes of reaching the AAFC Championship Game. The Buffalo Bills would finish the season in second place with a record of 8-4-2. +
1948: The Bills would look like two different teams in their third season. Early on they looked like the team that could not buy a win from their first season, as the lost five of their first seven games. However, they would completely turn things around in the second half of the season, winning five of their next six games, including a 35-14 win over the New York Yankees which put them in position to win the Eastern Division. However, with a chance to go to the AAFC Championship the Bills suffered a 35-15 loss to the Baltimore Colts. With both the Bills and Colts posting records of 7-7, the Eastern Division would be decided on a playoff game on December 12th. The Bills would play considerably better in their rematch with the Colts, winning 28-17 to advance to the AAFC Championship. In the AAFC there was one certainty in its four year existence; nobody could beat the Cleveland Browns. The Bills would be no different losing 49-7.
1949: Once again the Bills would struggle early in the season, winning just one of their first seven games, though a 28-28 tie against the Cleveland Browns would have to be considered a morale victory. Things looked especially bleak for the Bills when they suffered a 51-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7 in the first game coached by . The Bills would turn things around late in the season, going unbeaten in their final five games, including a second tie against the powerful Browns. By posting a record of 5-5-2 the Bills would be one of four teams to qualify for the playoffs in the AAFC’s final season. Once again the Bills would meet the Cleveland Browns in the playoffs, losing 31-21. The Browns, along with the 49ers and Baltimore Colts would be invited to join the NFL. However, the Bills were left out as the NFL only wanted three teams despite being left with an uneven 13 teams. Buffalo was the only AAFC team that did not have a NFL rival in its city not invited to join the NFL, and had been a better team than the Colts and had been more successful at drawing fans. The Bills would try to get in as an expansion team, but with George Halas leading the opposition continued to find the door shut in their face. Some even speculated that Halas’s opposition to Buffalo joining the NFL was due to his fights with the Buffalo All-Americans following the Staley swindle in 1921. Eventually Bills Owner James Breuil would accept a quarter ownership in the Browns to settle any disputes with the NFL. The decision to omit Buffalo from the NFL would look even worse when the Colts folded after just one season. Eventually Buffalo would get a NFL team as the Buffalo Bills were one of the most successful teams in the American Football League that began play in 1960 and eventually merged with the NFL a decade later.
©MMXV Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Football League. This site is not affiliated with the Buffalo Bills or the AAFC. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on March 11, 2015. Last updated on March 11, 2015 at 9:55 pm ET.