1 - AFL Roots:On October 28, 1959, the Buffalo Bills franchise was awarded to Ralph C. Wilson, and it became the seventh franchise admitted to the upstart American Football League, which formed as a rival to the original National Football League. In 1966, the AFL and NFL announced a merger so that the champions of each league would play in the Super Bowl. The Bills won the AFL championship in 1964 and 1965, and while they returned to that game in 1966, they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, missing out on the chance to play in Super Bowl I.
Photos from the Buffalo Bills visit to London, UK, in the week leading up to the game against the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.
2 - Four Straight Super Bowls: **The Bills wouldn't appear in a Super Bowl until 1991, Super Bowl XXV, when they lost to the New York Giants 20-19. That year started a streak of four straight Super Bowl appearances, a feat of which the Bills are still the only team to have accomplished. Unfortunately for Buffalo, the Bills lost all four of their Super Bowl appearances from 1991-1994, and haven't made it back to the NFL's championship game since.
3 - Playoff drought:Not only have the Bills not returned to the Super Bowl since 1994, but they have not made the playoffs since 1999. The 16-year drought is the longest among NFL teams. Despite such a long absence, the current team provides reason for optimism because of many new faces.
4 - Pegulaville:The team remained under the ownership of Wilson until he passed away in 2014. His wife, Mary Wilson, controlled the team until it was sold to Terry and Kim Pegula, the husband and wife who also own Buffalo's National Hockey League team, the Sabres. The Pegulas are the first of the new faces referred to in point number three, and Buffalo fans are enamored with the Pegulas, who have made high profile acquisitions for both teams as they chase Buffalo's first major sports championship. The city has been affectionately nicknamed Pegulaville in their honor.
5 - More new faces: **One of the new faces the Pegulas brought to the Bills franchise is head coach Rex Ryan. Ryan, who spent the past six seasons as head coach of the New York Jets, where compiled a 4-50 regular season record. Ryan took the Jets to the AFC championship game in 2009 and 2010, his first two seasons leading the team. The Pegulas also added new quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who led the Bills on the field to three wins in their first five games before being held out of their week six matchup with an MCL injury. Taylor will miss this Sunday's game with the same injury. Besides the new coach and the new quarterback, the Bills front office traded with the Philadelphia Eagles for Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy, who brings top tier elusiveness to the Bills backfield. These three are just a few of the top additions that the Pegulas have made to the team.
6 - Talented Secondary:Also among the new faces is rookie corner back Ronald Darby. Darby, picked in the second round of last May's NFL draft, has teamed up with veteran corner Stephon Gilmore to from one of the NFL's most talented duos in the defensive backfield. Darby has two of the team's five interceptions, and the two cornerbacks anchor a pass defense that has held opposing quarterbacks to an 83.9 passer rating, seventh best in the league.
7 - Longest tenured player:With so many new faces, you might be wondering which player has the most extensive history with team. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams has been a Bill since 2006, when he was picked in the fifth round of the NFL draft. In his 10 years with the team, he has compiled 302 total tackles and 35.5 sacks. Williams is a favorite in the Buffalo community.
8 - Orchard Park:The Bills actually play their home games in a suburb of Buffalo, Orchard Park, New York. Located 14 miles southeast of Buffalo, Orchard Park is home to Ralph Wilson Stadium, the home of the Bills named for their late, first owner Ralph Wilson.
9 - Bills' Royalty:The Bills may not have the Queen, but they do have a rich history and lay claim to some of the NFL's elite. Ten former Bills are among the game's greatest in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The 10th former Bill, Bill Polian, General Manager of the team from 1982-1994, was just inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. He joins quarterback Jim Kelly, head coach Marv Levy, and defensive lineman Bruce Smith, among the five other Bills to receive the prestigious honor.
10 - Shout Song:If you're ever so excited by the Bills that you feel compelled to sing, well, there's a already a song for you. A favorite chorus of Buffalo natives is the Bills "shout" song, based on the Isley Brothers "Shout." You can listen to the song before Sunday's game via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHbnQXsyDrE