Whether you're in Buffalo, Los Angeles, London or anywhere else in the world, when you see someone donning the Charging Buffalo, you know you have a friend.
That's what Eric Heine, who designed a motion graphic celebrating the 50th season, said about the Charging Buffalo logo – which took the place of the standing buffalo ahead of the 1974 season.
"The logo has existed for 50 years and we wanted to show the chronology of it to show that it's been a constant throughout the history of the team," Heine said. "It's cool to have one mark live for 50 years and be able to find it in the archives, in footage today, on fans, on the team, in merch. I think it's a testament to the strength of the brand and the strength of the logo and the connection of the city and the team to the logo."
So, who designed this logo, one that is so pervasive throughout all of Western New York?
Living in Long Beach, CA, Stevens Wright was about as far from Buffalo as you can get in the continental United States. Wright, who passed away at age 81 in 2013, worked as an illustrator in the aerospace industry, for most of his career. However, when the NFL was looking to rebrand and inject modernity into the league, Wright took them up on their offer to reimagine the Buffalo Bills logo.
Wright thought that the seemingly calm buffalo needed a burst of energy, according to his daughter Beverly Wright Woo.
"He never said, but knowing my dad, I think it gave a sense of power to the buffalo, taking it from a standing position to charging forward," Woo said to the Buffalo News. "That was a symbol for where the team was going."
Now, the Charging Buffalo has been the symbol of the Bills for 50 seasons, through the good and the bad. It has seen four consecutive Super Bowl appearances, a 17-year playoff drought and the reemergence of their national relevancy during the Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane era.
Through it all, the Wright family still gets excited when they see someone donning a hat or shirt with a blue buffalo marked by a red bolt storming forward.
"Oh, I stop every person I see wearing something with the Bills logo on it," Jere told the Long Beach Press-Telegram in 2013. "I always tell them, 'My husband designed that!'"
To celebrate 50 seasons of the Charging Buffalo, Labatt Blue Light has released a non-carbonated red raspberry hard tea, proudly displaying the Charging Buffalo on the front of the box.