1962 - Putting the pieces in place
7-6-1 record, third place of four in AFL East, fourth of eight in AFL
Prior to the 1962 season, the Bills replaced their silver and blue duds with the familiar electric blue uniforms featuring the red standing buffalo against the white helmet. The official colors were also changed to red, white, and blue.
Building on their success in the 1961 draft, the Bills acquired five more cornerstones of the AFL Championship teams prior to the 1962 season; quarterback Jack Kemp, running back Cookie Gilchrist, defensive tackle Tom Sestak, linebacker Mike Stratton, and head coach Lou Saban. Jack Kemp was acquired off waivers from the San Diego Chargers for $100 after the Chargers thought Kemp, who had led the Chargers to back-to-back AFL title games, had a bum hand and tried to "hide" him on waivers. Kemp started only three games for the Bills that year due to his injuries, but was elected to the All Star team with a 54% completion percentage and 68.4 passer rating, easily the highest among Bills quarterbacks. When Syracuse alum and Heisman trophy winner Ernie Davis chose the NFL's Cleveland Browns over the Bills, they acquired one of the CFL's top running backs, Cookie Gilchrist. Gilchrist was named AFL Most Valuable Player in his first year with the Bills, earned All-Pro honors, and was named to the All-Star team after breaking the AFL record by rushing for 13 TD and 1,096 yards, becoming the first AFL rusher to top the thousand-yard mark. The Bills hired coach Lou Saban away from the Boston Patriots to work on the team's lackluster defense. The unit immediately improved the Bills to third in total yards and points allowed. Defensive tackle Tom Sestak, linebacker Marv Matuszak, guard Billy Shaw, linebacker Archie Mustos and tight end Ernie Warlick also made the All-Star team that year.
After starting the season with five straight losses, the Bills rallied to win or tie eight of their last nine games that year and come in fourth in the AFL. While the passing numbers were still poor, the Bills were at or near the top of the league in every rushing category and improved on defense.