1970 - AFL and NFL Merge
3-10-1 record, fourth of five in AFC East, eleventh of thirteen in AFC, 22 of 26 in NFL
Prior to the 1970 season, the AFL and NFL officially merged, forming one league. Each league became a conference and each conference was broken up into 3 divisions. The playoffs showcased the three division winners plus a wild card team from each conference. Another interesting note was the debut of ABC's Monday Night Football.
The Bills added defensive end Al Cowlings and quarterback Dennis Shaw through the draft to replace two Buffalo legends. Prior to the 1970 season, two longtime Bills greats retired - guard Billy Shaw and quarterback Jack Kemp. Kemp would go on to run for public office and ultimately Vice President of the United States. Shaw was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 1999. He is currently the only member to never play a down in the NFL.
After losing four of five, the Bills won two straight games at New York and at Boston, to pull their record to 3-4. After that the bottom fell out and Buffalo lost seven games and tied one on their way to a 3-10-1 record. With rookie quarterback Dennis Shaw starting the Bills offensive struggles continued into a third year ranking 23rd in points scored, 17th in yards gained, and 21st in rushing with 1465 yards despite the presence of OJ Simpson. Simpson led the Bills in rushing with only 488 yards as he was often used as a decoy in the offense instead of a weapon. The Bills' passing offense did show some signs of life with Shaw passing for over 2500 yards and wideout Marlin Briscoe catching eight touchdowns and amassing over a thousand yards receiving on his way to the first AFC-NFC Pro Bowl as the lone Bills representative. Despite the back-to-back ten-loss seasons, head coach John Rauch was retained.