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Analysis: Buffalo Bills record by uniform colors shows clear correlation

Which uniform combo is the most successful?

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

Think of a big game the Buffalo Bills lost. Picture them standing there at the end of the game, sad. What are they wearing?

That’s right: Those white jerseys with blue pants.

Over the bye week, a friend challenged me to search up the answer to a question that had been nagging him:

“Go find the team’s record in blue pants. Yes I am serious.”

I couldn’t find the information anywhere, so I collected it myself from the Sean McDermott era, and I have to say, my friend is right. While he and I both readily acknowledge this is correlational data and not causal, the numbers are very difficult to argue here.

Buffalo’s record is much better when they wear white pants. All their losses in 2020 were wearing blue pants. But there’s something that threw me off I didn’t account for. Here is their winning percentage sorted best to worst since the start of 2017:

Color Rush Uniforms (Red jersey, red pants)
80 percent win percentage (4-1) since 2017

Bet you didn’t see that coming! I didn’t. Buffalo has only lost once wearing their red-on-red ensemble. Two important wins have come wearing the reds; the Snowvertime victory over the Indianapolis Colts on their way to the 2017 playoffs and their 2020 Sunday night win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The game against the Colts was the first time a team wore Color Rush jerseys on a Sunday.

Blue jersey, white pants
65 percent win percentage (15-8) since 2017

My favorite look, the blue-on-white is also the most successful uni combo the team can wear on a regular basis. They haven’t lost in a meaningful game wearing this combination since September of 2019 when they lost to Tom Brady’s New England Patriots. They wore this pairing during both of their playoff wins in 2020 and they have more wins wearing these than any other combination.

White jersey, white pants
61 percent win percentage (13-8) since 2017

The clean look made even cleaner by the recent change to white facemasks, Buffalo wore this combination in their win over the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this year. When you see pictures of #JoshAllenJumpingOverThings, he was wearing white-on-white against the Chiefs and back in 2018 against the Minnesota Vikings. But this pairing is stained by a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 of 2021 and the regular-season loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020.

White jersey, blue pants
47 percent win percentage (9-10) since 2017

The least aesthetically pleasing entry for the Bills are the white-on-blue uniforms, and they reflect the inverse of the “look good, play good” mantra. Buffalo wore these uniforms to beat the Patriots on Monday Night Football in 2020 and claim their position as the new Kings of the AFC East, but that’s their only notable win with the pairing. Now back to those big or important losses we talked about at the beginning of the article; Wild Card 2017, Wild Card 2019, Titans 2020, “Hail Murray,” AFC Championship Game 2020, and the Titans 2021. It’s the list of literally every big loss of Sean McDermott’s career.

Blue jersey, blue pants
43 percent win percentage (3-4) since 2017

Sometimes (incorrectly) referred to as the “Smurfs,” this uniform combination has been rare. The biggest win in the blue-on-blue was Thanksgiving in 2019. The Bills tend to wear these for prominently featured matchups.

Wins are not a pants stat, but if I was the equipment manager or whoever makes the call, the blue pants would end up in a donation bin somewhere.

Now that we’ve told the story, here’s the raw data. You can decide for yourself.

1-1 white jersey, white pants
0-1 white jersey, blue pants
3-0 blue top, white pants

5-0 white jersey, white pants
3-3 white jersey, blue pants
5-0 blue jersey, white pants
1-1 blue jersey, blue pants
1-0 red jersey, red pants

2-1 white jersey, white pants
4-2 white jersey, blue pants
2-2 blue jersey, white bottom
1-1 blue jersey, blue pants
1-1 red jersey, red pants

3-4 white jersey, white pants
0-2 white jersey, blue pants
1-3 blue jersey, white pants
1-1 blue jersey, blue pants
1-0 red jersey, red pants

2-2 white jersey, white pants
2-2 white jersey, blue pants
4-3 blue jersey, white pants
0-1 blue jersey, blue pants
1-0 red jersey, red pants

Buffalo Bills record by uniform combo, 2017-present

Uniform Wins Losses Total Win Percentage Notable wins Notable losses
Uniform Wins Losses Total Win Percentage Notable wins Notable losses
White top, white bottom 13 8 21 61.90% Chiefs 2021, Josh Allen jumping over things Steelers 2021
White top, blue bottom 9 10 19 47.37% 2020 MNF Patriots Titans 2021, AFC Championship Game 2020, Hail Murray, Titans 2020, Wild Card 2019, Wild Card 2017
Blue top, white bottom 15 8 23 65.22% AFC Wild Card 2020, AFC Divisional Round 2020 2019 season finale
Blue top, blue bottom 3 4 7 42.86% Thanksgiving 2019
Red top, red bottom 4 1 5 80.00% 2020 SNF Steelers, Snowvertime
44 31 75
As of 10/25/2021
Matt Warren, Buffalo Rumblings