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1959 - AFL and Buffalo Bills Founded


Prior to 1959, Ralph Wilson was a minority owner of his hometown Detroit Lions of the National Football League. Upon hearing that Lamar Hunt was attempting to begin a rival league, Wilson jumped at the chance, telling Hunt, "Count me in with Buffalo." On October 8, 1959, Ralph Wilson was awarded the seventh of the eight original franchises in the new American Football League. The team would play in Buffalo because Wilson's original choice, Miami, turned down the offer to house an AFL franchise (though they would accept in 1966 and welcome an AFL expansion franchise). The Bills' original colors were the same blue and silver uniforms Wilson's Lions teams wore. The new team was dubbed the Bills as the result of a winning entry in a local contest which named the team after the previous football team from Buffalo, an All-America Football Conference team that merged with the Cleveland Browns in 1950. That team, in turn, was named after William "Buffalo Bill" Cody.