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1969 - End of an Era

1969 - End of an Era
4-10 record, third of five in AFL East, eighth of ten in AFL
The Bills had several key additions from the pitiful 1968 team. Following a 12-2 season in Oakland, head coach John Rauch resigned due to Al Davis's looming presence (sound familiar?) and signed on to be the Bills new head coach. Coming off the worst record in the league the Bills selected Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson first overall in the draft. The team also added Marlin Briscoe from the Denver Broncos to supplement their receiving corps. Briscoe was the first black professional quarterback to take a snap but never played quarterback again after joining the Bills. The most noteworthy losses, other than interim head coach Harvey Johnson's move back to defensive backs coach, were Tom Sestak and Elbert Dubenion's retirements. Dubenion was the last original member of the Buffalo Bills and the team's all-time leading receiver and had only played in four games in 1968.

Following an absolutely awful year in 1968 the Bills remained last in scoring in the final year of the AFL, had the most turnovers, and ranked in the bottom four in the league in every major offensive category. Once again the Bills had three different quarterbacks start games. The Bills defense didn't fair much better ranking next to last in points allowed and ranked in the bottom half of the AFL in yards allowed, rushing yards allowed, and rushing touchdowns.

Jack Kemp's return to the Bills after missing the entire 1968 season with injury helped stabilize the team but didn't ultimately lead to much improvement. Kemp would be voted to his sixth All-Star game in his final season but all of his statistics were considerably lower then his pre-injur numbers. Rookie OJ Simpson combined for over a thousand yards rushing and receiving and was also selected to the All-Star team. Wideout Haven Moses was also named to the All-Star squad for tallying 752 yards and five touchdowns through the air. Middle linebacker Harry Jacobs, cornerback Butch Byrd, and guard Billy Shaw also played in the contest. Butch Byrd was named to the All-Pro team for picking off seven passes, retuning one for a score, and forcing and recovering one fumble.