The Month of December In Bills History Important dates in Buffalo Bills history
December 1, 1963 -- LAMONICA WILL START LAST TWO GAMES Lou Saban announced that Darryle Lamonica would start the last two games of the season for the Bills, replacing Jack Kemp.
December 1, 1966 -- SUPER BOWL SITE ANNOUNCED Pro football commissioner Pete Rozelle announced that the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game would be held at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The game would later be known as the first Super Bowl.
December 1, 1974 -- BILLS BLANK COLTS Buffalo earned its first shutout since Nov. 6, 1966, a span of 115 games, as they defeated the Baltimore Colts 6-0 at Rich Stadium.
December 1 1991 -- BILLS CLINCH 4TH STRAIGHT AFC EAST TITLE The Bills won their fourth straight AFC Eastern Division title, and for the third time, the victim was the N.Y. Jets, as Buffalo posted a 24-13 victory at Rich Stadium.
December 2, 1962 -- KEMP GETS HIS FIRST WIN AS BILLS QB A record War Memorial Stadium crowd of 35,261 saw the Bills defeat the eventual AFL Champion Dallas Texans, 23-14. It was Buffalo's most impressive performance of the season. Jack Kemp passed for 248 yards and two touchdowns to notch his first win as the Bills’ starting quarterback.
December 2, 1974 – BILLS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH Miami beat Cincinnati 24-3, thus assuring the Bills of at least a wild card sport, the team’s first playoff berth since 1966.
December 2, 1984 – BILLS WIN IN FRONT OF SMALLEST CROWD IN RICH STADIUM HISTORY The Bills scored 21 points in the first quarter behind new QB Joe Dufek to beat the Colts 21-15 at Rich Stadium in front of 20,693 fans, the smallest crowd in Rich Stadium history.
December 2, 1990 -- KELLY UNVEILS "NO HUDDLE" OFFENSE, BILLS HOLD ON FOR WIN Jim Kelly went 8-for-8 for 229 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter in a game where the Bills used the “No Huddle” offense for the first time. The Bills then held on for a 30-23 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at Rich Stadium.
December 3, 1972 – BILLS FINALLY SCORE ON BALTIMORE O.J. Simpson scored with 18 seconds left for the first Bills points against the Colts in 18 quarters, averting the Bills’ fourth straight shutout loss to Baltimore. The final score was 35-7.
December 5, 1959 -- BUFFALO SIGNS ITS FIRST PLAYER Tackle Joe Schaffer of Tennessee was the first player to sign with the new Buffalo Bills franchise.
December 5, 1965 -- GOGOLAK SETS AFL RECORD FOR FG ATTEMPTS Buffalo place kicker Pete Gogolak attempted an AFL record seven field goals, and he made a team-record five as the Bills defeated the Oilers 29-14 in Houston.
December 5, 1965 -- CHAMPS OF THE EAST The Bills defeated Houston, 29-18, in Rice Stadium to clinch their second straight AFL Eastern Division title. RB Wray Carlton's 80-yard TD run from scrimmage was the longest in Bills history.
December 5, 2004 – McGEE MAKES HISTORY IN BILLS WIN Terrence McGee made Bills history when he returned the opening kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown in the Bills’ 42-32 win over the Dolphins in Miami. McGee’s return was the longest in Bills history and it marked the first time Buffalo scored a touchdown on the opening kickoff.
December 6, 1981 -- SAN DIEGO GETS 482 YARDS, BUT IT'S NOT ENOUGH AGAINST BILLS The San Diego Chargers totaled 482 yards in offense, including 343 passing by QB Dan Fouts, but the Bills rallied four times to pull off a 28-27 victory at Jack Murphy Stadium. CB Rufus Bess sealed the victory when he recovered Chuck Muncie's fumble at Buffalo's 26 with 1:52 left.
December 7, 1969 -- STENERUD KICKS BILLS For the second time in a month, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Jan Senerud kicked five field goals, including the game-winner with 1:59 to play, to beat the Bills, 22-19, in Kansas City. In the process, he set a pro football record with 16 straight field goals made.
December 7, 1973 -- O-LINE GIVEN NICKNAME Bills vice president of public relations Bud Thalman gave the Bills offensive line the nickname, "The Electric Company." When asked why he said, "Because they turn on the Juice."
December 7, 1980 – BILLS EDGE RAMS IN OT The Bills held on for a thrilling 10-7 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Rams at Rich Stadium on Nick Mike-Mayer’s 30-yard field goal.
December 8, 1962 -- BILLS BEAT TITANS FOR FIRST WINNING SEASON The Bills defeated the New York Titans, 20-3, in New York to end 1962 with a 7-6-1 record, their first winning season.
December 8, 1962 -- COOKIE GILCHRIST SETS NEW AFL RECORD Fullback Cookie Gilchrist set a new AFL season rushing record with 1,096 yards.
December 8, 1963 -- ANOTHER RECORD FOR COOKIE Fullback Cookie Gilchrist set a team and AFL record at the time by rushing for 243 yards on 36 carries and scoring five touchdowns in a 45-14 rout of the New York Jets.
December 8, 1979 – O.J. ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT RB O.J. Simpson announced that he would retire from the NFL at the end of the season.
December 8, 1991 -- BILLS, NORWOOD COME BACK IN L.A. Kicker Scott Norwood shook off three missed field goals and a missed extra point to kick the game-winning field goal in overtime as the Bills rallied from a 13-point fourth quarter deficit to beat the Raiders 30-27 in Los Angeles for Buffalo’s first win the state of California since 1981. QB Jim Kelly passed for 347 yards in front of the largest crowd ever to see the Raiders at the L.A. Coliseum, 85,081.
December 9, 1990 -- BILLS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH, REED BECOMES ALL-TIME LEADER IN TDs The Bills clinched a playoff berth with a 31-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at the Hoosier Dome. WR Andre Reed became the Bills' all-time leader in touchdown receptions, breaking Elbert Dubenion's record.
December 10, 1961 – McGRODER JOINS BILLS STAFF It was announced that Patrick McGroder would join the Bills as a member of the front office.
December 10, 1972 -- FINAL PRO GAME AT ROCKPILE IS A TIE Playing the final pro football game at War Memorial Stadium, the Bills knocked the Detroit Lions out of the playoffs with a 21-21 tie in front of 41,583 fans. O.J. Simpson finished the year with 1,251 rushing yards to become Buffalo’s single-season rushing leader, surpassing Cookie Gilchrist’s mark of 1,096 yards in 1962.
December 10, 1983 – BLEDSOE IS BILLS’ NEW GM The Bills introduced Terry Bledsoe as their new general manager, effective Jan. 1, 1984. He assumed the duties that Pat McGroder had been doing on an interim basis since Stew Barber was fired.
December 10, 1995 -- FIRST VISIT TO ST. LOUIS DOME A SUCCESS FOR BILLS In their first visit to the Trans World Dome in St Louis, the struggling Buffalo offense erupted during a 45-27 victory over the Rams. The Bills gained 454 yards; WR Steve Tasker caught two touchdown passes in a game for the first time in his career.
December 11, 1988 -- BILLS WIN, SET ATTENDANCE RECORD The Bills snapped their two-game losing streak with a 37-21 victory over the Los Angeles Raiders at Rich Stadium. A record crowd of 77,348 fans helped the Bills set an all-time single-season NFL attendance record of 622,793.
December 12, 1979 – THREE BILLS NAMED TO ALL-ROOKIE TEAM WR Jerry Butler, LB Jim Haslett and NT Fred Smerlas were named to UPI’s all-rookie team. G Joe DeLamielleure was named to his fifth straight Pro Bowl squad, while QB Joe Ferguson was left off the team.
December 12, 1982 -- DEFENSE IS BRILLIANT IN BILLS WIN Buffalo's defense turned in a brilliant performance, limiting the Pittsburgh Steelers to 94 yards, including minus-2 passing for QB Terry Bradshaw, in a 13-0 victory at Rich Stadium.
December 12, 1992 -- LEVY BECOMES BILLS' ALL-TIME WINNINGEST COACH Head coach Marv Levy became the Bills' all-time winningest coach (71 wins) as Buffalo defeated the Denver Broncos, 27-17, at Rich Stadium. Safety Mark Kelso tied a team-record with three interceptions. The “12th Man” (The Bills' fans) was inducted onto Buffalo's Wall of Fame.
December 12, 2004 – RECORD-SETTING DAY FOR DEFENSE IN WIN OVER BROWNS The Buffalo defense turned in the best performance in team history in a 37-7 rout of the Cleveland Browns at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The defense allowed just 26 total yards and minus-3 passing yards, both team records, while holding Cleveland to just six first downs and forcing five turnovers. With 37 points, the Bills established a new franchise record with 154 points over their last four games.
December 13, 1987 – BILLS CRUSH COLTS IN INDY Playing in their first meaningful December game since 1982, the Bills crushed the Colts 27-3 for their first victory ever at the Hoosier Dome. Eric Dickerson was held to 19 yards on 11 carries.
December 14, 1962 -- BILLS OUTBID PACKERS FOR QB Buffalo signed Notre Dame QB Daryle Lamonica, as the Bills out-bid the NFL's Green Bay Packers.
December 14, 1969 -- JACK KEMP'S LAST GAME Buffalo lost the last game of the season, 45-6 to the Chargers in San Diego. Jack Kemp played his final pro game and completed 16 of 33 passes with two INTs. He was replaced by Tom Sherman, who hit Willie Grate with a 19-yard TD pass with 1:26 remaining to avoid the shutout. It was the second worst loss in Bills history.
December 14, 1975 -- BILLS SET NFL RECORD IN WIN The Bills amassed 26 first downs to set an all-time NFL record for first downs in a season with 298. RB O.J. Simpson rushed for 185 yards in the 34-14 victory at New England, their ninth in a row over the Patriots.
December 15, 1965 -- KEMP NAMED MVP, SIX BILLS NAMED AFL ALL-STARS Buffalo quarterback Jack Kemp was named the AFL's MVP by the Associated Press. The AP also announced its All AFL all-star team, which included six Bills: CB Butch Byrd, QB Jack Kemp, S George Saimes DT Tom Sestak, G Billy Shaw and LB Mike Stratton.
December 15, 1990 – KELLY INJURED IN WIN The Bills’ wonderful season seemed to go down in flames when QB Jim Kelly injured his left knee in a 17-13 win over the Giants at Giants Stadium.
December 16, 1959 -- BUSTER RAMSEY NAMED HEAD COACH Garrard "Buster" Ramsey was named the first head coach of the Bills by owner Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.
December 16, 1965 -- SABAN COACH OF THE YEAR Bills head coach Lou Saban was named "AFL Coach of the Year" by the Associated Press.
December 16, 1973 – O.J. SETS NFL RUSHING RECORD O.J. Simpson broke Jim Brown's NFL rushing record in the first quarter, then became the first player in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards (2,003). "The Electric Company" (the Bills' offensive line) helped set a new team rushing record of 3,088 yards as the Bills beat the N.Y. Jets 34-14 at Shea Stadium in the season finale.
December 16, 2001 -- FRED SMERLAS GOES ON THE WALL OF FAME Former nose tackle Fred Smerlas became the 18th member inducted into the Bills Wall of Fame.
December 17, 1972 -- OJ WINS NFL RUSHING TITLE RB O.J. Simpson won his first NFL rushing title with a team-record 1,251 yards on 292 carries (also a team-record). The Bills stunned the Washington Redskins at RFK Stadium, 24-17, thanks to two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
December 17, 1978 -- TERRY MILLER RUSHES FOR 1,000 YARDS Rookie RB Terry Miller rushed for 123 yards and topped the 1,000 yard mark for the season as the Bills defeated the Colts, 24-17, in Baltimore to finish the season at 5-11.
December 17, 1995 -- BILLS CLINCH AFC EAST TITLE AGAINST MIAMI The Bills defeated the Miami Dolphins, 23-20, to clinch their sixth AFC East title in eight years. Kicker Steve Christie's 25-yard field goal with 6:11 left was set up by LB David White's interception of a Dan Marino pass.
December 18, 1962 -- GILCHRIST NAMED AFL PLAYER OF THE YEAR The Associated Press named Bills fullback Cookie Gilchrist as AFL "Player of the Year." Guard Billy Shaw and tackle Harold Olson made the AP AFL All-Star first team.
December 18, 1966 -- THREE-PEAT FOR BILLS The Bills defeated the Denver Broncos 38-21 at War Memorial Stadium to clinch their third straight AFL Eastern Division Title.
December 18, 1976 -- STEW BARBER PROMOTED Former Bills OT Stew Barber, who had been working in the Bills' scouting department, was promoted to assistant general manager. He took over many of the duties of Harvey Johnson.
December 18, 1994 – SUPER BOWL RUN ENDS The New England Patriots defeated the Bills 41-17 at Rich Stadium, officially eliminating the Bills from playoff contention for the first time since 1987 and ending the team’s run of four straight AFC Championships.
December 20, 1962 -- SESTAK NAMED ROOKIE OF THE YEAR Pro Football Illustrated named DT Tom Sestak as its defensive rookie of the year. Three other Bills were named to Pro Football Illustrated's AFL all-rookie team: DB Carl Charon, CB Booker Edgerson and LB Mike Stratton.
December 20, 1964 -- BUFFALO WINS FIRST DIVISION TITLE The Bills clinched the AFL Eastern Division title by defeating Boston 24-14 in the snow at Fenway Park to complete a 12-2 regular season.
December 20, 1983 -- JOE CRIBBS & FRED SMERLAS NAMED TO UPI TEAM RB Joe Cribbs and NT Fred Smerlas were named to the United Press International's All-AFC team.
December 20, 1997 -- STEVE TASKER'S LAST GAME Bills WR/special teams star Steve Tasker announced his retirement after the season's last game against the Packers in Green Bay, ending his 12-year NFL career.
December 20, 1998 – BILLS BACK IN PLAYOFFS The Bills clinched a wild card berth when the Packers defeated Tennessee 30-22 in Green Bay.
December 20, 2000 – BUTLER RELIEVED OF HIS DUTIES With a week to go in the regular season, John Butler was relieved of his duties as Bills general manager.
December 21, 1979 -- JIM HASLETT NAMED ROOKIE OF YEAR Buffalo LB Jim Haslett was named Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press.
December 21, 1980 – BILLS CLINCH FIRST AFC EAST TITLE The Bills survived two last-second heaves into the end zone by QB Joe Montana to beat the 49ers 18-13 in San Francisco and clinch their first AFC East title.
December 22, 1959 -- FIRST GENERAL MANAGER HIRED Dick Gallagher, former Cleveland Browns assistant coach and director of personnel, was named Bills' first general manager.
December 22, 1964 -- SABAN NAMED COACH OF THE YEAR Bills head coach Lou Saban was named AFL Coach of the Year by United Press International.
December 22, 1974 -- BILLS LOSE FIRST PLAYOFF GAME SINCE 1966 The Pittsburgh Steelers erupted for four second-quarter touchdowns to defeat the Bills 32-14 in an AFC divisional playoff game. It was Buffalo's first playoff game since the 1966 AFL Championship Game.
December 22, 1991 – BILLS’ 17-GAME HOME WIN STREAK OVER With many of their starters out or playing limited roles, the Bills saw their 17-game Rich Stadium winning streak come to an end as the Detroit Lions beat them, 17-14, in overtime.
December 22, 1996 -- BILLS EARN PLAYOFF SPOT, ELIMINATE CHIEFS QB Jim Kelly threw two fourth quarter touchdown passes to overcome a 9-6 deficit, as Buffalo defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 20-9 to earn an AFC wild card berth and eliminate the Chiefs.
December 23, 1966 -- BURNETT NAMED AFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR Buffalo RB Bobby Burnett was named AFL Rookie of the Year, beating out Kansas City's RB Mike Garrett.
December 23, 1971 -- LOU SABAN COMES BACK TO BUFFALO Lou Saban was named head coach and vice president of football operations. Former head coach Harvey Johnson was named director of pro personnel while Bob Lustig was retained as general manager.
December 23, 1989 -- BILLS WIN LOPSIDED GAME 37-0 The Bills pounded the N.Y. Jets 37-0 at Giants Stadium. The win was the most lopsided in Bills history and clinched Buffalo's second straight AFC East division title.
December 23, 1990 -- FRANK REICH LEADS BILLS TO WIN, AFC EAST TITLE QB Frank Reich completed 15 of 21 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns and RB Thurman Thomas rushed for 154 yards to lift the Bills to a convincing 24-14 victory over the Miami Dolphins that clinched Buffalo’s third straight AFC East title. A record crowd of 80,235 was on hand at Rich Stadium.
December 23, 1992 – NINE BILLS SELECTED TO PRO BOWL Nine Bills—RB Thurman Thomas, DE Bruce Smith, T Howard Ballard, S Henry Jones, ST Steve Tasker, QB Jim Kelly, WR Andre Reed, LB Cornelius Bennett, and T Will Wolford—were named to the AFC Pro Bowl squad.
December 24, 1995 -- THURMAN RUSHES FOR 1,000 YARDS FOR 7TH CONSECUTIVE SEASON RB Thurman Thomas became the third back in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in seven consecutive seasons during Buffalo's 28-17 loss to the Houston Oilers at Rich Stadium.
December 24, 2005 – McGEE MAKES NFL HISTORY IN CINCINNATI CB/KR Terrence McGee made NFL history in a 37-27 upset of the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. McGee returned a kickoff 99 yards for a TD in the third quarter and scored again on a 46-yard interception return in the fourth quarter, making him the first player in NFL history to score touchdowns on both a kickoff return and an interception return in the same game.
December 26, 1964 -- WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS Buffalo won the 1964 AFL Championship with a 20-7 triumph over San Diego before a standing-room only crowd of 40,242 at War Memorial Stadium.
December 26, 1965 -- BILLS REPEAT AS AFL CHAMPS The visiting Bills blanked San Diego, 23-0, for their second consecutive AFL crown. It was the first title game shutout in AFL history.
December 26, 1993 -- BILLS WIN IN COLDEST GAME THEY EVER PLAYED In the coldest game in which the Bills have ever played, 70,817 fans showed at snowbound Rich Stadium and saw Buffalo clinch the AFC East for fifth time in six years with a 16-14 win over the N.Y. Jets. The non-sellout was the first for Buffalo in 25 games, but the temperature was nine degrees and the wind chill was minus-28.
December 26, 1999 -- THURMAN THOMAS MAKES HIS LAST START RB Thurman Thomas made his last start for Buffalo against the New England Patriots. He gained 84 yards on 15 carries in 13-10 overtime win.
December 26, 2004 – SCORING SURGE CONTINUES IN SAN FRAN The Bills set a new franchise record by scoring 30 or more points in their sixth consecutive game, a 41-7 rout of the 49ers in San Francisco. The game was also the Bills’ sixth straight win, their longest streak since winning eight in a row in 1990.
December 27, 1972 – O.J. NAMED AFC PLAYER OF YEAR Bills RB O.J. Simpson was named the AFC's player of the year by United Press International.
December 27, 1981 -- BILLS WIN WILD CARD GAME The Bills stormed out to a 24-0 lead at Shea Stadium, then hung on for dear life as FS Bill Simpson's goal-line interception preserved a thrilling 31-27 victory over the N.Y. Jets.
December 27, 1998 -- BILLS CRUSH SAINTS With virtually nothing to play for, the Bills still erupted to a 28-0 lead in a 45-33 win over the Saints at the Superdome. Rob Johnson passed for 216 yards and three touchdowns. The win set up a wild card game in Miami against the arch-rival Dolphins.
December 28, 1963 -- BUFFALO LOSES FIRST PLAYOFF APPEARANCE The Bills lost an AFL Eastern Division playoff game to the visiting Boston Patriots 26-8 at War Memorial Stadium. It was the first playoff game in Bills history and the first divisional playoff game in AFL history.
December 28, 1983 – WYCHE NAMED BENGALS COACH Former Bills QB Sam Wyche was named head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, replacing Forrest Gregg.
December 28, 1987 -- SHANE CONLAN NAMED DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR Bills LB Shane Conlan was named defensive rookie of the year by The Associated Press. DE Bruce Smith was also named first team All-Pro.
December 28, 1995 -- BRYCE PAUP NAMED AP DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF YEAR Bills LB Bryce Paup, who recorded 17.5 sacks in his first season in Buffalo, was named by the Associated Press as the NFL's defensive player of the year.
December 28, 1996 -- BILLS LOSE AFC WILD CARD GAME (KELLY'S LAST GAME) The season came to a shocking end as the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars bowled over the Bills, 30-27, in an AFC wild card game. QB Jim Kelly left with concussion in what turned out to be the last game of his career.
December 29, 1996 – BRUCE SMITH NAMED DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR DE Bruce Smith was named the NFL’s defensive player of the year, becoming the second consecutive Bill to win the honor.
December 30, 1985 – POLIAN COMES ABOARD The Bills named Bill Polian as their new general manager, replacing Terry Bledsoe.
December 30, 1991 -- THURMAN THOMAS NFL MVP RB Thurman Thomas was named most valuable player of the NFL. He was also named the Associated Press player of the year.
December 30, 1995 -- BILLS WIN WILD CARD GAME ON GROUND Bills RB Thurman Thomas ran for 158 yards to lead a ground attack that piled up an AFC playoff record 341 yards rushing as Buffalo defeat the Miami Dolphins, 37-22, to win an AFC wild card playoff game at Rich Stadium.
December 30, 1996 – KENT HULL RETIRES Center Kent Hull announced his retirement from football after 11 years.
December 31, 1997 – MARV LEVY RETIRES FROM COACHING At a packed press conference in the Bills fieldhouse, Marv Levy announced his retirement from coaching.