1963 Buffalo Bills season
Head Coach Lou Saban
Home Field War Memorial Stadium
Record 7-6-1
Place 2nd
Playoff Finish L AFL Divisional
Previous Season Next Season
1962 1964
The 1963 Buffalo Bills had a record of 7-6-1 and they finished 2nd in the AFL East and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Patriots by a score of 26-8. , The Bills had tied with the Boston Patriots atop the Eastern division. In this era, this required a tiebreaker playoff, the AFL's first.[1][2] The Patriots and Bills had split their season series, each team winning at home, and the Bills were slight favorites as playoff hosts in the game against the Pats.[2]



1963 Buffalo Bills staff

Front Office

Head Coach

Offensive Coaches


Defensive Coaches

Final rosterEdit

1963 Buffalo Bills roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Special Teams

*Note: Rookies in italics

Season summaryEdit

The Bills were favored by many to win the AFL's Eastern division before the season,[3] but for the second consecutive season, the Bills had a terrible start to the year, winless in their first four games, with an 0–3–1 record. The Bills rallied to win five of their next six games before going 2–2 in the final four weeks.

Quarterback Jack Kemp was the opening day starter for the first time after an abbreviated 1962 season. By Week Four, however, he was splitting time with rookie Daryle Lamonica.[4] During the middle of the Bills' season (other than two Lamonica starts in Weeks 13 and 14), Kemp established himself as the team's leader and full-time passer. Kemp was conservative, but effective, with only 5.2% of his passes being intercepted.

Wide receivers Elbert Dubenion (53 catches for 959 yards) and Bill Miller (69 for 860) were Kemp's biggest targets in 1963,[4] with Cookie Gilchrist leading the team with 979 rushing yards, third in the league. Gilchrist's 12 rushing touchdowns led the AFL, as did his 256 total touches.[4] Gilchrist set a then-record for yards in a game, with 243 in a blowout win against the Jets in Week Fourteen.

Halfback Wray Carlton was sidelined for most of the season with an injury, forcing Gilchrist to shoulder most of the load.[5]

Going into the final week of the season, the Bills were 6–5–1, whereas the division-leading Patriots were 7–5–1: a Patriots win or a Bills loss would eliminate them. Instead, the Patriots were blown out 35–3 at defending champion Kansas City, and the Bills rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the Jets in the final sporting event played at the Polo Grounds. The Bills and Patriots, now both 7–6–1, had to play a tiebreaker playoff to determine who would face the Western Division champion Chargers (11–3) in the AFL championship game.[1][2]

On a freezing day and snowy field in Buffalo, the Bills trailed 16–0 at halftime. Buffalo's only score was a 93-yard pass from Daryle Lamonica to Elbert Dubenion in the third quarter, with a successful two-point conversion to cut the lead in half. The Patriots tacked on another ten unanswered points to win 26–8, and advanced to the AFL championship game against the San Diego Chargers (11–3) of the Western division, who had the week off.[6][7] (Boston was demolished by San Diego, 51–10).


  1. 1.0 1.1 "AFL has title tie, may get another", December 16, 1963, p. 17, part 2. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Bills, Patriots play for title", December 28, 1963, p. 7. 
  3. [Neft, David S.; Cohen, Richard M.; and Korch, Rich The Sports Encyclopedia: Pro Football, 12th Edition, page 66, Martin's Press, August 1994, Template:ISBN
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 1963 Buffalo Bills
  5. Neft 1994
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named bbbfdcmj
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named pppsfpp

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