American Football Wiki
1976 Buffalo Bills season
Head Coach Lou Saban (2-3-0)
Jim Ringo (0-9-0)
Home Field Rich Stadium
Record 2-12
Place 5th in AFC East
Playoff Finish Did not qualify for playoffs
Previous Season Next Season
1975 1977

The 1976 Buffalo Bills went 2-12 finishing last in the AFC East.  

Buffalo's season was troubled from the start, as the team was in a contract dispute with star running back O.J. Simpson. Simpson had been demanding a trade, before finally agreeing to a three-year, $2.5 million contract.[1]

The Bills started the season 2–2, before losing their final ten games of the season. Quarterback Joe Ferguson only started the first seven games before being sidelined for the season with a back injury. Backup quarterback Gary Marangi started Buffalo's final seven games, all losses.

Fullback Jim Braxton injured his knee in the Bills' season opener and was lost for the season. Simpson still led the NFL in rushing in 1976, even without Braxton's blocking.[1]

Bills head coach Lou Saban resigned after the fifth game of the season, with the Bills struggling at 2–3. Offensive line coach Jim Ringo took over, but would not win a game for the rest of the year.

The lowest point of the season was when O.J. Simpson was ejected from a game for getting into a fight with New England Patriots defensive end Mel Lunsford.[2][3] Lunsford was also ejected from the game as well. Neither player was fined or suspended by the league.


Before the 1976 season, Buffalo lost some key players, notably wide receivers Ahmad Rashād and J. D. Hill, and defensive linemen Earl Edwards, Walt Patulski and Pat Toomay.[1]

1976 Expansion Draft[]

  • Main article: 1976 NFL expansion draft
Buffalo Bills selected during the Expansion Draft
Round Overall Name Position Expansion Team
0 0 Gary Hayman Running back Seattle
0 0 Frank Oliver Defensive back Tampa Bay
0 0 Pat Toomay Defensive end Tampa Bay

NFL Draft[]

Note: 1976 was the final year in which the NFL draft was seventeen rounds; it would be reduced to twelve rounds in 1977.

The Bills' 1976 draft produced four long-time starters with their first four picks. First round pick Mario Clark played for seven seasons with the Bills. Offensive guard Ken Jones played for the Bills for eleven years. Offensive tackle Joe Devlin played every game of his 14-year career with the Bills, playing in all 191 regular-season games until his retirement after the 1989 season.[4] Defensive end Ben Williams played for the Bills for 10 years; he was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro for the 1982 season.

= Pro Bowler [5]
Round Pick # Player Position College
1 18 Mario Clark DB Oregon
2 45 Ken Jones G Arkansas State
2 52 Joe Devlin T Iowa
3 78 Ben Williams[6] DE Mississippi
4 109 Dan Jilek LB Michigan
5 142 Fred Coleman TE N.E. Louisiana
6 164 Leslie Benson DE Baylor
6 171 Scott Piper Wide receiver Arizona
6 175 Darnell Powell RB Chattanooga
7 195 Jackie Williams DB Texas A & M
8 215 Scott Gardner QB Virginia
8 226 Bobby Joe Easter RB Middle Tennessee
8 227 Art Meadowcroft G Minnesota
9 241 Jeff Turner LB Kansas
9 255 Bob Kotzur DT Southwest Texas State
10 280 Keith Moody DB Syracuse
11 309 Forry Smith WR Iowa State
12 336 Joe Lowery RB Jackson State
13 365 Will Wilcox G Texas
14 392 Tony Williams WR Middle Tennessee
15 421 Arnold Robinson LB Bethune-Cookman
16 448 Gary Gorrell LB Boise State
17 477 Bob Berg K New Mexico



1976 Buffalo Bills staff
Front Office
  • Majority Owner/Team President – Ralph Wilson
  • Vice President & General Manager – Bob Lustig
  • Vice President/Minority Owner – Pat McGroder

Coaching Staff

Offensive Coaches

  • Running Backs Coach – Jim LaRaue
  • Offensive Line Coaches – Jim Ringo & Marvin Bass

Defensive/Special Teams Coaches

  • Defensive Coordinator / Defensive Backs Coach - Richie McCabe
  • Defensive Line – Jerry Wampfler
  • Linebackers – John Ray
  • Defensive Backfield – Billy Atkins
  • Special Teams – Ed Cavanaugh


  • Director of Scouting - Marvin Bass


1976 Buffalo Bills roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

  • 81 Bob Chandler
  • 89 Bob Gaddis
  • 80 John Holland

Tight ends'

  • 88 Reuben Gant
  • 87 Paul Seymour
  • 85 Fred Coleman
Offensive linemen
  • 68 Joe DeLamielleure G
  • 70 Dave Foley T
  • 74 Donnie Green T
  • 76 Joe Devlin T
  • 67 Reggie McKenzie G
  • 53 Mike Montler C
  • 61 Willie Parker C
  • 65 Bob Patton C

Defensive Linemen

  • 71 Mike Kadish DT
  • 69 Ken Jones DE
  • 79 Marty Smith DT
  • 83 Sherman White DE
  • 77 Ben Williams DE
  • 30 Bo Cornell LB/DB
  • 52 Merv Krakau
  • 51 Dan Jilek
  • 56 Bob Nelson
  • 54 Tom Ruud
  • 55 John Skorupan

Defensive backs

  • 22 Steve Freeman FS
  • 29 Maric Clark CB
  • 43 Tony Greene FS
  • 28 Dwight Harrison CB
  • 24 Doug Jones SS
  • 46 Keith Moody

Special teams

  • 7 Marv Bateman P
  • 3 John Leypoldt K
Note: Rookies in italics



Regular season[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Neft, David S.; Cohen, Richard M.; and Korch, Rich The Sports Encyclopedia: Pro Football, 12th Edition, p. 306, Martin's Press, August 1994, Template:ISBN
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. Joe Devlin Archived November 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. Players are identified as a Pro Bowler if they were selected for the Pro-Bowl at any time in their career.
  6. 1982 Pro Bowler

External links[]