1980 Buffalo Bills season
Head Coach Chuck Knox
Home Field Rich Stadium
Record 11-5
Place 1st in AFC East
Playoff Finish L AFC Divisional
Previous Season Next Season
1979 1981

The 1980 Buffalo Bills season was the 21st season for the club, and 11th season in the National Football League. Their 11–5 record was tied for best in the AFC.

The Bills' defense allowed only 260 points in 1980, 3rd best in the league. Their 4,101 total yards surrendered were best in the NFL in 1980. Buffalo's defense was well represented on the UPI All-AFC team: nose tackle Fred Smerlas and linebacker Jim Haslett – two thirds of Buffalo's "Bermuda Triangle" with linebacker Shane Nelson – were named to the 1st team All-AFC. Defensive end Ben Williams was named to the second team.

Although Buffalo's offensive statistics were not as impressive as its defense, four offensive players were named All-AFC: left guard Reggie McKenzie, left tackle Ken Jones, wide receiver Jerry Butler and rookie running back Joe Cribbs.[1]

Cribbs rushed for 1,185 yards, and made his first Pro Bowl. Jerry Butler and Fred Smerlas also were selected to play in the annual all-star game.[2]

Breaking "The Streak"Edit

The Bills had not beaten the Miami Dolphins in the entire decade of the 1970s, a streak of twenty straight losses, the longest in NFL history. The last time the Bills had defeated Miami was 1969.

The Bills had been outscored 565 (28.5 points per games) to 299 (14.5) during the 1970s by the Dolphins, failing to score more than ten points in over a third of the contests (7). They were shut out three times. Conversely, the Dolphins were held under twenty points just four times, and scored 45 points on the Bills twice. The domination was so thorough that the Bills only lost by one score or less five times, and Don Shula had never lost to Buffalo since taking over as Dolphins coach in 1970. The Bills only held a lead at any point in eight of the games, and only twice in the fourth quarter.[3] Joe Ferguson had lost to the Dolphins 14 straight times.

On opening day of the 1980 season, Miami visited Rich Stadium, attempting to extend the streak to 21 games. At the end of three quarters, Miami led 7–3. In the fourth quarter, running back Roosevelt Leaks scored the go-ahead touchdown to make the score 10–7. Joe Cribbs added a second touchdown to extend the lead to 17–7, and Jeff Nixon intercepted his third pass of the game with only 36 seconds left, breaking the streak at 20 games.[4][5]

A rowdy crowd of 79,000 fans celebrated, and many stormed the field to tear down the goal posts, carrying them around the field.[6]

The rivalry continued well into the 1990s, but with different results: from 1986 to 1996—the years in which Bills quarterback Jim Kelly and Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino played at the same time—the Bills won 14 of 22 match-ups between the teams.[7]

The Bills suffered similar ineptitude against the New England Patriots in the 2000s, losing 20-of-21 games dating from Week 16 of the 2000 season to Week 16 of the 2010 season. (Only the 2003 home opener stopped the streak from breaking Miami's 20-game record.)


NFL DraftEdit

Template:Main article

North Carolina State's Jim Ritcher became an anchor of the Buffalo offensive line for the next 14 years; he was the starter for all four Buffalo Super Bowl teams, and was second-team All-Pro in 1991.

Running back Joe Cribbs was Buffalo's starting running back from 1980–1983, and again in 1985 (after returning from one year in the USFL).

Tight end Mark Brammer played for the Bills for five seasons. Greg Cater was Buffalo's starting punter from 1980–1983.[8]

= Pro Bowler [9]
Round Pick # Player Position College
1 16 Jim Ritcher Guard North Carolina State
2 29 Joe Cribbs Running back Auburn
2 37 Gene Bradley Quarterback Arkansas State
3 67 Mark Brammer Tight end Michigan State
3 71 John Schmeding Guard Boston College
4 93 Ervin Parker Linebacker South Carolina St.
5 119 Jeff Pyburn Defensive back Georgia
5 129 Keith Lee Defensive back Colorado St.
8 202 Todd Krueger Quarterback Northern Michigan
9 231 Kent Davis Defensive back Southeast Missouri St.
10 259 Greg Cater Punter Tennessee-Chattanooga
11 286 Joe Gordon Defensive tackle Grambling St.
12 316 Roger Lapham Tight end Maine



1980 Buffalo Bills staff
Front Office

Coaching Staff

Offensive Coaches

Defensive/Special Teams Coaches

Special Assignments'


1980 Buffalo Bills roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Special Teams

* Note: Rookies in itlics


External linksEdit

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.