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1988 Buffalo Bills season
Head Coach Marv Levy
Home Field Rich Stadium
Results
Record 12-4
Place 1st in AFC East
Playoff Finish W AFC Divisional
L AFC Championship
Timeline
Previous Season Next Season
1987 1989

The 1988 Buffalo Bills season was the 29th season for the team and the 19th season in the National Football League (NFL). The Bills ended a streak of four consecutive losing seasons by winning the AFC East; they finished the NFL's 1988 season with a record of 12 wins and 4 losses; it was the club's first winning season since 1981, its first 12-win season since the 1964 AFL championship season, and only the fifth double-digit win season in team history. The Bills were 8–0 at home for the first time in their franchise history.[1] On the road, the Bills were 4–4. From an attendance standpoint, the franchise set a record for attendance with 631,818 fans.[2]

The Bills started the season 11–1 before losing three of their final four games, costing them the top seed in the AFC, and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

It was Buffalo's first trip to the postseason since 1981. The Bills were the #2 seed in the AFC (behind #1 Cincinnati), giving the Bills their first home playoff game since the 1966 AFL Championship, and their first ever playoff game at Rich Stadium. The 1988 season would be the first of five AFC Championship game appearances over six seasons,[3] and their only loss in the conference championship game.

The 1988 season was the first for running back Thurman Thomas, nose tackle Jeff Wright, and linebacker Carlton Bailey. Thomas would rush for 881 yards, despite only carrying the ball 207 times (42.7% of total team carries by a running back) while sharing carries with Robb Riddick, Jamie Mueller and Ronnie Harmon.

The Bills had a dominant defense in 1988: they gave up the fewest points (237) and the fewest total yards (4,578) in the AFC in 1988. The defensive unit was given the nickname "Blizzard Defense,"[4][5] alluding to Buffalo's harsh winters.

Four Bills players made the All-Pro team in 1988: defensive end Bruce Smith, linebackers Shane Conlan and Cornelius Bennett, and kicker Scott Norwood.

Head coach Marv Levy was named NFL Coach of the Year by The Sporting News and UPI.

OffseasonEdit

NFL draftEdit

Template:Main article

ESPN's cameras watched Oklahoma State running back Thurman Thomas in his home as he waited to be drafted. He fell to the second round, where the Bills made him their first pick at 40th overall. Thomas would go on to a Hall of Fame career, where he would eclipse O.J. Simpson's all-time team rushing record with 12,074 yards. Thomas would set an NFL record by leading the league in yards-from-scrimmage for four consecutive years, from 1989–1992. (The record of three was previously held by Hall of Famer Jim Brown.) Thomas was a five-time Pro Bowl selection, and 1992 NFL Offensive Player of the Year


1988 Buffalo Bills draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
2 40 Thurman Thomas *  RB Oklahoma State
3 65 Bernard Ford WR Central Florida
5 123 Ezekial Gadson DB Pittsburgh
5 135 Kirk Roach K Western Carolina
6 150 Dan Murray OLB East Stroudsburg (PA)
7 177 Tim Borcky OT Memphis
7 184 Bo Wright RB Alabama
8 204 John Hagy DB Texas
8 213 Jeff Wright DT Central Missouri
9 235 Carlton Bailey ILB North Carolina
10 262 Martin Mayhew DB Florida State
11 289 Pete Curkendall DT Penn State
12 309 John Driscoll OT New Hampshire
12 316 Tom Erlandson LB Washington
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

[6]

PersonnelEdit

Staff/CoachesEdit

1988 Buffalo Bills staff[7]
Front Office
  • Owner/President – Ralph Wilson
  • Vice President of Administration/General Manager – Bill Polian
  • Vice President of Football Operations – Marv Levy
  • Director of College Scouting – John Butler
  • Director of Pro Personnel/Asst. Director of Football Operations – Bob Ferguson
  • National Scout – Norm Pollom
  • College Scout – A. J. Smith
  • Administrative Assistant to the Head Coach – Chuck Dickerson

Coaching Staff

  • Head Coach – Marv Levy

Offensive Coaches

Defensive/Special Teams Coaches

  • Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers – Walt Corey
  • Defensive Line – Ted Cottrell
  • Defensive Backs – Dick Roach
  • Defensive Assistant – Chuck Lester
  • Special Teams – Bruce DeHaven

strength & Conditioning

  • Strength and Conditioning Coordinator – Rusty Jones


RosterEdit

1988 Buffalo Bills roster

Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Reserve Lists

  • 77 Tony Brown OT (IR)
  • 82 Bernard Ford WR (IR)
  • 42 Joe Howard WR (IR)
  • 74 Bruce Mesner NT (IR)
  • 57 Dan Murray ILB (IR)
  • 98 Elston Ridgle DE (IR)
  • 20 Bo Wright RB (IR)

Rookies in italics

Regular seasonEdit

Season standingsEdit

1988 AFC East
Team W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA Streak
Buffalo Bills(2) 12 4 0 .750 7–1 10–2 329 237 L1
Indianapolis Colts 9 7 0 .563 5–3 7–5 354 315 W1
New England Patriots 9 7 0 .563 5–3 7–5 250 284 L1
New York Jets 8 7 1 .531 3–5 6–7–1 372 354 W2
Miami Dolphins 6 10 0 .375 0–8 3–9 319 380 L1

ScheduleEdit

Week Date Opponent Result Record Game Site Attendance
1 September 4, 1988 Minnesota Vikings W 13–10 1–0 Rich Stadium
76,783
2 September 11, 1988 Miami Dolphins W 9–6 2–0 Rich Stadium
79,520
3 September 18, 1988 at New England Patriots W 16–14 3–0 Sullivan Stadium
55,945
4 September 25, 1988 Pittsburgh Steelers W 36–28 4–0 Rich Stadium
78,735
5 October 2, 1988 at Chicago Bears L 24–3 4–1 Soldier Field
62,793
6 October 9, 1988 Indianapolis Colts W 34–23 5–1 Rich Stadium
76,018
7 October 17, 1988 at New York Jets W 37–14 6–1 The Meadowlands
70,218
8 October 23, 1988 New England Patriots W 23–20 7–1 Rich Stadium
76,824
9 October 30, 1988 1988 Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers W 28–0 8–1 Rich Stadium
79,176
10 November 6, 1988 at Seattle Seahawks W 13–3 9–1 Kingdome
61,074
11 November 14, 1988 at Miami Dolphins W 31–6 10–1 Joe Robbie Stadium
67,091
12 November 20, 1988 New York Jets W 9–6 (OT) 11–1 Rich Stadium
78,389
13 November 27, 1988 at Cincinnati Bengals L 35–21 11–2 Riverfront Stadium
58,672
14 December 4, 1988 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 10–5 11–3 Tampa Stadium
49,498
15 December 11, 1988 Los Angeles Raiders W 37–21 12–3 Rich Stadium
77,348
16 December 18, 1988 at Indianapolis Colts L 17–14 12–4 Hoosier Dome
59,908


Awards and recordsEdit

All-ProsEdit

Template:Main article First Team

Second Team

ReferencesEdit

  1. NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, Template:ISBN, p. 262
  2. NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, Template:ISBN, p. 390
  3. Buffalo also reached the conference championship following the 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993 seasons, winning them all
  4. Milwaukee Journal, December 21, 1988 | Retrieved January 11, 2012
  5. Orlando Sentinel, December 22, 1988 | Retrieved January 11, 2012: "ANOTHER BLIZZARD is sweeping through Buffalo. The effects of this one aren't being felt by residents, but by opposing teams at the Buffalo Bills' Rich Stadium. This blizzard is actually The Blizzard Defense, which is the name Bills defenders chose for themselves as part of a local newspaper's Name That Defense contest. Members of the AFC's top-ranked defense selected that name over dozens submitted by readers of The Buffalo News."
  6. The Football Database. Retrieved 2014-Aug-11.
  7. 1988 Buffalo Bills Media Guide. pp. 3–24. 

External linksEdit

  1. REDIRECT Template:Los Angeles Chargers roster

Template:Buffalo Bills seasons Template:1988 NFL season by team

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