The Buffalo Bills were one of the founding teams in the AFL when the league was formed in 1960. They won the AFL Championship twice in 1964 and 1965. Once the AFL merged with NFL in 1970 the Bills became a part of the NFL. Since joining the NFL, the Bills have been to four Super Bowls and lost all of them. The Bills are the only team in NFL history to appear in four straight Super Bowls, they did such between 1990-1993. They lost to the New York Giants in 1990-91, to the Washington Redskins in 1991-1992, and to the Dallas Cowboys both in 1992-1993 and 1993-1994. The Buffalo Bills have retired three numbers in franchise history and have 31 members if their Wall of Fame.
QB: Jim Kelly (1986-96)
Retired Number #12
Pro Football Hall of Fame 2002
Jim Kelly holds almost every franchise passing record for the Buffalo Bills. He is the Bills’ all-time leading passer with 35,467 passing yards, touchdown leader with 237 and the only Bills quarterback to reach 100 wins. The only major quarterback record that Kelly doesn’t hold is interceptions. Kelly was actually drafted by the Bills in 1983, but opted to play in the USFL until its demise in 1986. He was also the Bills quarterback during all four of their Super Bowl appearances. He is a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. Kelly also led the league in passer rating in 1990 and passing touchdowns in 1991. His play landed him on the Bills Wall of Fame, Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and got his number retired by the Bills. After Jim Kelly, Joe Ferguson holds most of the Bills quarterback franchise records. Frank Reich is also considered a legend in Buffalo playing for them for 10 years though he was primarily a backup.
RB: O.J. Simpson (1969-77), Thurman Thomas (1988-99)
NFL Most Valuable Player 1973 (Simpson)
Pro Football Hall of Fame 1985 (Simpson)
NFL Most Valuable Player 1991
Retired Number #34 (Thomas)
Pro Football Hall of Fame 2007 (Thomas)
The Buffalo Bills have had a long history of stars at the running back position. However far and away to two best in the history of the franchise is O.J. Simpson and Thurman Thomas. Before Simpson became a national headline during his trials in the 1990s he was one of the best running backs in football. The Bills took Simpson first overall in 1969. Simpson rushed for 10,183 yards with the Bills making him second in franchise history. He is also second in Bills’ history in rushing touchdowns with 57. Between 1972-1976 Simpson went to five Pro Bowls, was named a First-Team All-Pro five times and led the league in rushing four times. In 1973 he was league MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, and AP Athlete of the Year. As expected with a resume like this Simpson landed on the 1970s All-Decade Team, NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team, NFL’s 100th Anniversary Team, Bills Wall of Fame and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.
A little over a decade later the Bills drafted Thomas. Thomas is the Bills’ all-time leading rusher with 11,938 rushing yards and has the team record in rushing touchdowns with 65. He is also sixth in Bills franchise history in receiving with 4,341 yards. Like Simpson, Thomas is also a five-time Pro Bowler. He is also a five-time All-Pro. Thomas won league MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 1991. He was a member of all four of the Bills Super Bowl teams. Thomas was considered one of the best during his era landing on the 1990s All-Decade Team, Bills Wall of Fame and Hall of Fame in 2007. Thomas also had his number 34 retired by the team as well. Other star running backs who have played for the Bills are Fred Jackson, Joe Cribbs, Willis McGahee, Marshawn Lynch and Lesean McCoy.
WR: Andre Reed (1985-99), Eric Moulds (1996-2005)
Pro Football Hall of Fame 2014 (Reed)
Unlike the running back position, the Buffalo Bills do not have a rich history of top-end wide receivers. Without a doubt the best wide receiver to have ever played for the Bills is Andre Reed. He has all major receiving records in franchise history. Reed has 941 receptions, 13,095 yards receiving and 86 touchdowns with the Bills, all records for the team. He was a part of the Bills four Super Bowl appearances and has the fourth most career receiving yards during Super Bowls with 323. Reed was a Pro Bowler from 1988-1994 and was a Second-Team All-Pro from 1989-1991. Reed is a member of the Bills Wall of Fame and after a long wait was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
Reed was eventually replaced by Eric Moulds as the Bills number one receiver. Moulds is right behind Reed in every major receiving category. He had 675 receptions, 9096 receiving yards and 48 touchdowns during his time with the Bills. That is all second in Bills’ franchise history. Moulds was a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time Second-Team All-Pro. Lee Evans and Stevie Johnson were also a dynamic duo for the Buffalo Bills during their prime.
TE: Pete Metzelaars (1985-94)
Pete Metzelaars is the all-time leading receiver at the tight end position for the Buffalo Bills. Metzelaars has the ninth most touchdowns in team history with 25 and 12th most receiving yards with 2,921. Jay Riemersma and Scott Chandler are two other notable tight ends to play for the Bills.
LT: Will Wolford (1986-92)
Will Wolford was one of the better left tackles in football when he played in Buffalo. Wolford was a two-time Pro Bowler and Second-Team All-Pro in 1992 during his time with the Bills.
G: Billy Shaw (1961-69)
Pro Football Hall of Fame 1999
Though Billy Shaw never played a snap for the current NFL, he is still one of the greatest Bills of all time. Shaw was an eight-time AFL All-Star and named to the All-AFL Team seven times. By today’s standards that means he was an eight-time Pro Bowler and seven-time All-Pro. He was a part of both Bills’ AFL Championship teams and the AFL All-Time team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 and is a member of the Bills Wall of Fame.
C: Kent Hull (1986-96)
Like his quarterback Jim Kelly, Kent Hull also started his career in the USFL. But during his time with the Buffalo Bills Hull was a three-time Pro Bowler between 1988-90. He was also a Second Team All-Pro in 1989 & 1990 and a First Team All-Pro in 1990 & 1991. Hull was a part of the Bills’ Super Bowl teams and is a member of their Wall of Fame.
G: Ruben Brown (1995-2003)
Rueben Brown was a Pro Bowler from 1996-2003. The only year he missed during his time with the Buffalo Bills was his rookie season. He also was named a Second Team All-Pro four-times during his career. Another great guard who deserves an honorable mention for the Buffalo Bills All-Time team is Joe DeLamirlleure who is a member of the Hall of Fame and was a five-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro during his time with the Bills.
RT: Jason Peters (2004-08)
Though he will go down as one of the all-time great Philadelphia Eagles, Jason Peters did get his start with the Buffalo Bills. Peters entered the league an undrafted free agent, but eventually won the Bills starting right tackle job in 2006 and transitioned to the left side in 2007. He was a two-time Pro Bowler with the Bills in 2007 and 2008 and was a two-time Second Team All-Pro those years as well. Most recently Peters was elected to the 2010s All-Decade Team and will one day be a member of the Hall of Fame.
EDGE: Bruce Smith (1985-99), Aaron Schobel (2001-09)
Retired Number #78 (Smith)
Pro Football Hall of Fame 2009 (Smith)
Many consider Bruce Smith to be the best defensive end to ever play the game. His 171 sacks are not only the most in Buffalo Bills history, but a large part of his 200 career sacks. Smith has the most sacks of any player in NFL history since it became an official stat. His career with the Bills started when he was the first overall pick in 1985 and was a part of all four Bills’ Super Bowl teams. He also holds the Bills’ record for forced fumbles (35), and is second in team history in tackles (942). Smith is an 11-time Pro Bowler and 10-time All-Pro (eight-time First-Team All-Pro). He is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year (1990 & 1996) and four-time AFC Defensive Player of the Year (1987, 1988, 1990 and 1996). Smith is a member of the NFL’s 1980s All-Decade Team, 1990s All-Decade Team, NFL’s 100th Anniversary Team, Hall of Fame and Bills Wall of Fame. He also had his number 78 retired by the Bills.
The second-highest leading sacker in Bills franchise history is Aaron Schobel. He had 78 sacks over the course of his career that he spent in entirety with the Bills. Schobel also is second in tackles for loss in team history with 98 and third in forced fumbles with 21. He was a Pro Bowler in both 2006 & 2007 and a Second Team All-Pro in 2006.
DT: Fred Smerlas (1979-89), Kyle Williams (2006-18)
Fred Smerlas and Kyle Williams were great interior defensive lineman during their time in Buffalo. Fred Smerlas was a nose tackle, so his stats weren’t off the chart. But he was a great player during his time. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro. He was the runner up to the Defensive Player of the Year award in 1980. Smerlas is also a member of the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame.
More recently Kyle Williams held down the interior of the Bills’ defensive line and was considered their best defensive player for a period of time. He is the all-time leader in tackles for loss in Bills history (103) and quarterback hits (141). Williams has the fifth-most sacks in franchise history with 48.5. He is also a six-time Pro Bowler and was a Second Team All-Pro in 2010.
LB: Darryl Talley (1983-94), Cornelius Bennett (1987-95), Shane Conlan (1987-92)
It is rare to see that the three best linebackers in a team’s history all played together at the same time. Out of the three, Darryl Talley was drafted first. He is the all-time leading tackler in Bills history with 1,095. Talley is also fourth in forced fumbles (14) and eighth in sacks (38.5). He was a Pro Bowler in both 1990 & 1991 and an All-Pro in 1990 and 1993. Talley was a part of all of the Bills Super Bowl teams. His time with the Bills has landed him on the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame.
Though drafted second overall by the Indianapolis Colts, Bennett was traded to the Buffalo Bills and started his career with them. Bennett is second in team history in forced fumbles with 22, third in team history in tackles with 751 and fourth in sacks with 52.5. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time First Team All-Pro. Bennett was Defensive Player of the Year in 1988 and 1991. He is also a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team. Bennett also played on the Bills’ Super Bowl teams.
The inside linebacker of the group was Shane Conlan. Conlan was actually taken by the Buffalo Bills during the same draft as Bennett. He won the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1987. Conlan is a three-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. He is fifth all-time in Bills history in tackles with 545. He also played for three of the four Bills’ Super Bowl teams.
CB: Nate Odomes (1987-93), Tre’Davious White (2017-Present)
Nate Odomes is tied with Bruce Smith for the most turnovers in Buffalo Bills’ history. He is fifth in Bills’ history in interceptions with 26 and eighth in team history in forced fumbles with nine. Odomes was a Pro Bowler in 1992 & 1993 and was a part of the four Bills Super Bowl teams. Nate Clements is another Pro Bowl cornerback who played for the Bills who has the same amount as turnovers as Odomes and Smith.
It might be very soon, but Tre’Davious White is already one of the best cornerbacks to ever play for the Bills. Buffalo hasn’t had a true shutdown cornerback until now. Even when the Bills had Stephone Gilmore he wasn’t a shutdown cornerback until he left. White is one of the league’s best cornerbacks right now. He went to his first Pro Bowl, named a First-Team All-Pro and was tied for the league lead in interceptions this past year.
DB: Butch Byrd (1964-1970)
The all-time interception leader in Buffalo Bills’ history is Butch Byrd. The record is 40 interceptions. He was a part of both of the Bills AFL Championship victories. Byrd is a five-time AFL All-Star, otherwise known as a five-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-AFL player which means he was a five-time All-Pro. Byrd landed on the AFL’s all-time team.
S: Henry Jones (1991-2000), Jairus Byrd (2009-13)
Henry Jones has the fourth most tackles in Bills history with 546 and the 14th most interceptions with 18. In his second season in 1992, Jones had eight of those interceptions and was selected to his only Pro Bowl and was a First-Team All-Pro.
Jairus Byrd was considered one of the leagues best safeties when he played for the Bills. Byrd has the seventh most forced fumbles in team history with 11 and 10th most interceptions in team history with 22. He is a three-time Pro Bowler, two-time Second Team All-Pro and led the league in interceptions in 2009.
K: Steve Christie (1992-2001)
Steve Christie is the all-time leading scorer in Buffalo Bills history with 1,011 points. Christie was an All-Pro in his rookie year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
P: Brian Moorman (2001-12)
Brian Moorman is the Buffalo Bills all-time leader in punting yards. Moorman had 40,370 yards punting in Buffalo. He was a Pro Bowler and First-Team All-Pro in 2005 and 2006. Moorman is also a member of the 2000s All-Decade Team.
KR: Terrance McGee (2003-12)
Not only was Terrance McGee a threat as a returner for the Bills, but he was also a valuable cornerback. McGee was a Pro Bowler in 2004 and an All-Pro in 2004 & 2005. McGee has five career returns for touchdowns and seven touchdowns overall for his career. Leodis McKelvin was also a long time Bill who was an All-Pro in 2012 for his returner skills.
HC: Marv Levy (1986-97)
Pro Football Hall of Fame 2001
Who else but the head coach who brought the Bills to their four Super Bowl appearances to make this list? Marv Levy is the Bills franchise leader in wins with 112 wins. He also has won 11 of his 19 playoff games. Unfortunately, four of those losses are his Super Bowl appearances.