As we approach the new season and the new millennium, it's time to reflect on 40 years of memories of Buffalo Bills football. Here now, a look at some of the highs and lows:
1. Bills 41, Oilers 38 (OT). Wild-card playoff. Jan. 3, 1993. Rich Stadium. Greatest comeback in NFL history.
2. Bills 51, Raiders 3. 1990 AFC Championship. Jan. 20, 1991. Rich Stadium.
3. Bills 23, Chargers 0. 1965 AFL Championship Game. Dec. 26, 1965. Balboa Stadium.
4. Bills 20, Chargers 7. 1964 AFL Championship Game. Dec. 26, 1964. War Memorial Stadium.
5. Bills 17, Miami 7. Sept. 7, 1980. Rich Stadium. Snaps NFL record 20-game loss streak to Dolphins.
6. Bills 30, Chiefs 13. 1993 AFC Championship. Jan. 23, 1994. Rich Stadium.
7. Bills 10, Broncos 7. 1991 AFC Championship. Jan. 12, 1992. Rich Stadium.
8. Bills 9, Jets 6. Nov. 20, 1988. Rich Stadium. Clinches AFC East title.
9. Bills 34, 49ers 31. Sept. 13, 1992. Candlestick Park. First NFL game ever without a punt.
10. Bills 30, Raiders 27 (OT). Dec. 8, 1991. Los Angeles Coliseum. Jim Kelly stages dramatic comeback.
MOST MEMORABLE PLAYS
1. Wide Right. Jan. 27, 1991. Scott Norwood's missed 47-yard field-goal attempt with four seconds left, preserving the Giants' 20-19 victory in Super Bowl XXV in Tampa Stadium.
2. Hit Heard 'Round the World. Dec. 26, 1964. Mike Stratton knocking San Diego's Keith Lincoln out of the '64 AFL Championship Game at War Memorial Stadium.
3. The Drop. Jan. 6, 1990. Ronnie Harmon dropped a pass in the end zone from Kelly in the final seconds of a divisional-round playoff game at Cleveland. On the next play, Kelly was intercepted by Clay Matthews, preserving the Browns' 34-30 win.
4. 2003! Dec. 16, 1973. O.J. Simpson became the first NFL player to gain 2,000 yards rushing in a season when his 7-yard carry capped a 200-yard day against the Jets in Shea Stadium.
5. Monday Night Miracle. Sept. 16, 1974. In only their second appearance on Monday Night Football, the Bills stunned the Oakland Raiders, 21-20, in the '74 season-opener in Rich Stadium on Joe Ferguson's 13-yard TD pass to Ahmad Rashad with 26 seconds left.
6. Keeping it. Sept. 10, 1989. In the '89 season-opener at Joe Robbie Stadium, Jim Kelly was supposed to throw a pass to the fullback in the flat, but instead ran a 2-yard keeper for a TD on the final play of a 27-24 victory over the Dolphins.
7. Hail Mary. Nov. 22, 1981. Ferguson's 36-yard TD pass that Roland Hooks caught on a deflection from one of six Patriots in the end zone with five seconds left to give the Bills a 20-17 victory in Rich Stadium.
8. The Block. Nov. 20, 1988. Fred Smerlas' block of a 40-yard Pat Leahy field-goal attempt with 19 seconds left in regulation to force OT against the Jets. Norwood's 30-yard field goal gave the Bills a 9-6 victory, clinched their first division title since 1980, and touched off 'Fan-Demonium' in Rich Stadium.
1. 1982. Tom Cousineau, who never played for Buffalo, to Cleveland for a first-round draft pick in 1983, which the Bills used to select Jim Kelly.
2. 1987. Greg Bell, two first-round draft picks and a second-rounder to the Colts for Cornelius Bennett.
3. 1977. Paul Seymour to the Steelers for Frank Lewis, who set a club record with two 1,000-yard receiving seasons while Seymour never played for Pittsburgh.
4. 1978. O.J. Simpson to the 49ers for five draft choices, one of which was used for Joe Cribbs, who went on to become the Bills' third all-time leading rusher, and another of which was used for Cousineau.
5. 1960. Defensive tackle Al Crow to the Patriots for running back Wray Carlton, who went on to become the Bills' fourth all-time leading rusher while Crow was a non-factor.
1. 1967. Daryle Lamonica and Glenn Bass to the Raiders for Tom Flores and Art Powell. A year later, Lamonica took the Raiders to the Super Bowl; the injury-prone Flores played two seasons for Buffalo, while Powell lasted only one.
2. 1971. Ron McDole to the Redskins for third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks used for Bob Kampa, Jeff Yeates and John Ford. They were non-factors while the defensive lineman known as The Dancing Bear went on to give eight quality seasons to the 'Skins.
3. 1980. Joe DeLamielleure to the Browns for a second-round pick in '81 (defensive back Chris Williams) and a third-round choice in '82 (traded to Seattle for guard Tom Lynch); DeLamielleure had several more productive seasons with Cleveland, while neither Williams nor Lynch did much with Buffalo.
4. 1980. Bobby Chandler to the Raiders for Phil Villapiano; Chandler caught 10 TD passes to help the Raiders to another Super Bowl, while the veteran linebacker didn't have much left to contribute.
BEST FREE-AGENT SIGNINGS
1. Elbert Dubenion, WR, Bluffton College
2. Ted Washington, NT, Broncos
3. Bryce Paup, LB, Packers
4. Robert James, CB, Fisk University
5. James Lofton, WR, Raiders
6. Doug Flutie, QB, CFL
MOST BIZARRE OFF-FIELD MOMENTS
1. Oct. 23, 1989. Assistant coaches Tom Bresnahan and Nick Nicolau brawled in a meeting room while watching film of a 34-3 victory over the Jets the day before. The dispute apparently centered around which element of the Bills' offense contributed more to the win: the running game, which Bresnahan coordinated, or the passing game, which Nicolau helped design. Nicolau opened Bresnahan's chin with an uppercut, then got him in a headlock and rammed his head through a plasterboard wall. Bresnahan wore a turban-like bandage on his head during meetings and practice later in the day.
2. Oct. 16, 1966. Booth Lusteg alleged that hours after his missed 23-yard field-goal attempt resulted in a 17-17 tie with the Chargers in War Memorial Stadium, he was attacked by three angry male fans on Delaware Avenue. "They pulled over to the curb and started yelling, 'you bum,' and cursing me," Lusteg said. "One hit me and the other ripped my shirt. It was still broad daylight, and people were around, so they jumped back in their car and drove away." Media, teammates and coaches questioned the validity of the story, although Billy Shaw later said that had he and Jack Kemp spotted Lusteg in the street after the game, they probably would have done the same thing.
3. Oct. 13, 1997. Billy Joe Hobert confessed to reporters that he had barely studied his playbook before being pressed into duty during the previous day's 33-6 loss to the Patriots. After starter Todd Collins went out with a shoulder injury midway through the first quarter, Hobert's first pass was well overthrown and intercepted. His third pass was well underthrown and also picked off. "Every week, I've taken pride in knowing the game plan as well as the starter," Hobert said. "This is the first week I can remember where I only looked at the passing plays one or two times. I'm probably going to get in trouble for this, but I just didn't study hard enough." Two days later, he was waived.
4. Nov. 17, 1964. Lou Saban waived Cookie Gilchrist for "a combination of many things," which included being arrested for striking a police officer. "We've gotten 2 1/2 good seasons from him and we appreciate what he has done," Saban said. "But there is only so much you can take." A day later, however, Saban reconsidered and took Gilchrist back off waivers after the running back apologized to his teammates and on live local television.
1. Bryan Cox, LB, Dolphins/Bears/Jets
2. Jimmy Johnson coach, Cowboys/Dolphins
3. Ben Coates, TE, Patriots
4. Bill Parcells, coach, Giants/Patriots/Jets
5. Nick Buoniconti, LB, Patriots/Dolphins
6. Larry Csonka, RB, Dolphins/Giants
1. On Oct. 11, 1969, newly activated Preston Ridlehuber threw a 45-yard halfback option pass to Haven Moses for a TD with 5:02 left to give the Bills a 23-16 victory over the Patriots at War Memorial Stadium. "I didn't practice that play at all," Ridlehuber admitted.
2. On Oct. 21, 1990, fullback Jamie Mueller caught a 14-yard TD pass from Kelly with 19 seconds left to give the Bills a 30-27 victory over the Jets at Rich Stadium. "This is the last thing I ever expected," Mueller said of the only scoring catch of his four-year NFL career.
WORST WEATHER DAYS
1. Nov. 30, 1969: Bills 16, Bengals 13 at War Memorial Stadium. Blizzard conditions.
2. Jan. 15, 1994: Bills 29, Raiders 23 at Rich Stadium. Temperature: 0. Wind chill: minus-32.
3. Sept. 29, 1974: Bills 16, Jets 12 at Rich Stadium. Torrential rain, 40 mph winds. Ferguson passing: 0-for-2, 0 yards.
4. Dec. 26, 1993: Bills 16, Jets 14 at Rich Stadium. Temperature: 0. Wind chill: minus-28.
QB: Jim Kelly, Jack Kemp
RB: O.J. Simpson, Thurman Thomas
FB: Cookie Gilchrist, Jim Braxton
WR: Andre Reed, Elbert Dubenion
WR: Jerry Butler, Bobby Chandler
OT: Will Wolford, Joe Devlin
OG: Billy Shaw, Jim Ritcher
C: Kent Hull, Al Bemiller
OG: Joe DeLamielleure, Ruben Brown
OT: Stew Barber, Howard Ballard
TE: Pete Metzelaars, Ernie Warlick
K: Steve Christie, Pete Gogolak
DE: Bruce Smith, Ron McDole
DT: Tom Sestak, Ted Washington
DT: Fred Smerlas, Jim Dunaway
DE: Phil Hansen, Ben Williams
OLB: Darryl Talley, Cornelius Bennett
MLB: Harry Jacobs, Shane Conlan
OLB: Mike Stratton, Bryce Paup
CB: Robert James, Nate Odomes
CB: Booker Edgerson, Butch Byrd
FS: George Saimes, Tony Greene
SS: Steve Freeman, Henry Jones
P: Chris Mohr, Paul Maguire
ST: Steve Tasker, Mark Pike
Coach: Marv Levy, Lou Saban
Offensive coordinator: Ted Marchibroda
Defensive coordinator: Joel Collier
ALL-TIME OFFENSIVE MVP: Jim Kelly
ALL-TIME DEFENSIVE MVP: Bruce Smith
ALL-TIME COACH: Marv Levy
ALL-TIME GENERAL MANAGER: Bill Polian
News Sports Editor Larry Felser contributed to this story.