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This Day in Bills History, Dec. 4: The original Bills exit the stage

Dec. 4, 1949 – The original Buffalo Bills were members of the All-American Football Conference, which was a rival to the National Football League in the years after World War II. The old Bills were a popular team, but couldn’t get past the Cleveland Browns – a powerhouse by any standard.

This marks the anniversary of the Bills’ last game. Fittingly, it was against Cleveland, and fittingly, the Browns won.

The contest was a first-round playoff game. Buffalo had finished the regular season 5-5-2, and finished second in the division. That was good for a matchup with the 9-1-2 Browns, who were led by legendary coach Paul Brown and Hall of Famers Otto Graham, Lou Groza and Marion Motley.

The Bills gave it a good effort, and even led, 14-10, at halftime. But the Browns eventually came away with a 31-21 win. A 52-yard interception return for a score in the fourth quarter iced the game for Cleveland, which had future Bills’ coach Lou Saban on its roster.

That was it for the Bills. The AAFC merged with the NFL, and Buffalo was out of the pro football business until 1960.

Budd Bailey is a retired sports reporter and editor at The Buffalo News. He is also the author of "Today in Buffalo Sports History." Learn more about the book here.

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