It was a surprise then, and it is still a surprise today. Ralph Wilson reached out and hired a big-name coach on this day.
Chuck Knox had won five straight NFC West titles as coach of the Los Angeles Rams, but he hadn't gotten the team to a Super Bowl. That record wasn't good for owner Carroll Rosenbloom.
So Knox jumped before he was fired, signing a $1.2 million, six-year deal with the Bills. Buffalo's football fans reacted with glee, having gone through some of the worst years in the history of the franchise in the late 1970s.
Knox needed only a couple of years to rebuild the Bills. By 1980, Buffalo jumped out to a 5-0 start and made the playoffs. The Bills were back in the postseason under Knox again in 1981.
However, Buffalo couldn't reach the postseason in 1982, a year remembered for labor troubles. After the season, Knox jumped to the Seattle Seahawks and was replaced by Kay Stephenson.
Knox won plenty of games throughout this career, but never did reach the promised land of the Super Bowl.