Dec. 19, 1948 – The Buffalo Bills had the chance to play for a championship on this date. The other Buffalo Bills, that is.
Western New York's entry in the All-America Football Conference won the East with a mediocre 7-7 record. Then the Bills beat the Baltimore Colts in the first round of the playoffs. The reward for all that was a date with the Cleveland Browns, the most powerful team in the AAFC with a 14-0 record.
It was no contest. The Browns handed the Bills a 49-7 thrashing. Marion Motley ran 14 times for 133 yards and three touchdowns, showing why he was one of the greatest running backs of his time.
The last score of the game came on a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown by the Browns' Lou Saban. He would become more familiar with Buffalo later in life. The Bills' only touchdown came on Jim Still's 10-yard pass to Al Baldwin.
The Bills and the AAFC had one more year left. Then came the merger between the two leagues, and this time Buffalo was left out in the cold.
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.