Dec. 28, 1996 – The Super Bowls had stopped coming for the Bills by this time, and the nucleus of great players that made many great moments possible was starting to go its separate ways. A playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars turned out to be one of those moments when it became obvious that the “glory days” were about gone.
The Bills had beaten the Chiefs in the season finale to return to the postseason. Buffalo beat Miami in the first round but were trounced in Pittsburgh in 1995; the Bills had suffered through a 7-9 season in 1994. There was hope that coach Marv Levy could get one more great run out of a familiar cast.
The game went back and forth. Quarterback Jim Kelly left the game a bit early, as he took a hit in the game and felt groggy. Running back Thurman Thomas couldn’t finish the game because of a bad ankle.
Mike Hollis’ 45-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was the difference in Jacksonville’s 30-27 win. Center Kent Hull, whose retirement was expected, was misty-eyed on the sidelines in the final seconds. Kelly later joined Hull in retirement after that season. Hollis kicked for the Bills in 2002.
As of this moment, this game marked the last time the Bills played at home in the postseason.
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.