Unlike most of the offensive-minded AFL, the Bills focused on defense, allowing the third-fewest points in the league (303). Their defensive line boasted Laverne Torczon and Chuck McMurtry (both of whom were 1st Team All-AFL in 1960), as well as a mobile, hard-hitting middle linebacker in Archie Matsos, who was AFL All-Star in each of the three seasons he spent in Buffalo. The Bills' defense led the league in fewest passing yards allowed (2,130) and most passes intercepted (33), with NFL veterans Richie McCabe and Jim Wagstaff in their secondary.
The Bills' offense, however, was not as competent. The 1960 Bills had the worst passing attack in the AFL, throwing for 2,346 yards. Former Cleveland BrownsquarterbackTommy O'Connell started the season 1–3 before being replaced by Johnny Green. Green would go 3–3 as a starter, despite only completing 39% of his passes.Richie Lucas, the Bills' first ever draft pick, was a bust, both at quarterback and at halfback, throwing only 49 passes all season.
In their first season, the Bills wore silver helmets and light blue home jerseys. Their road jerseys were white with light blue letters. The team wore white pants both at home and on the road. The Bills' helmets displayed the player's number in light blue on the side where the logo would normally be (much like the Alabama Crimson Tide's helmets.)
When Lamar Hunt announced formation of the American Football League in the summer of 1959, Buffalo was one of the target cities Hunt sought, based on its previous success with the Bills in the AAFC. His first choice of owner, however, turned him down; Pat McGroder (then a liquor store owner and sports liaison with the city of Buffalo) was still hopeful that the threat of the AFL would prompt the NFL to come back to Buffalo to try and stop the AFL from gaining a foothold there (as the NFL would do with teams in Minnesota, Dallas, St. Louis and later Atlanta). McGroder's hopes never came to fruition, and in 1961, he took a position in the new Bills organization.
Harry Wismer, who was to own the Titans of New York franchise, reached out to insurance salesman and automobile heir Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. to see if he was interested in joining the upstart league. (Both Wismer and Wilson were minority owners of NFL franchises at the time: Wilson part-owned the Detroit Lions, while Wismer was a small partner in the Washington Redskins but had little power due to majority owner George Preston Marshall's near-iron fist over the team and the league). Wilson agreed to field a team in the new league, with the words "Count me in. I'll take a franchise anywhere you suggest." Hunt gave him the choice of six cities: Miami, Buffalo, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Atlanta, or Louisville, Kentucky; after being turned down in his effort to put a team in Miami, he consulted with Detroit media, who connected him with McGroder and The Buffalo News managing editor Paul Neville; their efforts to lobby Wilson to come to Buffalo were successful, and Wilson sent Hunt a telegram with the now-famous words, "Count me in with Buffalo."