1963 Buffalo Bills season

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1963 Buffalo Bills season
Head coach Lou Saban
Owner Ralph Wilson
Home field War Memorial Stadium
Record 7–6–1
Division place 2nd AFL Eastern
Playoff finish did not qualify
Previous season Next season
1962 1964

The 1963 Buffalo Bills season was the team’s fourth season in the American Football League. The Bills finished with their second-consecutive 7–6–1 record, finishing with the same record as the Boston Patriots after winning seven of their final ten games. The Bills lost a one-game playoff with Boston, 26–8, eliminating Buffalo from participation in the 1963 AFL Championship Game.



1963 Buffalo Bills staff

Front Office

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches


Defensive Coaches

Season Summary[edit]

The Bills were favored by many to win the AFL's Eastern division before the season,[1] but for the second consecutive season, the Bills had a terrible start to the year, going 0–3–1 in their first four games. The Bills would rally to win five of their next six games before going 2–2 in the final four weeks.

Quarterback Jack Kemp was the opening day starter for the first time after an abbreviated 1962 season. By Week Four, however, he was splitting time with rookie Daryle Lamonica.[2] During the middle of the Bills' season (other than two Lamonica starts in Weeks 13 and 14), Kemp established himself as the team's leader and full-time passer. Kemp was conservative, but effective, with only 5.2% of his passes being intercepted.

Wide receivers Elbert Dubenion (53 catches for 959 yards) and Bill Miller (69 for 860) were Kemp's biggest targets in 1963,[2] with Cookie Gilchrist leading the team with 979 rushing yards, third in the league. Gilchrist's 12 rushing touchdowns led the AFL, as did his 256 total touches.[2] Gilchrist set a then-record for yards in a game, with 243 in a blowout win against the Jets in Week Fourteen.

Halfback Wray Carlton was sidelined for most of the season with an injury, forcing Gilchrist to shoulder most of the load.[3]

Going into the final week of the season, the Bills were 6–5–1, whereas the division-leading Patriots were 7–5–1: a Patriots win or a Bills loss would give Boston the division title. Instead, the Patriots were blown out 35–3 at Kansas City, and the Bills rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the Jets in the final sporting event played at the Polo Grounds. The Bills and Patriots, now both 7–6–1, would have to play a one-game play-off to determine who would face the Western Division champion Chargers in the AFL Championship game.

In the play-off, on a freezing day in Buffalo, the Bills trailed 16–0 at halftime, and never held a lead. Buffalo's only score was a 93-yard pass from Daryle Lamonica to Elbert Dubenion in the third quarter, with a successful two-point conversion. The Patriots, however, would tack on another ten unanswered points, winning 26–8, and claiming their spot in the AFL Championship. (Boston would be demolished by San Diego, 51–10).


AFL Draft[edit]

Season schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 8, 1963 at San Diego Chargers L 14–10
2 September 15, 1963 at Oakland Raiders L 35–17
3 September 22, 1963 Kansas City Chiefs T 27–27
4 September 28, 1963 Houston Oilers L 31–20
5 October 5, 1963 Oakland Raiders W 12–0
6 October 13, 1963 at Kansas City Chiefs W 35–26
7 October 20, 1963 at Houston Oilers L 28–14
8 October 26, 1963 Boston Patriots W 28–21
9 November 3, 1963 at Denver Broncos W 30–28
10 November 9, 1963 Denver Broncos W 27–17
11 November 17, 1963 San Diego Chargers L 23–13
12 Bye
13 December 1, 1963 at Boston Patriots L 17–7
14 December 8, 1963 New York Jets W 45–14
15 December 14, 1963 at New York Jets W 19–10


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
Playoff December 28, 1963 Boston Patriots L 26–8


AFL Eastern Division
Boston Patriots 7 6 1 .538 4–2 327 257 L1
Buffalo Bills 7 6 1 .538 3–3 304 291 W2
Houston Oilers 6 8 0 .429 3–3 302 372 L4
New York Jets 5 8 1 .385 2–4 249 399 L3

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.


Buffalo Bills roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Awards and Records[edit]


  1. ^ [Neft, David S.; Cohen, Richard M.; and Korch, Rich The Sports Encyclopedia: Pro Football, 12th Edition, page 66, Martin's Press, August 1994, ISBN 0-312-11073-1
  2. ^ a b c Pro-Football-Reference.com: 1963 Buffalo Bills
  3. ^ Neft 1994