1979 Buffalo Bills season

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1979 Buffalo Bills season
Head coach Chuck Knox
Owner Ralph Wilson
Home field Rich Stadium
Results
Record 7–9
Division place 4th AFC East
Playoff finish did not qualify
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1978 1980 >

The 1979 Buffalo Bills season was the 20th season for the club, and its tenth in the National Football League.

Head coach Chuck Knox spent his second season with the Bills in 1979, improving on 1978's record by two games. The Bills were 7–6 with three games left to play, but they lost their final three games to finish with a losing record. (Even if Buffalo had won their final three games, they still would have lost the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Miami Dolphins (who finished 10–6) for the division title.)

Buffalo's loss to Miami in Week Seven was their 20th straight loss to the Dolphins, an NFL record.

The 1979 Bills were dead-last in rushing yards in the NFL, with only total 1,621 yards on the ground.[1] Buffalo's 268 points scored was 23rd of the league's 28 teams.[2]

Offseason[edit]

NFL Draft[edit]

Main article: 1979 NFL Draft

Three of Buffalo's first four picks made at least one Pro Bowl: wide receiver Jerry Butler, nose tackle Fred Smerlas, and linebacker Jim Haslett. Haslett was named 1979 AP Rookie of the Year. Smerlas made five Pro Bowls: in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 & 1988.

Defensive end Ken Johnson, center Jon Borchardt, and defensive backs Jeff Nixon and Rod Kush all played for the Bills for six years each, from 1979–1984.

= Pro Bowler [3]
Round Pick # Player Position College
1 1 Tom Cousineau Linebacker Ohio State
1 5 Jerry Butler Wide receiver Clemson
2 32 Fred Smerlas Nose tackle Boston College
2 51 Jim Haslett Linebacker Indiana (PA)
3 62 Jon Borchardt Guard Montana St.
4 83 Ken E. Johnson Defensive end Knoxville
4 87 Jeff Nixon Defensive back Richmond
5 114 Rod Kush Defensive back Nebraska-Omaha
5 116 Dan Manucci Quarterback Kansas St.
6 141 Mike Burrow Guard Auburn
7 170 Tom Mullady Tight end Rhodes
9 226 Kevin Baker Defensive end William Penn
10 253 Dave Marler Quarterback Mississippi St.
11 279 Paul Lawler Defensive back Colgate
12 308 Mike Harris Running back Arizona St.

Tom Cousineau[edit]

Main article: Tom Cousineau

Ohio State linebacker Cousineau was drafted first overall in the 1979 NFL Draft by the Bills, who acquired the pick from the San Francisco in a trade for O.J. Simpson. Cousineau never played a game with the Bills. He instead signed with the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes where they offered double the money that the Bills originally offered. Cousineau became a star there, becoming the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player in the 1979 season. Cousineau wanted to return to the NFL, and in 1982 the Houston Oilers attempted to sign him, but the Bills (who still held Cousineau's NFL rights) matched the offer. He was then traded from the Bills to the Cleveland Browns for a first round draft choice (14th overall) in the 1983 NFL Draft.[4] That pick was used on future Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. Cousineau signed a five-year contract for 2.5 million dollars, the most ever for a Cleveland Brown player at the time.[5]

Roster[edit]

Position # Player College Statistics [5] Honors, Awards & Misc.
QB 12 Joe Ferguson Arkansas 238/458, 3572 yards, 14 TD, 15 INT

22 carries, 68 yards, TD

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 2, 1979 Miami Dolphins L 9–7
69,441
2 September 9, 1979 Cincinnati Bengals W 51–24
43,504
3 September 16, 1979 at San Diego Chargers L 27–19
50,709
4 September 23, 1979 New York Jets W 46–31
68,731
5 September 30, 1979 at Baltimore Colts W 31–13
31,904
6 October 7, 1979 Chicago Bears L 7–0
73,383
7 October 14, 1979 at Miami Dolphins L 17–7
45,597
8 October 21, 1979 Baltimore Colts L 14–13
50,581
9 October 28, 1979 at Detroit Lions W 20–17
61,911
10 November 4, 1979 New England Patriots L 26–6
67,935
11 November 11, 1979 at New York Jets W 14–12
50,647
12 November 18, 1979 Green Bay Packers W 19–12
39,679
13 November 25, 1979 at New England Patriots W 16–13
60,991
14 December 2, 1979 Denver Broncos L 19–16
37,886
15 December 9, 1979 at Minnesota Vikings L 10–3
42,239
16 December 16, 1979 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 28–0
48,002

Standings[edit]

AFC East
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA
Miami Dolphins(3) 10 6 0 .625 5–3 6–6 341 257
New England Patriots 9 7 0 .563 4–4 6–6 411 326
New York Jets 8 8 0 .500 4–4 5–7 337 383
Buffalo Bills 7 9 0 .438 4–4 5–7 268 279
Baltimore Colts 5 11 0 .313 3–5 4–10 271 351

Roster[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]

All-Pros[edit]

Main article: 1979 All-Pro Team

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: 1979 NFL Standings, Team & Offensive Statistics The Bills rushed for 101.3 yards per game; the league average for rushing yards was 135.6 yards per game.
  2. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: 1979 Buffalo Bills
  3. ^ Players are identified as a Pro Bowler if they were selected for the Pro-Bowl at any time in their career.
  4. ^ Sports People; Browns Get Cousineau from the New York Times archives, retrieved March 8, 2006
  5. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: 1979 Buffalo Bills