It’s time. Buffalo is hosting a playoff game for the second straight year, and it’s a doozy. On a frigid Saturday night, New England rides into Orchard Park with vengeance on their mind. The Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots have a storied past, and it just gets better on January 15th, 2022. The Bills have a long past with the Wild Card round, but we have to predate the existence of the Wild Card if we want to find our lone postseason matchup with the Pats. We go back to 1963 and the AFL’s fourth season.
They were the Boston Patriots at the time. While they played out of the legendary Fenway Park as a temporary home, they still had a knack for being the thorn in our side. After drawing first blood in the season series, Buffalo went to Fenway Park to end things and would have had the inside track to win the division if they’d taken home the ‘W’. Instead, they were caught in a brutal defensive slog. After scoring the opening points in the second quarter, they were quiet for the rest of the day. The Patriots took the season back, and didn’t let go. Both teams finished the season at 7-6-1, but the Patriots would be awarded the top spot.
1963 AFL Playoffs
However, despite the Patriots winning the division based off divisional record, Buffalo would host the game in War Memorial Stadium. ‘The Rockpile’, as it was affectionately known, had seen better days. Quarterbacks Jack Kemp and rookie Daryle Lamonica had been biting at each other’s heels all season for the QB1 spot, frequently substituted for one another whenever the going got rough. It stayed rough in this one, as the pair combined for four interceptions. On the leg of kicker Gino Cappelletti, and the arm of Babe Parilli, Boston stormed out in front. The Bills were quiet, and went into the second half with a dismal 16-point deficit. They had a doughnut on the scoreboard.
Buffalo opened the second half with a 93-yard heave to future Buffalo Bills Wall of Famer Elbert ‘Golden Wheels’ Dubenion. After the two-point conversion, they would cut their decifit in half, but they would be the only points of the game for the Bills as they went on to lose 26-8. The Boston Patriots would play in the AFL Championship Game, where they were promptly demolished by the San Diego Chargers 51-10. The Buffalo Bills would win the division for the first time with a 12-2 record in 1964 and win the next two consecutive AFL Championships against those same Chargers.
Times have changed significantly since those days, but some things stay the same. A bitter Buffalo cold, a hungry team with everything to prove, and one game with it all on the line. The Bills will need to play with tight screws, but we’ve seen what this team is capable of. Beat New England, and take the first step towards Super Bowl glory.