As an addendum to our Top 5 Bills Thanksgiving Day games on the home page of Buffalobills.com today is the little known football history between Buffalo and games played on this day.
The first games in pro football history played on Thanksgiving happened in 1920 and a local Buffalo area team was part of the six-game slate.
The All-Tonawanda team took on the Rochester Jeffersons on Nov. 25, 1920 and came away with a 14-3 victory.
The following year the Buffalo All-Americans were part of just a two game schedule on Nov. 24, 1921 as they posted a 7-6 win over the Chicago Staleys.
In 1922 those same Buffalo All-Americans shut out the Rochester Jeffersons 21-0.
The last Thanksgiving Day game for the Buffalo All-Americans came in 1923 when they lost to the Akron Pro by a 2-0 score.
In 1924 those same Akron Pro shut out the Buffalo Bisons 22-0.
The Buffalo area would not have a Thanksgiving Day game participant again until 1948 when the Buffalo Bills of the old All-American Football Conference beat the Chicago Rockets in a 39-35 shootout.
Another 13 years would pass before the American Football League put Buffalo back on the Thanksgiving Day game schedule in 1961 when the Bills fell to the New York Titans at the Polo Grounds 21-14.
Tags: All-Tonawanda, Buffalo All-Americans, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Bisons, Thanksgiving Day games
Posted in Inside the Bills
Happy Friday the 13th everybody! Let’s get to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net, which is where you can submit your question.
1 – Chris,
The long snapper is always mystifying to most NFL fans. As they only play on punting and field goals. In terms of Garrison Sanborn, he hasn’t played any time at offensive line. With roster spots so key, why don’t the Bills get a player to snap and also play in some capacity. It would make sense for Wood or any other interior lineman to play this position. What is the teams philosophy for the position considering he is on such few plays?
CB: The long snapper has been a specialized position for the better part of 20-25 years. Mastering the velocity and accuracy is practically an art form. Yes, there are other players on Buffalo’s roster that can do it in a pinch, but NFL clubs have made it clear they’re willing to devote a roster spot to that role. It’s obvious they feel it’s worth it and Chan Gailey, who was once a special teams coach, feels the same way.
Your point however, is valid. For a guy that’s in on about 15 plays a game it’s certainly one that’s short on quantity. Obviously NFL coaches favor the quality of the performance at that position more.
2 – Chris,
Last year Buddy and Chan were very busy all year adding O linemen,recievers,TEs,linebackers etc. So many it is impossible to know who we still have and who we have let go. I checked the “transaction” file and it doesn’t help and needs to be upgraded.
Do we know who of all those additions still have a chance to stay? I know that after the draft and then the additions of UDFAs and all those others. I’m going to go crazy trying to figure out who is who?
Thanks for any help you can give us.
CB: Since there is no CBA there are no rules as to how many accrued seasons a player must have to be an unrestricted, restricted or exclusive rights free agent. With no rules there is no way to designate the free agent status of players whose contracts are up. As such it’s more difficult to determine who is more likely to stay or go. Hence your crazy state of being.
When it’s all settled it’ll come into better focus.
3 - Hey Chris,
First off, thank you so much for all you do with keep my fellow Bills fans and myself up to date on our beloved team, even through our YEARS of struggles. With the release of the 2011 schedule, once again it looks like a real tough one, 2nd toughest in the NFL, I looked back at the last 5 years. Four of the last five years we have played both Super Bowl teams. The other year we played one. What are the odds of something like that happening? I think before they started this rotational schedule, they use to determine opponents by records? Do you think it’s just poor luck of the draw or that the NFL should reconsider their strength of scheduling rules? I know they never know which teams are going to do well, but 9 of the last 10 Super Bowl teams seems ridiculous!! Thanks again for everything and as always GO BILLS and GO 2011 NFL SEASON!!
CB: First, thanks for the kind words. I understand your frustration, but the rotational schedule is what it is. Now the Bills did have a much easier schedule in 2008 when they began with three of their first five games against the pitiful NFC West and got off to a 5-1 start. Part of Buffalo’s strength of schedule can be directly attributed to the Patriots regular season dominance. They went 14-2 last season and that sharply shifts the winning percentage of their opponents. But they also face teams like Cincinnati and Denver, teams that were right there with them at the top of the draft board with the same 2010 record (4-12).
Sometimes a team will have the unfortunate timing of facing an intra or inter conference division that has quality from top to bottom (NFC East). The AFC West had been struggling in recent years with the exception of San Diego, but Kansas City has rebounded and Oakland was even at .500 last year. The strength of divisions sometimes go in cycles and it’s just a matter of when your team is up to play them.
4 - Chris,
I have been an avid Buffalo Bills fan for years, I know how we got the name Bills, but what does it (Bills) mean or stand for?
CB: So you know the story of the essay contest to name the AAFC team back in 1946 and the winning essay was written by James Dyson.
He compared the team to a band of “Buffalo Bills.” He wrote that while the legendary Indian Scout William “Buffalo Bill” Cody helped trailblaze the American Frontier, the football team was opening a new frontier in Buffalo sports.
So in essence the Bills are a band of trailblazers I suppose for lack of a clearer definition.
5 - Chris,
Can you help to break down the rotation of players in both 4-3 and 3-4 system coming into camp? It’s seems a given that Marcell and Kyle will be on the field in both schemes for a majority of the plays. Will Troup now have to be 3rd in line to play nose or 3-technique? In 3-4 DE, does Carrington have a chance to push Dwan for a starting chance?
CB: The coaches will obviously make those decisions, but here’s what I envision them doing. In a 3-4 set it should be from left to right Dareus, Williams and Dwan Edwards. Carrington and Spencer Johnson are the two rotational ends with Torell Troup the backup nose.
If they choose to go to more of a 4-3 look in the subpackages, Dareus will likely kick inside with Williams. Carrington, who is one of the better pass rushing ends would likely be on the field as well, with possible a stand up linebacker on the right side next to Williams.
In a straight 4-3 I’d expect it to be left to right Dareus, Troup, Williams, Edwards.
Tags: 2011 NFL schedule, 3-4 defense, Alex Carrington, Buffalo Bills, Dwan Edwards, Fan Friday, Garrison Sanborn, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, NFL free agency, Spencer Johnson, Torell Troup
Posted in Inside the Bills
Michael Lombardi, a former NFL front office man, and current contributor on National Football Post had an interesting take on what he feels the future of the Bills needs to be.
He’s a proponent of taking Buffalo’s weather through the course of the season into account when determining how to rebuild this team into a contender.
Tags: Buffalo Bills
Posted in Inside the Bills
Getting ready for Week 2. Got some good questions from you. Keep them coming. AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1. Hi Chris,
Do you know how the “Bills'” name came about? And if so, what exactly does “Bills” stand for?
Currently in Baghdad, Iraq and was part of an interesting discussion with some guys the other day.
CB: Here’s your answer on the origin of the “Bills” team name. It goes all the way back to 1946 when in an effort to generate more fan interest and distinguish the All-American Football Conference team from the city’s minor league baseball and hockey teams, which were also called the Bisons, the team ran a contest to select a new name. Over 4,500 entries were submitted, and the “Bills” won out over “Bullets” “Nickels” and “Blue Devils.”
James F. Dyson, though not the only one to suggest Bills with his entry, was named the winner of the $500 grand prize based on his essay comparing the team to a band of “Buffalo Bills.”
When Ralph Wilson founded the AFL club in 1959 they adopted the name left behind by the AAFC team.
2. Hi Chris
I am a long time Bills fan, and am wondering what role you think the following three young players (I like them all) will have on the team come regular season: Steve Johnson, Reggie Corner and Ellis Lankster.
CB: Right now Reggie Corner is the nickel cornerback. That could change however, once Drayton Florence returns to the lineup. Steve Johnson and Ellis Lankster are two players that will find it hard to be on the active roster on game day when seven players must be inactive. Johnson has a greater chance to make a contribution than Lankster, but it might not come unless there is an injury or two at receiver.
3. Chris- When players look at still photos on the sidelines, what information can they get from that to help during the game?
CB: Offensive players are looking at the defense’s pre-snap look and then there will be another photo after that which reveals how they defended the play out of that look. Quarterbacks can see how the opponent disguised a defensive play call on a particular down and distance so if that look is shown again later in the game they have a better idea as to what might be coming on a 3rd-and-medium. That’s just one example, but there’s valuable info they can get off those photos when assembled in sequence.
4. I am a big Bills fan, and I was wondering what you thought about Dick Jauron’s comments about the 3-4 defense. And how he said he’s not opposed to using it and that you need the right personnel. Personally I think our defense is showing improvement but I really think that they need to get out of the middle of the pack and get to the top 10 this season for success. Though it is far too late to be thinking of this, I think we do have the right personnel for 3-4 defense. You would have Marcus Stroud as the NT, move John McCargo to DE and Spencer Johnson to DE. Then you move Aaron Schobel and Aaron Maybin to OLB. And then slide Mitchell into ILB with Paul Pozluszny. What do you think of this. I understand it would be impossible to incorporate now but do you think it could have worked?.
Thanks and Go Bills!
CB: It’s an interesting plan you have there with the exception of Stroud at the nose. In his first edition of Marcus’ Mailbag on Buffalobills.com this week he said he does not consider himself a two-gap nose and would rather play the five-technique (DE) in the 3-4 if it came to changing the front. I think all your other moves are realistic.
Who knows? With a strong DT class coming out in 2010, maybe some more serious thought can be given to that idea in the future. But not this season.
I hope all is well with you today! My son and I were curious how Kevin is doing? Do you plan on doing any updates?
Nashville Bills Backer!!!
CB: I don’t have any updates for you on Kevin Everett. For all of us Kevin will always be a Bill, but now that he’s no longer with the team we don’t keep track of him and his progress as much as we used to. To keep up to speed on what he’s doing I encourage you to go to his website at the following link (below). He’s got a blog page there as well as a link where you can send him an email. I’m sure he’d be glad to reconnect with some Bills fans.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Aaron Schobel, Buffalo Bills, Dick Jauron, Ellis Lankster, Fan Friday, John McCargo, Kawika Mitchell, Kevin Everett, Marcus Stroud, Paul Posluszny, Reggie Corner, Spencer Johnson, Steve Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills
One more statistic I compiled as I assessed the remaining schedule for all of the AFC East teams was the combined home record of every division team’s remaining road opponents.
Surprisingly, New England’s road opponents have the worst home record at a combined 7-9. Buffalo is their best home record road opponent (3-1). Everyone else is .500 or worse.
Miami’s road opponents have a combined home record of 8-8 with the Bills and Jets the best (each 3-1 at home).
The Jets have road opponents with a combined home record of 10-8. That is obviously skewed by their road date at Tennessee where the Titans are 5-0.
Buffalo’s road opponents have the best combined home record of all the AFC East teams with a 10-7 record. That’s mainly thanks to the Jets (3-1), New England (3-1) and Denver (3-2) all above .500.
I don’t know how much weight that statistic might carry, but knowing the majority of Buffalo’s remaining road games are against teams with the best combined home record among the AFC East teams doesn’t make me feel good.
Tags: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets
Posted in Inside the Bills