1976 Buffalo Bills season
|1976 Buffalo Bills season|
|Head coach||Lou Saban (resigned) |
Jim Ringo (interim)
|Home field||Rich Stadium|
|Division place||5th AFC East|
|Playoff finish||Did not qualify|
The 1976 Buffalo Bills season was the franchise's 7th season in the National Football League, and the 17th overall.
Buffalo's season was troubled from the start, as the team was in a contract dispute with star running back O.J. Simpson. Simpson had been demanding a trade, before finally agreeing to a three-year, $2.5 million contract.
The Bills started the season 2–2, before losing their final ten games of the season. Quarterback Joe Ferguson only started the first seven games before being sidelined for the season with a back injury. Backup quarterback Gary Marangi started Buffalo's final seven games, all losses.
The lowest point of the season was when O.J. Simpson was ejected from a game for getting into a fight with New England Patriots defensive end Mel Lunsford. Lunsford was also ejected from the game as well. Neither player was fined or suspended by the league.
1976 Expansion Draft
|0||0||Gary Hayman||Running back||Seattle Seahawks|
|0||0||Frank Oliver||Defensive back||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|0||0||Pat Toomay||Defensive end||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
Note: 1976 was the final year in which the NFL draft was seventeen rounds; it would be reduced to twelve rounds in 1977.
The Bills' 1976 draft produced four long-time starters with their first four picks. First round pick Mario Clark played for seven seasons with the Bills. Offensive guard Ken Jones played for the Bills for eleven years. Offensive tackle Joe Devlin played every game of his 14-year career with the Bills, playing in all 191 regular-season games until his retirement after the 1989 season. Defensive end Ben Williams played for the Bills for 10 years; he was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro for the 1982 season.
|= Pro Bowler |
|1||18||Mario Clark||Defensive back||Oregon|
|2||45||Ken Jones||Guard||Arkansas State|
|3||78||Ben Williams||Defensive end||Mississippi|
|5||142||Fred Coleman||Tight end||N.E. Louisiana|
|6||164||Leslie Benson||Defensive end||Baylor|
|6||171||Scott Piper||Wide receiver||Arizona|
|6||175||Darnell Powell||Running back||Tennessee-Chattanooga|
|7||195||Jackie Williams||Defensive back||Texas A & M|
|8||226||Bobby Joe Easter||Running back||Middle Tennessee State|
|9||255||Bob Kotzur||Defensive tackle||Southwest Texas State|
|10||280||Keith Moody||Defensive back||Syracuse|
|11||309||Forry Smith||Wide receiver||Iowa State|
|12||336||Joe Lowery||Running back||Jackson State|
|14||392||Tony Williams||Wide receiver||Middle Tennessee State|
|16||448||Gary Gorrell||[Linebacker||Boise State|
|17||477||Bob Berg||Kicker||New Mexico|
|1976 Buffalo Bills staff|
Defensive/Special Teams Coaches
|1||September 13, 1976||Miami Dolphins||L 30–21|
|2||September 19, 1976||Houston Oilers||L 13–3|
|3||September 26, 1976||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 14–9|
|4||October 3, 1976||Kansas City Chiefs||W 50–17|
|5||October 10, 1976||at New York Jets||L 17–14|
|6||October 17, 1976||Baltimore Colts||L 31–13|
|7||October 24, 1976||New England Patriots||L 26–22|
|8||October 31, 1976||New York Jets||L 19–14|
|9||November 7, 1976||at New England Patriots||L 20–10|
|10||November 15, 1976||at Dallas Cowboys||L 17–10|
|11||November 21, 1976||San Diego Chargers||L 34–13|
|12||November 25, 1976||at Detroit Lions||L 27–14|
|13||December 5, 1976||at Miami Dolphins||L 45–27|
|14||December 12, 1976||at Baltimore Colts||L 58–20|
O.J. Simpson rushed for 273 yards, setting a Thanksgiving Day record that still holds as of the end of the 2016 season.
|New England Patriots(4)||11||3||0||.786||6–2||10–2||376||236||W6|
|New York Jets||3||11||0||.214||2–6||3–9||169||383||L4|
Awards and honors
- O.J. Simpson, Thanksgiving Day Record, Most Rushing Yards in One Game, 273 yards vs. Detroit Lions, Nov 25 
First Team All-Pros
- Neft, David S.; Cohen, Richard M.; and Korch, Rich The Sports Encyclopedia: Pro Football, 12th Edition, p. 306, Martin's Press, August 1994, ISBN 0-312-11073-1
- Databasefootball.com: Joe Devlin Archived November 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Players are identified as a Pro Bowler if they were selected for the Pro-Bowl at any time in their career.
- 1982 Pro Bowler
- Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2014-Nov-06.
- Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
- NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York, NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 377