Buffalo Bills is a professional American football team, which competes in the American Football Conference East division. It began to play as an American Football League franchise in 1960, but the club joined the National Football League as a result of the AFL-NFL merger for the 1970 season.
The first club owner is Ralph Wilson. Lamar Hunt, the founder of AFL, offered him to join the major league and gave him a list of 6 cities. He chose Buffalo – attorney Paul Crotty negotiated a sweetheart deal with Civic Stadium in Buffalo, offering Wilson full control of the venue and a deep discount on rent.
Fans wanted to name the new franchise after the former AAFC Bills that merged into the Cleveland Browns in 1950. Ralph Wilson supported this idea. The old team with the same name was named after the popular quartet Buffalo Bills, which was named after the showman and hunter William Frederick Cody. He earned the nickname by killing 4,280 buffaloes in eighteen months.
Ralph Wilson died in 2014. Terrence Pegula and his wife Kim became the owners of the football club. They bought the franchise for $1.4 billion on October 10.
Meaning and History
Each of the four Buffalo Bills emblems is unique. But they also have a common element – the buffalo. At first, the artists depicted two animals at once, and to show the connection with sports; they supplemented the drawing with a large elliptical ball and two football players in a white and blue team uniform. Then they took the path of minimalism, reducing the number of characters: one player, one buffalo.
1970 was a turning point for the club. At that time, a simplified logo with a red animal silhouette appeared. It was used for only three years but served as the basis for the next – permanent – emblem.
1960 – 1961
The central image of the Buffalo Bills logo is a blue football. It’s used as a background for the other elements. The logo depicts a herd of buffaloes and two football players in Buffalo Bills uniform of that time. A white wordmark “BUFFALO BILLS” in block letters is on top. The font is without squiggles.
1962 – 1969
The second version of the Buffalo Bills logo is similar to the first one. The developers made the ball the background again. The logo now features a brown buffalo in grainy sepia and a football player with 31 on his blue and white shirt. There is a white helmet with a red cross stripe and an image of Buffalo on his head. Wordmark “Buffalo Bills” is gone: it’s only the distinctive outfit that marks belonging to the franchise.
1970 – 1973
Designers changed the initial concept in 1970. They removed the balls and football players. They kept only the red Buffalo – the one on the helmet in the last version of the Buffalo Bills emblem. Granularity is low, and there are no outlines.
This is the unused Buffalo Bills logo. It was created in 2002 when general manager Tom Donahoe decided to change the players’ uniform and logo. A stylized letter “B” (stands for Buffalo Bills) in the lower-left corner, consisted of one red bullet and one blue bullet. There’s a charging bison on top of it. Fans were opposed to these changes, so the franchise went back to the version of 1974.
1974 – present
The present Buffalo Bills logo was created by an aerospace designer and commercial illustrator, Stevens Wright. His wife Jere Wright was a production manager for NFL Properties, the group that handled all of the league’s licensing and branding. Jere brought her husband’s talents to the attention of David Boss, who was the director of NFL Properties’ creative services division at the time. Boss promptly gave Stevens a plum assignment: creating a new logo for the Bills. Stevens Wright submitted several designs to the Bills in the summer of 1973. Team general manager Robert Lustig responded with a letter in which he expressed a strong preference for the design that ultimately would become the charging Buffalo. The author of the logo has always been proud of it, and it is not surprising: it was created back in 1974 but is still used by the team today. They could not find a replacement for him: fans immediately rejected the only new option proposed for consideration in 2002 as unsuccessful.
Buffalo Bills emblem depicted the blue bison – as schematic and minimalistic as in the version of 1970. Unlike the previous logo, this one is more dynamic. Not only bison’s flying position but also a red slanting stripe streaming from its white horn point out the movement. This image consists of all colors of the football club, except for dark blue. The debut of the completed logo took place in the 40th season.
Font and colors of the Emblem
The buffalo, the main symbol of the club, is depicted in an abstract style. However, this did not prevent the artist from creating a sense of dynamics, showing the animal’s character and expressing its individuality. Movement is indicated by the silhouette of a running buffalo and an expanding red line that stretches from the white horn to the invisible left border of the emblem.
The logo designer did not use any labels. As an artist, he paid all attention to the graphic component and did it at the highest level. Jere Wright chose a combination of only three colors: royal blue for the animal, red for the stripe, white for the surrounding space, and small details.
Thus, he combined the main shades from the official Buffalo Bills palette without overloading the logo with too many elements. And the version he created has become a classic: the club still cannot “get rid” of its iconic red and blue badge, which the fans liked so much.