The entrance sign to the home of the Bills, Ralph Wilson Stadium
The Buffalo Bills are a professional American football team based in the Buffalo, New York metropolitan area. They are members of the Eastern Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The Bills franchise was formed in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL), before joining the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL merger of 1970.
There have been 19 head coaches for the Bills franchise. Buster Ramsey became the first head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 1960, serving for two seasons before being fired by Bills owner Ralph Wilson after the 1961 season. In terms of tenure, Marv Levy has coached more games (182) and seasons (12) than any other coach in franchise history. He coached the Bills to four straight AFC Championships from 1990–1993, but failed to lead the team to a victory in the Super Bowl. One of Levy’s predecessors, Lou Saban, who coached the team on two separate occasions, led the team to the victories in the AFL championship in 1964 and 1965. Three Bills coaches—Saban, Levy and Chuck Knox—have been named coach of the year by at least one major news organization. Levy and Jim Ringo are the only Bills coaches to have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
There have been six “interim” head coaches in Bills history. First, in 1968, head coach Joe Collier was fired two games into the season and replaced by Bills personnel director Harvey Johnson. Johnson did not serve as head coach the following season. Then, five games into the 1976 season, Saban unexpectedly resigned as head coach. He was replaced by Ringo, the team’s offensive line coach. Ringo returned to coach the team again in the 1977 season. In October 1985, Kay Stephenson was fired and replaced by assistant head coach Hank Bullough. Just over a year later, Bullough was himself fired and replaced by Marv Levy, who had previously served as coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Levy would then serve as Bills head coach for the next 12 seasons. In 2016, Anthony Lynn replaced Rex Ryan for the final game of the season.
Following Levy’s retirement, the Bills experienced limited success under a series of successive head coaches. Wade Phillips, the Bills defensive coordinator for the last three years under Levy, took over head coaching duties for the 1998 season. Phillips served as head coach for three seasons, making the playoffs in hi