The Buffalo Bills, a proud and storied franchise, have seen their fair share of remarkable players throughout their history. From dominant defenders to explosive offensive stars, these individuals have played integral roles in shaping the team’s identity and leaving a lasting impact on the hearts of Bills fans. In this article, we present the top ten all-time Buffalo Bills players, highlighting their accomplishments primarily as Bills and their contributions to the team’s success. Join us as we celebrate the incredible careers of these legends and their lasting legacy in Western New York.
1. Jim Kelly (QB, 1986-1996)
Jim Kelly stands as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Bills history. Leading the team to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances, Kelly’s leadership, toughness, and arm talent defined an era for Buffalo. With 35,467 passing yards and 237 touchdown passes as a Bill, Kelly’s impact on the franchise and the community remains immeasurable.
2. Bruce Smith (DE, 1985-1999)
Bruce Smith is widely recognized as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. His dominant pass-rushing skills and relentless pursuit of quarterbacks made him a force to be reckoned with. As a Bill, Smith amassed a staggering 171 sacks, becoming the NFL’s all-time sack leader. He anchored the Bills’ defense, leading the team to four Super Bowl appearances and earning eleven Pro Bowl selections.
3. Thurman Thomas (RB, 1988-1999)
Thurman Thomas was the heartbeat of the Bills’ offense during their Super Bowl era. A versatile running back with exceptional vision and receiving skills, Thomas played a crucial role in Buffalo’s success. He rushed for 11,938 yards and 65 touchdowns, adding 4,341 receiving yards and 23 touchdown receptions. Thomas was a key contributor in the Bills’ four consecutive Super Bowl runs.
4. Andre Reed (WR, 1985-1999)
Andre Reed was Jim Kelly’s favorite target and a consistent playmaker for the Bills. His reliable hands and ability to make clutch catches in crucial moments endeared him to Bills fans. Reed amassed 13,095 receiving yards and 86 touchdown receptions during his career in Buffalo. He played an instrumental role in the team’s four consecutive Super Bowl appearances.
5. O.J. Simpson (RB, 1969-1977)
O.J. Simpson, nicknamed “The Juice,” was a dynamic running back whose electrifying speed and elusiveness made him a nightmare for opposing defenses. Simpson’s remarkable career with the Bills included 10,183 rushing yards, 57 touchdowns, and five Pro Bowl selections. He became the first running back in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a single season, achieving the feat in 1973.
6. Jack Kemp (QB, 1962-1969)
Jack Kemp was a pivotal figure in the Bills’ AFL era, leading the team to two AFL championships. His leadership and ability to make plays with his arm and legs were instrumental to Buffalo’s success. Kemp earned five AFL All-Star selections and left an indelible mark on the franchise, setting numerous passing records during his tenure.
7. Steve Tasker (WR/ST, 1986-1997)
Steve Tasker is widely regarded as one of the greatest special teams players in NFL history. Known for his exceptional speed and tenacity, Tasker revolutionized the role of gunner on punts. He made a significant impact on coverage units and was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection as a special teamer. Tasker’s contributions to the Bills’ success cannot be overstated.
8. Darryl Talley (LB, 1983-1994)
Darryl Talley was the heart and soul of the Bills’ defense during their Super Bowl years. A versatile linebacker with excellent instincts and tackling ability, Talley recorded 1,137 tackles, 38.5 sacks, and 12 interceptions in his career. He was a key leader on a defense that helped the Bills reach four consecutive Super Bowls.
9. Fred Smerlas (DT, 1979-1989)
Fred Smerlas was a dominant force in the middle of the Bills’ defensive line during the 1980s. His strength, technique, and disruptive play made him a nightmare for opposing offenses. Smerlas was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and played an instrumental role in the Bills’ success during that era.
10. Eric Moulds (WR, 1996-2005)
Eric Moulds was a standout wide receiver for the Bills, providing a consistent threat in the passing game. His combination of size, speed, and route-running skills made him a reliable target for Bills quarterbacks. Moulds ranks first in franchise history in receptions (675) and receiving yards (9,096).
– Joe DeLamielleure (G, 1973-1979, 1985)
– Cornelius Bennett (LB, 1987-1995)
– Kyle Williams (DT, 2006-2018)
– Joe Ferguson (QB, 1973-1984)
– Henry Jones (S, 1991-2000)
The Buffalo Bills’ history is adorned with iconic players who have etched their names in the annals of Western New York sports. From Jim Kelly’s leadership to Bruce Smith’s dominance, these individuals have left an indelible impact on the franchise. Each player on this list has played an instrumental role in the Bills’ success and has become a legend in Buffalo. Their dedication, skill, and passion have endeared them to Bills fans and cemented their place among the all-time greats in the history of the franchise.