|1961 Buffalo Bills season|
|Head coach||Buster Ramsey|
|Home field||War Memorial Stadium|
|Division place||4th Eastern|
|Playoff finish||Did not qualify|
The 1961 Buffalo Bills season was the team's second year in the American Football League. The Bills played in the Eastern division, winning six games, losing eight, and missing the postseason.
The Bills didn't have a winning record at any point in the season; they played their final five games of the season on the road.
The Bills had a problematic quarterback situation, with former Redskin M.C. Reynolds, second-year Bills QB Johnny Green and ex-Lion Warren Rabb all struggling at the passer position. None completed more than 46% of their passes, and only Reynolds had a winning record (2–1) and threw for more than 1,000 yards.
Punter Billy Atkins led the league in punts, with 85; he also led the league with 44.5 yards per punt. Atkins also played safety for the Bills in 1961, and led the league with 10 interceptions, and was 2nd-Team All-AFL on defense.
Middle linebacker Archie Matsos was 1st-Team All-AFL for the second consecutive year, as was defensive tackle Chuck McMurtry. Defensive tackle LaVerne Torczon was 2nd-Team All-AFL in 1961.
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|1961 Buffalo Bills staff|
|1961 Buffalo Bills roster|
|*Note:Rookies in italics|
The Bills amassed a great deal of talent on their offensive line in the 1961 draft. Four of their first seven picks—Rice, Shaw, Barber and Bemiller, all offensive linemen—would go on to make at least one All-AFL team in the next five years. This draft would form the nucleus for the Bills' power running game over the next five years.
Rice was All-AFL as a rookie in 1961.
|2||Billy Shaw||Tackle||Georgia Tech|
|3||Art Baker||Fullback||Syracuse (from New York)|
|4||Stew Barber||Tackle||Penn State|
|5||Norm Snead*||Quarterback||Wake Forest|
|11||Roy Wall||Halfback||North Carolina|
|12||Floyd Powers||Guard||Mississippi State|
|13||Tom Causey||Offensive end||Louisiana Tech|
|15||Jerry Frye||Offensive end||South Carolina|
|16||Vincent Scott||Offensive end||Maryland|
|17||Wayne Wolff||Tackle||Wake Forest|
|18||John Bodkin||Guard||South Carolina|
|19||Charley Barnes||Offensive end||NE Louisiana State|
|21||Larry Vargo||Offensive end||Detroit|
|23||William Mack||Halfback||Notre Dame|
|25||Jack Harbaugh||Halfback||Bowling Green|
|26||Lorenzo Stanford||Tackle||North Carolina A & I|
|27||Bob Allen||Offensive end||Wake Forest|
|28||Jason Harness||Offensive end||Michigan State|
|AFL Eastern Division|
|New York Titans||7||7||0||.500||3–3||301||390||L2|
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
The 1961 preseason was notable for the Bills as they became the only AFL (or NFL) team to lose to a CFL team, and it was the last game between the CFL and AFL/NFL met in history.
|August 8, 1961||Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL)||L 38–21||Ivor Wynne Stadium||12,000|
|1||September 10, 1961||Denver Broncos||L 22–10||War Memorial Stadium||0–1|
|2||September 17, 1961||New York Titans||W 41–31||War Memorial Stadium||1–1|
|3||September 23, 1961||Boston Patriots||L 23–21||War Memorial Stadium||1–2|
|4||September 30, 1961||San Diego Chargers||L 19–11||War Memorial Stadium||1–3|
|5||October 8, 1961||at Houston Oilers||W 22–12||Jeppesen Stadium||2–3|
|6||October 15, 1961||Dallas Texans||W 27–24||War Memorial Stadium||3–3|
|7||October 22, 1961||at Boston Patriots||L 52–21||Boston University Field||3–4|
|8||October 29, 1961||Houston Oilers||L 28–16||War Memorial Stadium||3–5|
|9||November 5, 1961||Oakland Raiders||L 31–22||War Memorial Stadium||3–6|
|10||November 12, 1961||at Dallas Texans||W 30–20||Cotton Bowl||4–6|
|11||November 19, 1961||at Denver Broncos||W 23–10||Bears Stadium||5–6|
|12||November 23, 1961||at New York Titans||L 21–14||Polo Grounds||5–7|
|13||December 3, 1961||at Oakland Raiders||W 26–21||Candlestick Park||6–7|
|14||December 10, 1961||at San Diego Chargers||L 28–10||Balboa Stadium||6–8|
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