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1980 — Lost AFC divisional
The Buffalo Bills locked up the AFC East for the eighth time in franchise history after a Week 15 win over the Denver Broncos. Here is a look back at the other Bills teams that won the AFC East, which was formed in 1970 with the completion of the AFL-NFL merger. The Chuck Knox effect was in full force in 1980 as he led the Bills to their first division title since the merger. The Chargers, led by Dan Fouts, were the better team in the divisional playoffs, beating Buffalo 20-14.
1988 — Lost AFC Championship Game
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Marvy Levy had turned the Bills around in two full seasons, and had Buffalo a game away from the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance. The Cincinnati Bengals were a step ahead of the Bills as the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Cincinnati defeated Buffalo 21-10 to face Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII.
1989 — Lost AFC divisional
(AP Photo/Dennis Gordon)
The Bills defense allowed Bernie Kosar to throw two 40-plus touchdown passes to Webster Slaughter, and Buffalo's special teams gave up a 90-yard kickoff return touchdown to Eric Metcalf. Still, the Bills didn't lose badly, 34-30. The complexion of the Bills' final drive changed due to Scott Norwood botching an extra point attempt, forcing Buffalo to score a touchdown instead of a field goal on their last possession of regulation. If only this were the least of Norwood's postseason failures.
1990 — Lost Super Bowl XXV
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1991 — Lost Super Bowl XXVI
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Mishaps were the theme for Buffalo in their second Super Bowl appearance. Bills kicker Brad Daluiso booted the ball off the tee before the referee signaled for play to begin. Running back Thurman Thomas lost his helmet on his the Bills' first drive. Receiver Andre Reed slammed his helmet after failing to get a pass interference call on a third down, and the 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct knocked Buffalo out of field goal range before halftime. The Bills fell down as far as 24-0 in the third quarter before they attempted a comeback, losing 37-24.
1993 — Lost Super Bowl XXVIII
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When Buffalo faced the Dallas Cowboys the first time in the Big Game, the Bills were actually a wild-card as the Miami Dolphins won the division in 1992. Buffalo won back their AFC East title, and actually beat the Cowboys in Week 2 at Texas Stadium. Super Bowl XXVIII may have been their best chance to win it all as they lead 13-6 at the break. However, Dallas' anemic offense came alive saddling up Emmitt Smith, and the Bills turned it over twice in the second half. The Cowboys won the rematch 30-13.
1995 — Lost AFC divisional
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After failing to make the playoffs in 1994, the Bills rebounded with a 10-6 record and won the division. It wasn't without challenges. In mid-October, Marv Levy was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery, missing three games. However, Buffalo had a dynamic defensive coordinator in Wade Phillips, and outside linebacker Bryce Paup collected a league-leading 17.5 sacks along with NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. After Levy and the Bills beat Don Shula and the Miami Dolphins in the AFC wild-card, the Pittsburgh Steelers ended the Bills' run with a 40-21 beatdown.