The All-America Football Conference (AAFC) team from Buffalo that bore the same moniker as the western frontiersman Buffalo Bill is whence the Bills got their name.
From 1946 through 1949, the Buffalo Bills, an American football club with their home field in Buffalo, New York, competed in the All-America Football Conference.
The team’s original 1946 season was played under the name Buffalo Bisons. The squad was not one of the three AAFC teams that joined the National Football League before the 1950 season, in contrast to the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Colts.
It was given Buffalo Bill’s name.
Owner James Breuil launched a name-the-team competition after just one season in an effort to select a more unique moniker; “Bisons” had been the favored moniker for Buffalo teams for many years.
“Bills,” a play on the name of renowned Wild West performer Buffalo Bill Cody, was chosen as the winning entry. Coincidentally, the same year a barbershop quartet with the same name was created and went on to become famous.
After its fourth season in 1949, the All-American Football Conference was no longer in existence. Only three clubs, including the original Bills, made the transition to the National Football League.
Buffalo was given a team in the new American Football League 11 years later. Ralph C. Wilson, the proprietor of that brand-new business, brought back the Bills moniker, which is still in use today.