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1972 Buffalo Bills season


1972 Buffalo Bills season

1972 Buffalo Bills season
Head coach Lou Saban
Owner Ralph Wilson
Home field War Memorial Stadium
Record 4–9–1
Division place 4th AFC East
Playoff finish did not qualify
Previous season      Next season
< 1971      1973 >

The 1972 Buffalo Bills season was the 13th season for the club and its third in the National Football League. It was also their last season at War Memorial Stadium which has been their home field since 1960.

The season also marked the return of former Bills coach Lou Saban,[1] who had previously led the team to two AFL Championships.

Saban had a new offensive philosophy for Buffalo in 1972: in his first three seasons, former number one overall pick O.J. Simpson had only carried the ball an average of 161 times per season. Saban rushed Simpson 292 times in 1972,[2] the second-most in the league.[3]

Despite losing two starting offensive lineman -- center Bruce Jarvis and guard Jim Reilly—in the season opener,[4] O.J. Simpson still led the league in rushing with 1,251 yards.[5]

Although the Bills had a potent, yard-gaining rushing attack, they could not put enough points on the scoreboard, scoring only 257 points (18.3 per game) all season, 19th in the league.[6] Furthermore, Buffalo's defense gave up 377 points (23.5 per game), the third-most in the NFL in 1972.[7]


NFL Draft[8]

Main article: 1972 NFL Draft
= All-Pro [9]
Round Pick Player Position School/Club Team
1 1 Walt Patulski Defensive end Notre Dame
2 27 Reggie McKenzie[10] Offensive guard Michigan
4 79 Randy Jackson Running back Wichita State
5 105 Leon Garror Defensive back Alcorn State
5 108 Bob Penchion Offensive guard Alcorn State
8 183 Paul Gibson Wide receiver Texas El-Paso
10 235 Maurice Tyler Defensive back Morgan State
13 313 Eddie Moss Running back Southeast Missouri State

Regular season

O.J. Simpson would have the first 1,000 rushing yard season of his career.


Week Date Opponent Stadium Result Record Streak Attendance
1 Sept. 17 New York Jets War Memorial Stadium L 41–24 0–1 L1 46,206
2 Sept. 24 San Francisco 49ers War Memorial Stadium W 27–20 1–1 W1 45,845
3 Oct. 1 Baltimore Colts War Memorial Stadium L 17–0 1–2 L1 46,206
4 Oct. 8 New England Patriots War Memorial Stadium W 38–14 2–2 W1 41,749
5 Oct. 15 at Oakland Raiders Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum L 28–16 2–3 L1 53,501
6 Oct. 22 at Miami Dolphins Miami Orange Bowl L 24–23 2–4 L2 80,010
7 Oct. 29 Pittsburgh Steelers War Memorial Stadium L 38–21 2–5 L3 45,882
8 Nov. 5 Miami Dolphins War Memorial Stadium L 30–16 2–6 L4 46,206
9 Nov. 12 at New York Jets Shea Stadium L 41–3 2–7 L5 62,853
10 Nov. 19 at New England Patriots Schaefer Stadium W 27–24 3–7 W1 60,999
11 Nov. 26 at Cleveland Browns Cleveland Stadium L 27–10 3–8 L1 70,104
12 Dec. 3 at Baltimore Colts Memorial Stadium L 35–7 3–9 L2 55,390
13 Dec. 10 Detroit Lions War Memorial Stadium T 21–21 3–9–1 T1 41,583
14 Dec. 17 at Washington Redskins Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium W 24–17 4–9–1 W1 53,039


Season summary

Week 13

1 234Total
Lions 0 777 21
Bills 0 777 21



AFC East
Miami Dolphins 14 0 0 1.000 385 171
New York Jets 7 7 0 .500 367 324
Baltimore Colts 5 9 0 .357 235 252
Buffalo Bills 4 9 1 .321 257 377
New England Patriots 3 11 0 .214 192 446


Awards and honors


  • Bills on Pro Football Reference
  • Bills on
  • Bills Stats on

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