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1986 Buffalo Bills season

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Title: 1986 Buffalo Bills season  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Buffalo Bills, Marv Levy, 1986 NFL season, 1986 NFL Draft, Charles Romes, Robb Riddick, List of Buffalo Bills seasons, 1986 Cleveland Browns season, 1986 New York Jets season, 1977 Buffalo Bills season
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

1986 Buffalo Bills season

1986 Buffalo Bills season
Head coach Hank Bullough
Marv Levy
General manager Bill Polian
Owner Ralph Wilson
Home field Rich Stadium
Record 4–12
Division place 4th AFC East
Playoff finish did not qualify
Previous season      Next season
< 1985      1987 >

The 1986 Buffalo Bills season was the 27th season for the club and its 17th in the National Football League.

Although the Bills were only 2-6 at the midway point of the season, their games were much more competitive than in years past. (Only two of their losses in the first eight games were by more than a touchdown.) Still, after a 6-point Week Nine loss to Tampa Bay, the Bills fired coach Hank Bullough, and hired former Kansas City coach Marv Levy from outside the organization, an unusual mid-season tactic. (Levy had been out of coaching since being the head man with the USFL's Chicago Blitz in 1984.) Levy would win his first game with the Bills against Pittsburgh in Week Ten, and one more game against Kansas City in Week Thirteen, finishing with a 2-5 record in his first half-season as head coach.[1]


Buffalo's quarterback position underwent a drastic improvement before the season, as first-round draft pick Jim Kelly—fresh from the recently-folded United States Football League—signed with the team admid much fanfare. The signing increased home attendance at Rich Stadium by 30,000 per game.[2]

NFL Draft

Main article: 1986 NFL Draft

University of Iowa running back Ronnie Harmon played for the Bills for four seasons.[3] Vanderbilt's Will Wolford played offensive tackle for the Bills for seven years, and was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1990 and 1992.[4] Linebacker Mark Pike played his entire 13-year career with the Bills, mostly as a special teams star; he is the NFL's all-time leader in tackles on special teams, with 283. Tight end Butch Rolle played for the Bills for 6 years, and at one point had a streak of ten consecutive receptions for touchdowns.

= Pro Bowler [5]
Round Pick # Player Position College
1 16 Ronnie Harmon Running back Iowa
1 20 Will Wolford Offensive Tackle Vanderbilt
3 77 Leonard Burton Center South Carolina
5 111 Carl Byrum Running back Mississippi Valley State
7 168 Bob Williams Tight end Penn State
7 178 Mark Pike Linebacker Georgia Tech
7 180 Butch Rolle Tight end Michigan State
8 202 Tony Furjanic Linebacker Notre Dame
9 222 Reggie Bynum Wide receiver Oregon State
10 251 Guy Teafatiller Defensive tackle Illinois
11 278 Tony Garbarczyk Defensive tackle Wake Forest
11 282 Billy Witt Defensive end North Alabama
12 313 Brian McClure Quarterback Bowling Green
12 331 Derek Christian Linebacker West Virginia Tech



1986 Buffalo Bills staff

Front Office

  • President – Ralph Wilson
  • Vice President of Administration/General Manager – Bill Polian
  • Director of Player Personnel – Norm Pollom
  • Assistant Director of Player Personnel – Bob Ferguson

Head Coaches

  • Vice President of Football Operations/Head Coach – Hank Bullough
  • Administrative Assistant to the Head Coach – Jim Valek

Offensive Coaches


Defensive Coaches

  • Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers – Herb Paterra
  • Defensive Line – Ted Cottrell
  • Outside Linebackers – Ardell Wiegandt
  • Defensive Backfield – Dick Moseley

Strength and Conditioning

  • Strength and Conditioning Coordinator – Rusty Jones


Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 7, 1986 New York Jets L 28–24
2 September 14, 1986 at Cincinnati Bengals L 36–33
3 September 21, 1986 St. Louis Cardinals W 17–10
4 September 28, 1986 Kansas City Chiefs L 20–17
5 October 5, 1986 at New York Jets L 14–13
6 October 12, 1986 at Miami Dolphins L 27–14
7 October 19, 1986 Indianapolis Colts W 24–13
8 October 26, 1986 New England Patriots L 23–3
9 November 2, 1986 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 34–28
10 November 9, 1986 Pittsburgh Steelers W 16–12
11 November 16, 1986 Miami Dolphins L 34–24
12 November 23, 1986 at New England Patriots L 22–19
13 November 30, 1986 at Kansas City Chiefs W 17–14
14 December 7, 1986 Cleveland Browns L 21–17
15 December 14, 1986 at Indianapolis Colts L 24–14
16 December 21, 1986 at Houston Oilers L 16–7

Game summaries

Week 1: vs. New York Jets

1 2 34Total
Jets 7 7 01428
Bills 7 3 01424

at Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Date: Sunday, September 7
  • Game time: 4:00 p.m.
  • Game weather: 56°F, wind 12 mph
Game information
First Quarter
Second Quarter
  • NYJ - Al Toon 46 yard pass from Ken O'Brien (Pat Leahy kick) - Jets 14-7
  • BUF - Scott Norwood 19 yard field goal - Jets 14-10
Fourth Quarter
  • BUF - Andre Reed 55 yard pass from Jim Kelly (Scott Norwood kick) - Bills 17-14
  • NYJ - Johnny Hector 1 yard run (Pat Leahy kick) - Jets 21-17
  • NYJ - Wesley Walker 71 yard pass from Ken O'Brien (Pat Leahy kick) - Jets 28-17
  • BUF - Pete Metzelaars 4 yard pass from Jim Kelly (Scott Norwood kick) - Jets 28-24
  • Ken O'Brien
    18/25, 318 Yds, 2 TD
  • Freeman McNeil
    21 Rush, 72 Yds
  • Al Toon
    6 Rec, 119 Yds, TD
  • Jim Kelly
    20/33, 292 Yds, 3 TD
  • Greg Bell
    17 Rush, 44 Yds
  • Andre Reed
    5 Rec, 95 Yds, TD



Awards and honors


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

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