An overview of the history of the Chiefs vs Bills
Jarrod Thurman @JarrodChiefsFCS
The NFL’s newest rivalry is the Chiefs/Bills rivalry. These teams have met several times recently, including the epic AFC Divisional Round game in the playoffs last season. The Bills lead the all-time series 27-24-1, including the playoffs, with the Chiefs winning 6 of the last 8.
The Chiefs (then the Dallas Texans) first played the Bills on November 6, 1960, at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo. The Chiefs won 45-28. Despite only completing 9 passes, Texans quarterback Cotton Davidson threw 2 touchdowns. The Bills threw 4 interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by safety Dave Webster.
The Chiefs/Texans would play the Chiefs a total of 19 times in the AFL’s 10-year history, both teams won 9 times and the lone tie in the series occurred in 1963. The teams would play in the playoffs for the first time in the 60s as well, a 31-7 victory for the Chiefs in the 1966/67 AFL Championship which led the Chiefs to Super Bowl I.
The teams would only play nine times in the 70s and 80s. In the 1982 matchup, the Chiefs were coached by future Bills coach Marv Levy. Levy would lose to his future team 14-9. The Bills led the series 6-3 during these decades as both teams struggled for the most part during this time frame.
Both teams experienced a resurgence in the early 90s. For 4 consecutive seasons, both teams were among the 6 AFC playoff teams. They met twice in the 1993 season, once during the regular season and once in the playoffs. The Chiefs won the regular season matchup while the Bills defeated the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game that season, beginning the Chiefs”’ playoff losing streak.
The matchups that season were star-studded on both teams with 9 Hall of Famers between the two teams: Joe Montana, Marcus Allen, Will Shields, Derrick Thomas, Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Bruce Smith, and Marv Levy. The Bills led the matchups in the 90s, 4-3.
Both teams struggled in from 2000-2009. The Bills failed to make the playoffs the entire decade, they also failed to have any winning seasons. The Chiefs had two playoff appearances in the decade and some winning seasons early in the decade, but from 2007-2009 they had one of the worst records in the NFL over those 3 seasons. The Bills led the series in the decade 4-2
The Chiefs would go back to winning in the 2010s, excluding the disaster of the 2012 season, while the Bills struggled until 2017. Once Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen became quarterbacks for the teams, the rivalry began. The first Mahomes/Allen matchup came in 2020 in Buffalo, though it was unfortunately in an empty stadium due to the state of New York’s COVID-19 restrictions. The Chiefs won 26-17 and never trailed in the game.
The teams played again later that season in the playoffs in the AFC Championship. The Bills jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the game, but as we know no lead is safe against Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs would go on a 38-6 run in the game. The Bills would score a couple of garbage-time touchdowns and the Chiefs would win 38-24 winning their second straight AFC Championship. Bills receiver Stefon Diggs stayed out on the field during the celebration to help motivate him for the next season.
The Bills would travel to Kansas City in 2021. The Chiefs had an early 10-7 lead, but would never lead again. The Bills would go on a 24-3 run to take a 31-13 lead in the game. The Bills would win 38-20, which remains the 2nd worst defeat of Patrick Mahomes career in terms of point margin. It’s also one of only 3 double-digit defeats in his career.
Patrick Mahomes has been the Chiefs’ quarterback for easily two of the greatest games in franchise history. The first being the 2018 game against the Rams, the second being the 2021-22 epic playoff game against the Bills. The teams traded touchdowns to start the game, with the Bills striking first. These two drives took up most of the first quarter. Following the Chiefs forcing a punt on defense, the Chiefs would go on an 86-yard drive that ended in a touchdown reception by Byron Pringle. The Bills would tie it up and the game would be 14-14 at halftime.
Both teams scored a touchdown in the 3rd quarter and the Chiefs also got a field goal. The 4th quarter is when the fun began, or more specifically the last 9 minutes of regulation. The Chiefs kicked a field goal to take a 26-21 lead with 8:58 left. This would lead to the most exciting final two minutes of regulation in NFL history.
Allen and the Bills would go on a long drive that ended with a 27-yard touchdown to Gabriel Davis and a successful two-point conversion to take a 29-26 lead with 1:54 left in the game. The Chiefs responded quickly on the 5th play of their next drive when Mahomes threw a 64-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill with 1:02 left. The Bills would strike quick as well getting to the Chiefs’ 19-yard line in just 5 plays. Allen would throw his 3rd touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis with 13 seconds left on the clock. It appeared the Chiefs were headed to a defeat.
The ensuing kickoff was a touchback. A quick 19-yard pass to Hill out of bounds moved the Chiefs to their own 44-yard line. NFL films later revealed Travis Kelce told Mahomes he is wide open on that same route he ran the previous play. After telling Kelce “Do it Kelce!” during his snap count, Mahomes hit Kelce for a 25-yard gain and the Chiefs called a timeout and sent out the 2nd most accurate kicker in NFL history. Butker made the field goal and the game was tied 36-36 and headed to overtime.
The Chiefs didn’t give the Bills a chance. They won the toss and marched downfield in overtime. Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for the 8-yard touchdown, his 2nd game-winning touchdown reception of the season-ending one of the most entertaining games in NFL history.
The 2021/22 playoff game cemented this matchup as a rivalry, equivalent to Patriots/Colts in the 2000s. The 2022 matchup is set to be another epic installment in this rivalry. Josh Allen is an MVP candidate and Patrick Mahomes is proving the doubters wrong as he is leading the NFL in passing touchdowns and is 2nd in quarterback rating (minimum 100 attempts). Allen and Mahomes are two of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and have many more epic matchups to come in the future.