Throwback Game of the Week

Week 14 – Dolphins at Bills (Toronto) | Archived Throwback Game of the Week

Next week: Redskins at Bengals

Series Summary | Memorable Games | Hall of Fame Perspective | Odds 'N Ends | Trivia | At the Hall's Throwback Game of the Week Series - Each week during this season, the NFL’s 89th, will reflect on one of the weekend’s matchups. Unlike anywhere on the web, you’ll get inside access to the world’s largest collection on the NFL. The Hall’s archives staff will comb through the millions of documents, artifacts and photos in our collection to help tell the story. The new edition of Throwback Game of the Week will be posted on each Thursday throughout the 2008 NFL season. Enjoy!

Series Summary
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The Bills-Dolphins rivalry dates back to Miami’s first season in the American Football League in 1966 and continues today as the teams battle in the AFC East. Buffalo and Miami have faced each other twice each regular season over the years. In addition, the series has also featured four playoff games.

Miami holds a 50-34-1 regular season series edge that includes its 25-16 win over Buffalo last month. The Dolphins have outscored the Bills in those games, 1,843-1,612. The Bills won three of the four post-season meetings and have outscored Miami, 127-90, in those contests.

Memorable Games

  Oct. 22, 1972 – Dolphins 24, Bills 23 (Miami)
The Dolphins prevailed in what was the smallest margin of victory for Miami during its “Perfect Season.” Miami overcame four turnovers and relied heavily on their running game to manufacture a win. Future Hall of Famer Larry Csonka ran for 107 yards on 18 carries and scored one touchdown while Jim Kiick rushed for 81 and Mercury Morris added 35 yards rushing and two TDs.

Buffalo fullback Jim Braxton gained 75 yards on nine carries and also had two catches for 18 yards and one touchdown.

WFL Bound. The Miami Dolphins lost Csonka and Kiick along with Hall of Fame receiver Paul Warfield when the trio jumped to the World Football League in 1975. The WFL folded in midseason and the players returned to the NFL the following season – Csonka with the Giants, Kiick in Denver and Warfield went to Cleveland. See images of Warfield and Csonka in the WFL. PDF (569 KB)>>>

WFL RIP. See the standings from the 1½ seasons of the World Football League in the mid-1970s. WFL Standings>>>

After further review. The Miami Dolphins became the first team to feature a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in the same season. Csonka rushed for 1,117 yards while Morris ended the season with an even 1,000 yards. However, it wasn’t until statisticians combed through the entire season and found a “missing” nine yards that should have been credited as rushing yards for Morris that he hit the 1,000-yard mark. See the entire story>>>


Sept. 7, 1980 – Bills 17, Dolphins 7 (Buffalo)
Fans at Rich Stadium stormed the field in celebration after the Bills snapped a 20-game losing streak against the Dolphins. Buffalo scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to defeat Miami for the first time since 1969.

Rookie running back Joe Cribbs rushed for 60 yards and one TD and also had 9 catches for 71 yards. Fullback Roosevelt Leaks had the Bills’ other score, a four-yard TD reception from QB Joe Ferguson.

The Dolphins defense had five interceptions.

0-for-the-‘70s. The Dolphins beat Buffalo twice each season during the entire 1970s. The streak remains the longest dominance of one team over another in NFL history. Story>>>

Bermuda Triangle. The success of the Bills in the early ‘80s can be credited, in part, to a dynamic trio known as the “Bermuda Triangle.” The group included nose tackle Fred Smerlas and linebackers Jim Haslett and Shane Nelson. Story>>>

Bring on the Dolphins. See the program cover and some inside pages from the game program on Sept. 7, 1980. PDF (2.51 MB)>>>


Oct. 9, 1983 – Bills 38, Dolphins 35 – OT (Miami)
Buffalo won its first game in the Orange Bowl since 1966 as quarterback Joe Ferguson established team records for completions, attempts and yards. He went 38 of 55 for 419 yards and threw five touchdowns. Ferguson connected with nine different players led by WR Jerry Butler and RB Joe Cribbs who each had 9 catches.

Miami kicker Uwe von Schamann missed two field goals in overtime thereby allowing the Bills a chance for the win. Buffalo placekicker Joe Danello nailed a 36-yarder with a minute remaining in the sudden death period for the game-winner.

Add it up. The official stats crew was busy on this day. See the official statistical account from the game. PDF (6.05 MB)>>>

Fergy. Ferguson still owns the team marks for attempts and completions in a game. See a photo of Ferguson that is housed in the Hall’s archives. PDF (519 KB)>>>

Drew airs it out. Ferguson’s passing yardage total against the Dolphins held until Sept. 15, 2002 when Drew Bledsoe passed for 463 yards in Buffalo’s wild 45-39 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Bledsoe’s performance that day also pushed him over 30,000 passing yards in his career. The football he threw to Peerless Price for a 14-yard gain to reach the 30,000-yard mark was donated to the Hall of Fame. View the milestone ball that Bledsoe signed before it was added to the Hall’s collection. PDF (1.47 MB)>>>

40 and up. Ferguson finished his long NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts in 1990 at age 40. See the all-time group of those individuals who played into their forties. List>>>


Oct. 4, 1992 – Dolphins 37, Bills 10 (Buffalo)
Louis Oliver intercepted three passes including one he returned for a then-record-tying 103 yards to help Miami hand Buffalo its first loss of the season. J.B. Brown had a fourth interception for the Dolphins which he returned 48 yards. On the other side of the ball, Dan Marino threw for 282 yards and 3 TDs.

The Bills’ Jim Kelly passed for 306 yards but suffered the four picks.

He Could Go All the Way. Oliver’s 103-yard interception return for a touchdown tied the NFL record at the time. The Baltimore Ravens’ Ed Reed broke that mark in 2004 and then surpassed his own record in recent weeks. See the rundown of the NFL’s longest returns. Story>>>

Coach Jauron’s Big Day. The NFL record for interception return yards in a game is owned by Charlie McNeil of the San Diego Chargers (177 yards vs. Houston Oilers on Sept. 24, 1961). Oliver’s performance (170 yards) against the Bills ranks second all-time. Current Buffalo coach Dick Jauron’s 167 yards as a Detroit Lion versus the Chicago Bears on Nov. 18, 1973 remains the third most ever. See a newspaper clipping describing Jauron’s heroics against the Bears. PDF (528 KB)>>>


Hall of Fame Perspective
Thurman Thomas, Class of 2007

The second round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in 1988, Thurman Thomas became one of the greatest all-around running backs in NFL history during his career in Buffalo (1988-1999) and one final season with Miami (2000).
He rushed for 1,000 yards in eight straight seasons and led the NFL in total yards from scrimmage a record four consecutive times. He was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1991 and was selected to five straight Pro Bowls.

Thurman rushed for 100 yards in a game 46 times during the regular season and added six more 100-yard efforts in playoff games over his career. Some of his finest games came against the Dolphins. Thomas reached the century mark eight times, including twice in the post-season, versus Miami.

Thomas’s 100-yard games vs. Dolphins
Oct. 29, 1989 27 carries for 148 yards, 1 TD
Dec. 23, 1990 30 carries for 154 yards, 1 TD
*Jan. 12, 1991 32 carries for 117 yards, 2 TDs
Sept. 1, 1991 25 carries for 165 yards, 1 TD
Nov. 18, 1991 23 carries for 135 yards, 1 TD
Oct. 9, 1994 31 carries for 125 yards, 2 TDs
Dec. 17, 1995 35 carries for 148 yards, 1 TD
*Dec. 30, 1995 25 carries for 158 yards, 1 TD
*playoff game  


Thurman Thomas’s Hall of Fame Bio>>>

Notes & Quotes about Thurman Thomas>>>

See the program cover and some inside pages from the Bills game versus the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 30, 1988. Thurman had his first 100-yard game of his career that day as he rushed 23 times for 116 yards in the Bills’ 28-0 win. PDF (1.56 MB)>>>

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Dolphins and Bills Odds 'N Ends
The Dolphins still hold a distinct place in NFL history as the only team to post a perfect 17-0 season. Miami went undefeated in the 1972 NFL regular season and followed that with three playoff wins including a 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII.

Read the rundown on the Dolphins’ memorable 1972 season. Story>>>

The Hall’s collection includes a complete run of Super Bowl programs. See the cover of the Super Bowl VII program. PDF (709 KB)>>>


The Bills have had 10 different running backs rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Leading the way were Hall of Fame runners – O.J. Simpson and Thurman Thomas. O.J., the NFL’s first 2,000-yard man, reached the 1,000-yard mark in each season from 1972 to 1976. Thomas accomplished the feat every year from 1989-1996. The others with 1,000-yard seasons include Cookie Gilchrist (1962), Terry Miller (1978), Joe Cribbs (1980-81, 1983), Greg Bell (1984), Antowain Smith (1998), Travis Henry (2002-03), Willis McGahee (2004-05) and Marshawn Lynch (2007).

Through thick and thin, the Buffalo backfield has seemingly always included a productive runner. Check out photos of Buffalo running backs pulled from the Hall’s extensive photo collection. Launch Gallery>>>

A reliable runner for the Bills during his days in Buffalo (1976-1982), Roland Hooks spent most of his career as a back-up to O.J. Simpson, then Greg Bell and finally Joe Cribbs. So Hooks rarely received the opportunity to showcase his skills. But, it didn’t take much for Hooks to prove his worth in the second half of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 9, 1979. Hooks scored on each of his four carries in the second half (3, 32, 4 and 28 yards) to help Buffalo blow out Cincy, 51-24. See the official play-by-play from the game. PDF (3.25 MB)>>>


Miami joined the American Football League in 1966 and good things were just around the corner. In fact, if ever there was a positive omen for the team’s future, one only needs to look at the opening kickoff in franchise history. The Dolphins’ Joe Auer returned the opening kickoff of the franchise’s first regular season game 95 yards for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders.

While Miami finished 3-11 that season, the team steadily improved and by 1970 earned its first playoff berth. Since the AFL-NFL merger in ’70, Miami owns the best winning percentage of any team. At the start of the 2008 NFL season, the Dolphins record since the merger stood at 354-228-2 for a.608 winning percentage.

The Hall’s extensive photo collection includes a variety of images including the historic moment when Auer returned the Dolphins first-ever kickoff for a touchdown. See the image. PDF (522 KB)>>>

The Hall’s library collection contains thousands of game programs. See the cover of the Dolphins’ first regular season game. PDF (1.65 MB)>>>


Billy Shaw anchored the Bills’ offensive line during his career which was spent entirely in the American Football League with Buffalo from 1961-69. He helped the Bills to back-to-back AFL championships in 1964 and 1965. Shaw was named all-league five times and selected to play in eight AFL All-Star Games and is also a member of the AFL’s All-Time Team. In 1999, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and today remains the only player enshrined who never played in the NFL.

The AFL celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2009. Learn about the league that rivaled the NFL for 10 seasons before the two leagues merged beginning in 1970. Story>>>

Billy Shaw’s Hall of Fame bio>>>

A few years after Shaw was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he made a significant donation of several mementos from his storied career. Details>>>


Team Histories

Dolphins - The Dolphins joined the AFL in 1966 and quickly became one of pro football's winningest teams. In 1972, the team posted…More>>>

Bills - The Bills were a charter member of the American Football League and one of pro football's dominant teams of the 1960s. Buffalo captured…More>>>

Hall of Famers

Name, Position, Year of Induction

Marv Levy is the only coach ever to take his team to four straight Super Bowls. He led the Bills to the playoffs eight times in 11 seasons and retired with the tenth most coaching wins in NFL history. Dwight Stephenson was regarded as the premier center of his time. He was named All-Pro five straight years and voted to the Pro Bowl five consecutive times.

The Dolphins have nine long-time members inducted into the Hall of Fame. In addition, one other Hall of Fame member spent part of his career, albeit brief, with Miami.

Nick Buoniconti, Linebacker, 2001
Larry Csonka, Fullback, 1987
Bob Griese, Quarterback, 1990
Jim Langer, Center, 1987
Larry Little, Guard, 1993
Dan Marino, Quarterback, 2005
Don Shula, Coach, 1997
Dwight Stephenson, Center, 1998
*Thurman Thomas, Running Back, 2007
Paul Warfield, Wide Receiver, 1983

The Bills have six long-time members inducted into the Hall of Fame. In addition, one other Hall of Fame member spent part of his career, albeit brief, with Buffalo.

Joe DeLamielleure, Guard, 2003
Jim Kelly, Quarterback, 2002
Marv Levy, Coach, 2001
*James Lofton, Wide Receiver, 2003
Billy Shaw, Guard, 1999
O.J. Simpson, Running Back, 1985
Thurman Thomas, Running Back, 2007

*Notes that the Hall of Famer spent time with the Dolphins or Bills but made his major contribution to the NFL with another team.

Dolphins Trivia Bills Trivia

1. How many people served as head coach of the Dolphins before Don Shula became the team’s head coach?
a. 1
b. 2
c. 3
d. 4

2. Who is the Dolphins all-time scoring leader?
a. Mark Clayton
b. Olindo Mare
c. Fuad Reveiz
d. Garo Yepremian

3. Who holds the Dolphins record for most career interceptions?

a. Dick Anderson
b. Terrell Buckley
c. Louis Oliver
d. Jake Scott

4. Who holds the Dolphins record for most consecutive games played?
a. Bob Kuechenberg
b. Dan Marino
c. Jason Taylor
d. Richard Webb

5. Who holds the Dolphins record for longest TD pass?
a. Bob Griese
b. Brian Griese
c. Dan Marino
d. Sage Rosenfels

1. Who was the first coach of the Buffalo Bills?
a. Joe Collier
b. Chuck Knox
c. Buster Ramsey
d. John Rauch

2. Who has scored the most points in a game in Bills history?
a. Joe Cribbs
b. Cookie Gilchrist
c. James Lofton
d. O.J. Simpson

3. Which Bills receiver logged the most yards receiving in a game?
a. Quinn Early
b. Lee Evans
c. Eric Moulds
d. Frank Lewis

4. Who holds the Bills record for most career interceptions?
a. George “Butch” Byrd
b. Tom Janik
c. Jeff Nixon
d. Nate Odomes

5. Who holds the Bills record for most TD receptions in  a season?
a. Bill Brooks
b. James Lofton
c. Andre Reed
d. Elbert Dubenion

At the Hall

Many mementos from the Dolphins and Bills are at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here are two such artifacts enjoyed by visitors to the museum in Canton.

Read the caption under the image below and then take a guess at what you’re looking at. Click on the picture for the full photo and more information on the treasured artifact.


Hall of Famer Larry Csonka rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of Miami's three Super Bowl seasons. His highest ground-gaining output came during the famed 1972 season when he rushed for 1,117 yards.


Known as the "Electric Company," the Bills offensive line of the 1970s cleared the way for Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson. Their efforts did not go unnoticed when the entire offensive line was recognized with this award in 1973.