Buffalo, New York, is the home to some of the greatest fans and the most memorable (and sometimes heartbreaking) moments in sports. The city has sports teams to suit every person’s preference—from professional teams like the Buffalo Bill, minor league teams like the Buffalo Bisons, and college teams from the University of Buffalo Bulls.
Sports play a significant part in the city’s culture. However, in recent decades, Buffalo-based teams have experienced terrible and, at times, controversial defeats. If you’re curious about the city’s long relationship with sports, here are the eight most incredible and most heartbreaking moments in Buffalo’s sports history.
On January 3, 1993, the Buffalo Bills made history after securing an overtime victory against Houston Oilers even after being down 32 points in the third quarter with backup Frank Reich at quarterback. The score was initially 35-3 in favor of the Oilers before the Bills rallied and secured a win at 41-38.
In 1908, Buffalo resident George Schuster won a 21,000-mile road race from New York to Paris. Schuster, who worked at the E.R. Thomas Motor Company Factory, drove the American-built Thomas Flyer to compete against Germany, Italy, and France.
More than 5,000 Buffalonians came to the Iroquois Hotel to celebrate Schuster’s arrival after 169 days. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame on October 12, 2010.
On January 20, 1991, the Buffalo Bills torched the Las Vegas Raiders, 51-3, in an AFC Championship game at the Ralph Wilson Stadium. Their relentless defense and touchdowns took the Bills into the biggest game in North American sports and their first-ever Super Bowl.
According to American biographer Mark Allen Baker, the Queen City has hosted boxing matches for some of the most legendary names in boxing history, including Floyd Patterson and Sugar ray Robinson. It is said that Buffalo became a “focal point” for champions between 1899 to 1933.
On July 3, 1931, Montreal bested Buffalo, 5-4, in the first night game in the East and the high minors. An official account of the match said roughly 11,262 fans watched the Bison’s crushing defeat.
In 2019, the Buffalo Bills had one of their best games in the season after they beat the Dallas Cowboys, 26-15, during a Thanksgiving match. The game was broadcasted live on national TV. Their win led the NFL Network to dub the Bills, “America’s Spirit Animal.”
In February 2007, Philadelphia Flyers’ R.J. Umberger decided to drop his gloves and deliver two uppercuts to Buffalo Sabres’ Brian Campbell at center ice. Their fight was caught on camera and has been viewed by thousands of hockey fans. Umberger received an instigator and misconduct following the altercation.
On March 17, 1936, the Peace Bridge Arena hockey rink’s roof collapsed after facing a terrible snowstorm on St. Patrick’s Day. This forced the Bisons to play its final two games of the season in Cleveland.