Founded in 1960, the Buffalo Bills were one of the charter members of the American Football League. Their owner, Ralph Wilson, was a Detroit native and a minority owner in the NFL’s Detroit Lions, which explains why the Bills played their first two seasons in a uniform that approximated that of the Lions.

Their initial home was War Memorial Stadium, so poorly maintained that it soon acquired the Rockpile nickname of Jeffrey Miller’s title. Nevertheless, the fans began to pack in once the team started winning in the mid-1960s. The Bills enjoyed four straight playoff seasons between 1963 and 1966, including back-to-back AFL Championships in 1964 and 1965 and defeat in the 1966 title game.

Winning that 1966 game would have put them in the first Super Bowl, representing the AFL, but it wasn’t to be. The Bills wouldn’t reach the Super Bowl until the 1990 season, the first of four consecutive Super Bowl defeats.

Title: Rockin’ the Rockpile
Author: Jeffrey Miller
First published: ECW Press, 2007
Buy: Amazon US
Listed: Pro Football Journal Top 100, #100

That was much later. Miller’s book covers the AFL era in detail, based on interviews with Wilson, former head coach Lou Saban, assorted front office staff, reporters and numerous former players. In addition to telling the stories from those years, the book also includes full statistics, draft choices and rare photographs.

The Bills left the Rockpile in 1972 for Rich Stadium, now known as Highmark Stadium and still the team’s home today. At the time of writing, the team has ended almost two decades of underwhelming performances and become a playoff fixture. The Rockpile was demolished in 1989 but fans are once again enjoyed the kind of seasons remembered in Miller’s book.


Jeffrey J Miller is the author of several football books, most of which are focused on the Buffalo Bills. In addition to Rockin’ the Rockpile, he is the author of Game Changers: The Greatest Plays in Buffalo Bills Football History (2009, with Marv Levy), 100 Things Bills Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die (2012), and RELICS: The History of the Buffalo Bills in Objects & Memorabilia (2021, with Greg Tranter). He is also the author of Buffalo’s Forgotten Champions (2004), about the 1920s Buffalo All-Americans, and Pop Warner: A Life on the Gridiron (2015).


“Very readable and in-depth look at the early years of the Buffalo Bills.”
Chris Willis, NFL Football Journal

“Rockin’ will solidly and enjoyably swing you from the Bills’ beginnings to the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.”
John Vorperian, Coffin Corner


Amazon US

Photo: All-Pro Reels


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