Buster Ramsey Questions Bills’ Chances in 1960


1960 bills_chargers

I found this article in the Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Chargers game program from October 2, 1960.  It struck me funny, as these early season puff pieces are usually full of the head coach touting the quality of his team, and how they shouldn’t be counted out of the playoffs.  Bills’ head coach, Buster Ramsey, takes quite the opposite tact in this article.  In fact, Ramsey figured the New York Titans to be the winners of the AFL’s Eastern Division in 1960.

In the end, Ramsey’s club finished third in the division with a 5-8-1 record, just 1.5 games behind those Titans who finished at 7-7, which the Houston Oilers won the division at 10-4.

Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

7 Responses to Buster Ramsey Questions Bills’ Chances in 1960

  1. Tom says:

    The article mentions Richie “Steamboat” Lucas, Lucas was a big star at Penn State, All America quarterback one of several early AFL big ones that got away from the NFL. Lucas along with Billy Cannon were possibly the only rookies to have national product endorsement deals, Lucas and Cannon had a deal with Spaulding The Richie Lucas “Steamboat” football and The Cannon football featured a military Canon on the ball, the Lucas ball featured a paddle wheel Steamboat.
    I was unclear as to what happened to Lucas and his career, as he never quite made it, now from reading the article I know, he suffered serious injury and was never quite the same.

  2. Paul Beaver says:

    Lucas is in the College Football Hall of Fame….but just never found his niche in the pros.

    “Nicknamed “Riverboat Richie” due to his gambling instincts when calling plays.

    He was a first round pick in both the NFL and AFL drafts in 1960. Like many college stars of the era, and possibly because of the conservative style of play in the old NFL, Lucas signed with a team in the wide-open new American Football League, namely the Buffalo Bills, making him officially the franchise’s first player.[1] There he played quarterback, halfback, defensive back and kick returner for two seasons before he was obtained by the AFL’s Denver Broncos following the AFL’s 1962 equalization draft, but he never played for the Broncos.[2]

    Nicknamed “Riverboat Richie” due to his gambling instincts when calling plays,[3] Lucas won the 1959 Maxwell Trophy and was runner-up to LSU’s Billy Cannon for the 1959 Heisman Trophy. He returned to Penn State following his pro football career, serving as assistant athletic director until 1998. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.”

    • Tom says:

      I have both the Cannon and Lucas footballs, thank you for clearing up the nickname “Riverboat” and detailing his career.Cotton Davidson and Jackie Lee also had endorsement contracts that included footballs, although uncertain of the years they were sold.

  3. Tom and Paul, thanks for the history lesson. I’ve always known about Billy Cannon, (since I began following football as a kid in the late ’70’s), but I’ve never heard of Riverboat Richie.

    So Riverboat Richie was considered a huge professional prospect along with Cannon. WOW ! ! !

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