Many new fans of the NFL may wonder who are the most famous Buffalo Bills football players. While the most current players are the most widely known, many wonder about the most famous Buffalo Bills players in history.
- O.J. Simpson Arguably one of the most famous Buffalo Bills players, O.J. Simpson has become known more for his post-retirement publicity than his skill on the field. In 1973, Simpson became the first player in the NFL to rush over 2000 yards in a season and is currently the only player to do so before the season changed to sixteen games instead of fourteen. Simpson retired from the NFL in 1979 and was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
- Jim Kelly As the only player to have his jersey officially retired, Jim Kelly is by far one of the most famous Buffalo Bills players. As quarterback, Kelly led the team to Super Bowl games in four consecutive years, although they lost all four. In September 1995, Kelly set the record for most yards gained per completion in one game with 44 yards. He retired after ten seasons with the Bills in 1996. In 2002, he was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame.
- Bruce Smith As the record holder for the most quarterback sacks, defensive player Bruce Smith is considered one of the most famous Buffalo Bills players. Fans of Smith believe that any future Bills players may never break his record of 171 sacks. Even though Smith left the Bills to play with the Redskins in 1999, he is most widely known for his work playing with the Bills. After finishing his career with 200 sacks, Smith retired from the NFL in 2003 and was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
- Billy Shaw As the only player to be inducted into the Football Hall of Fame without ever playing a single game for the NFL, Billy Shaw is by easily of the most famous Buffalo Bills players. Since Shaw played for the Bills when they were a part of the AFL and retired before the leagues merged in 1970, he is one hall of famer that will never have another person share his legacy. In addition to his spot in the Football Hall of Fame, Shaw has also been honored as a part of the Greater Buffalo Hall Sports Hall of Fame and the Bills 50th Anniversary Team.
- Thurman Thomas In twelfth position on the all-time rushing yards in a career list, Thurman Thomas is arguably one of the most famous Buffalo Bills players. Thomas lead the league in rushing in 1990, 1991 and 1993 and was selected for five consecutive Pro Bowl games from 1989 through 1993. He is also the current Bills record holder for the most rushing yards with 11,938 and is the only player in NFL history to lead the league in total yards from scrimmage over four straight seasons. Although he was later a part of the Miami Dolphins, a knee injury ended his career and Thomas signed a one-day contract so he could officially retire as a Buffalo Bill in 2001. He was later inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2007.