Time Capsule: The Buffalo Bills Playoff Drought

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Congratulations to the Buffalo Bills and their fans, who this weekend will enjoy a trip to the NFL playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season. More precisely, the last postseason appearance for the Bills was a Wild Card game against the Tennessee Titans on January 8, 2000. That game now lives in infamy as the Music City Miracle.

Tennessee Titans vs. Buffalo Bills (January 8, 2000)
Tennessee Titans vs. Buffalo Bills (January 8, 2000)

As you can see from the cover, Jeff Fisher was the Titans head coach for this game. Wade Phillips was in the second year of his stint after replacing Marv Levy. The starting quarterbacks for the Bills and Titans in 1999 were Doug Flutie and Steve McNair/Neil O’Donnell.

To give you an idea of how much time has really passed since the last Bills playoff game, here’s a quick look at what else was going on in the world at that time:

1999 Buffalo Bills Media Guide
1999 Buffalo Bills Media Guide


  • The top team in the NBA was the Los Angeles Lakers (29-5).
  • Stanford was the #1 team in college basketball.
  • The Detroit Red Wings led the NHL in the standings with 59 points.


  • The top song in America was “Smooth” by Santana and Rob Thomas. It was 12 weeks into its run at #1.
  • The new top album in the U.S. was … And Then There Was X by DMX, which debuted at #1 and knocked a Celine Dion compilation out of the top spot.
  • The #1 movie in America that weekend was Cast Away.
  • The top-rated non-sports shows in America were ER, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Frasier, Malcolm in the Middle, Friends, 60 Minutes, and The Practice.

Current Events

  • Boris Yeltsin had resigned as Russia’s president. His replacement? Vladimir Putin.
  • The Clinton administration was in the midst of a legal and public relations battle over the status of Cuban national Elián González.
  • The historic AOL-Time Warner merger was just about to be announced.
  • Vice President Al Gore and Senator Bill Bradley had just held their fifth Democratic presidential debate leading up to the Iowa Caucuses.