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  • Budd Bailey

Buffalo Bills: November 5, 1967 – King brothers make history

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

(Editor’s Note: Reedy Press has published “The Buffalo Bills: An Illustrated Timeline of a Storied Franchise.” The book was written by Greg Tranter and Budd Bailey; click here for more information. The authors wrote some potential chapters to the book that were not used, and didn’t want to put them to waste. Therefore, they thought people would like to read about those events from the team’s past on this site. It will give you a taste of what the text of the coffee-table book is like.)

What appeared to be a somewhat run-of-the-mill regular season AFL game between two struggling teams, the 2-5 Buffalo Bills versus the 1-6 Miami Dolphins at War Memorial Stadium, was actually a groundbreaking game.

Bills defensive backs Charlie and Tony King became the first Black siblings to play in the AFL on the same team in the same game; no Black brothers in NFL history had done it. They both contributed to the Bills’ 35-13 victory.

On the opening kickoff, Joe Auer of the Dolphins returned a Mike Mercer boot 20 yards to the 25-yard line. However, he fumbled the ball and backup defensive back Tony King recovered for the Bills. Four plays later, Wray Carlton ran six yards for a touchdown. After only 1:57 of play, Buffalo was ahead 7-0.

Midway through the second quarter, the Bills’ lead was cut to 21-7 by a Dolphins’ touchdown. Charlie King returned the ensuing Miami kickoff 36 yards to the Miami 49-yard line. With that return by Charlie, history had been made. Two brothers had turned up in the game’s official statistics.

After that, the King brothers played together for Buffalo’s final six games of the regular season. The Bills won only one of those games. Their time together did not last long however, as during the offseason Tony was traded to the Denver Broncos and Charlie was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL expansion draft. They were saluted by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009 for this milestone.

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