New Era Field
New Era Stadium, or formally called Rich and Ralph Wilson Stadium, is the home of the Buffalo Bills. In the 1969 NFL Draft, the Bills selected O.J. Simpson out of the University of Southern California to be their star running back of the future. O.J. Simpson ran wild over the NFL in this stadium when it was called Rich Stadium.
Backstory and Context
When O.J. Simpson was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 1969 NFL draft, Rich Stadium became the running grounds of one of the most dynamic backs in NFL history in the prime of his career. Built in 1973 after the organizations first stadium, War Memorial Stadium, was not big enough to hold the growing fan base of the Bills, Rich Stadium got its name from Rich Foods buying out the naming rights in 1973 and remained the name of the stadium until 1998 when the name switched to Ralph Wilson Stadium. The stadium originally had a seating capacity of 80,000 fans, consisting of three decks of red and blue seats to match the teams colors. The playing field went from being grass to artificial turf which was a huge boost for players.
For O.J. Simpson, this field became his playground. In 5 seasons playing in the new Rich Stadium, Simpson ran for 7,005 yards and 39 touchdowns. But off all those yards and touchdowns, one game in Simpson's career that's stand above the rest was in the 1973 season versus the Baltimore Colts. The Colts were one of the best teams during this time and the Bills were just starting to find their stride. It was a back and forth game until "Juice" Simpson took over. Big run after big run, O.J. Simpson ran over the Colts in what ended up being a final score of 31 to 13. Simpson ended the game with 166 yards on 22 carries with 2 touchdowns which extended the Bills winning streak to 3 games that would propel them to a 9 and 5 season. Rich Stadium, which is now called New Era Stadium, was a huge part of Simpson's career and helped propel him to his NFL record season shattering 2,003 yards in a single season.
New Era Field, Buffalo Bills football stadium - Stadiums of Pro Football. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.stadiumsofprofootball.com/stadiums/new-era-field/
O.J. Simpson 1973 Game Log. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SimpO.00/gamelog/1973/
Organization, & ImageObject. (2018, June 6). A look through history of the home of the Buffalo Bills. Retrieved from https://www.buffalobills.com/news/a-look-through-history-of-the-home-of-the-buffalo-bills-17516361
Vogan, D. (2016, August 19). From Rich Stadium to the Ralph: A look back. Retrieved from https://www.wkbw.com/news/a-look-back-at-home-turf-from-rich-stadium-to-the-ralph