To curtail an interception rate that was soaring into the stratosphere, the Bills tried to separate themselves in a division rife with white helmets. Although the New York Jets were green at the time, the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts all had white helmets.
"I always joke with Joe about that helmet change," Bills equipment manager Dave Hojnowski told BuffaloBills.com writer Chris Brown. "After he had left and gone to play for Detroit I told him, 'Boy, you left just in time because the next modification for the helmets was we were going to push a flashing yellow light on top.' Joe always thought that was really funny."
The Bills had some good memories in those uniforms, which were worn by a few future Pro Football Hall of Famers in four straight Super Bowls. But they have switched back to a uniform similar to those worn by Ferguson before they turned redheads.
In an unveiling ceremony Friday night in Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Bills officially introduced their new uniforms. They accidentally had been leaked in April through an online trailer for the "Madden NFL 12" video game.
"We'll definitely look good in them," Bills running back Fred Jackson told me a few weeks ago. He'd already seen the new uniforms. "It'll be a good change for us. I haven't met a guy on the team that was real enthused about the uniforms we did have. I can't think of one guy on our team that's not going to like the new ones.
"I'm looking forward to putting them on. Out with the old, in with the new. Let's start some new traditions."