The NFL does not promote the retiring of jersey numbers by their 32 clubs. Rosters currently number 61 counting the eight-man practice squad during the regular season, and balloon to 80 in the offseason. Knowing there are a limited amount of assigned numbers for certain positions, the idea of reducing the pool of numbers from which to choose is usually not in a team’s best interest.
That’s why most NFL teams honor their best players with a Ring of Honor, or in Buffalo’s case a Wall of Fame rather than retire jersey numbers. However, Buffalo’s equipment staff serves as very effective gatekeepers when it comes to some of the Bills’ most hallowed jersey numbers.
So far, Buffalo Bills have retired three of their jersey numbers.
Retired Numbers of Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills retired the number on October 30, 2018. The number 34 was the number of Thurman Thomas. He played with number 34 from 1988 to 1999 and in his honor for his great achievements, the number was retired.
Buffalo Bills retired number 78 in honor of their all time player Bruce Smith on September 15, 2018. Smith played in the number 78 jersey from the year 1985 to 1999. Bruce was one of Buffalo’s best players.
On November 19, 2001, Buffalo Bills honored their all time player Jim Kelly by retiring his jersey number for the great sills he exhibited whiles playing for the team. Jim played for the Buffalo Bills from 1986 to 2001.