Ticats Retrospective: 1961 Victory over the Buffalo Bills

On August 8th, 1961, the final game between a Canadian Football League (CFL) team and a National/American Football League (NFL/AFL) team took place. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL hosted the Buffalo Bills of the AFL.

In front of a crowd of approximately 12,000 fans at Civic Stadium in Hamilton, ON—the Ticats defeated the Bills 38-21.

The win for Hamilton marked the first and only time a CFL franchise defeated a franchise that is a current member of today’s NFL.

Prior to that game, the CFL had played a total of six games against the NFL, with the NFL winning all six contests.


New York Giants defeated the Ottawa Rough Riders: 27-6 (August 12th, 1950)

New York Giants defeated the Ottawa Rough Riders: 41-18 (August 11th, 1951)

Chicago Cardinals defeated the Toronto Argonauts: 55-26 (August 5th, 1959)

Pittsburgh Steelers defeats the Toronto Argonauts: 43-16 (August 3rd, 1960)

St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Toronto Argonauts: 36-7 (August 2nd, 1961)

Chicago Bears defeated the Montreal Alouettes: 34-16 (August 5th, 1961)


Over those six games, the NFL out-scored the CFL 236-to-89 and the average margin of victory was 24.5 points per-game.

As reported by the Montreal Gazette, the Ticats game against the Bills in 1961 was played under Canadian rules.

The Ticats out-produced the Bills through the air (371 passing yards vs. 121), on the ground (106 rushing yards vs. 72) and more than doubled their first down total (20 vs. seven).

The Ticats dominated the Bills for most of the game, jumping out to a 28-8 lead. The Bills fought back in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to change the outcome. The Ticats defeated the Bills 38-21 in the last ever game contested between the two leagues.

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