Hamilton Tiger-Cats 38

Buffalo Bills 21


Aug. 8, 1961


For the only time in history, an American Football League team met a Canadian Football League Team. And, for the first time in history, a CFL team defeated a professional team from America when the Tiger-Cats downed the Buffalo Bills, 38-21 in Hamilton. It should be remembered that the Bills game in Hamilton was very different than the other games. It actually is an “NFL” game only in retrospect. In 1961, the Buffalo Bills were purely an AFL team with the draft wars, Super Bowls and merger still years away. This game, therefore, can be viewed separately from the others. The game was played at Hamilton’s Ivor Wynne Stadium before 12,000 curious fans playing with a mix of American and Canadian rules.

In the first quarter, Ti-Cats fullback Jerry McDougall boomed a quick-kick 77 yards to the Bills 10 yard line. On the next play, Hamilton’s Butch Rogers intercepted a Johnny Green pass and ran 22 yards for a score. Midway through the first quarter, Hamilton’s Ron Miller tried a 27 yard field goal which was wide. Buffalo’s William Fowler attempted to run it out of the endzone (mandatory by Canadian rules) but was stopped short by Hal Patterson for a one point rouge. The score was 8-0. On the third play of the second quarter, Rogers again intercepted a Green pass at the Buffalo 13. Bernie Faloney then spotted Patterson between the goalposts in the endzone and hit him with a beautiful touchdown strike in front of defender, Jack Johnson. Later in the quarter, the Bills stopped Hamilton’s Don Sutherin in the endzone following a pass from Tom Dublinski for a safety. On the last play of the half, the Bills’ Richie Lucas ran 9 yards to the Hamilton 39, but a roughing penalty was called on the Ti-Cats for piling on. The ball was moved to the 24 where Lucas hit Monte Crockett for a touchdown. The halftime score was 21-8 in favor of Hamilton.

Hamilton opened it to 28-8 in the third quarter on a touchdown pass from Faloney to Paul Dekker. Later in the quarter, Green led the Bills on a drive which ended on a three yard Art Baker scoring run. On their next possession, Elbert Dubenion returned a Hamilton punt 21 yards and Green hit Crockett on an 8 yard touchdown route. At 28-21, the Bills were back in it. But, Faloney hit Ralph Goldston on a 29 yard pass play to set up Ron Miller’s 17 yard field goal and give Hamilton a 31-21 cushion. Frank Cosentino replaced Faloney and finished the rout with a 50 yard touchdown pass to Goldston. The final was Hamilton 38, Buffalo 21.

For Buffalo and the AFL, the game was a disappointment. The Bills were befuddled by the Canadian rules, suffered a rash of preseason injuries, and used untested rookies who were not familiar with their system, having practiced less than two weeks. The game exposed the weakness of the young American Football League. For the Tiger-Cats and the CFL, it was redemption for the 6 previous losses to US teams. It would mark the last time the CFL and NFL/AFL met in history.





Canada Grid Teams Favor AFL Tuneups


United Press International


Hamilton, Ont. (UPI)- Canadian Football League clubs can forget all about playing exhibition games against the tough National Football League- a move the league is considering seriously- because it apparently is a whole lot easier tangling with the American Football League.


That was demonstrated thoroughly and to the delight of more than 12,000 partisan fans at Hamilton, Ont., Tuesday night when the Tiger-Cats scored early and often in the typical wide-open Canadian fashion to whip the Buffalo Bills of the AFL, 38-21, in the first exhibition game between the two pro circuits (video).


The Eastern Football Conference team, playing it wide open all the way, led by 8-0, 21-8 and 28-8 before the Bills broke loose with a spirited attack that threatened to wipe out the Cats' margin. They ran in a pair of touchdowns and shook up the Ti-Cats on other occasions, only to fall apart later as the Cats drove to a field goal and a converted touchdown that came in the dying minutes when Frank Cosentino, fourth and last of the Hamilton quarterbacks, found Ralph Goldston with a 50 yard forward pass that sent the Hamilton back all the way.


There has been considerable talk in Canadian circles in recent weeks involving the possible curtailment of play against NFL clubs. The Canadian teams have yet to score a victory over an NFL team in exhibition play, but what is even worse is the fact that in losing the Dominion teams have been completely out-classed.


The CFL, though, gained prestige when Hamilton quarterbacks Bernie Faloney and Tom Dublinski, both Americans and former NFL'ers, riddled the Buffalo defense with a consistent passing attack.


Faloney connected for three of Hamilton's five touchdowns, while Dublinski kept the Ti-Cats rolling along when he was sent in to spell Maloney.


The Hamilton squad outgunned the Yanks, under Canadian rules, making 20 first downs against 7 with 106 yards rushing against 72 for the Bills. The Cats, with Faloney, Eisaman and Dublinski preceding Cosentino, gained 371 yards in the air, against 121 for the Bills.





Gab Bag


Hamilton Spectator


This hasn't been good week the Americans. There was that Russian space flight and Miss Supertest's victory over the best speedboat the Yanks had to offer and that report of a rift in Frank Sinatra's clan and then, last night, the one-sided defeat at the Buffalo Bills at the hands of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on the football field. All that's needed for complete disaster is news of Liz Taylor's defection to Nasser.

America's pro teams aren't supposed to lose to Canadian squads (Ticats, after all, only had 30 United States natives in uniform) but the Bills had nothing to declare as they cleared Buffalo customs last night but an assortment of bruises and a scrambled ego. Hospitality here was so shabby that besides the 38-21 licking, the president of the Bills was, at first, turned away at the gate, the American flag hung below the Canadian ensign (and had but 48 stars according to one astute observer- i.e., a chap with borrowed binoculars) and Vince Scott refused to talk with the foreign forces without the services of an interpreter.

In spite of the fact Canadian rules were enforced and the Ticats had about a three-week edge in training, this will undoubtedly be billed as proof that the American Football League is inferior to the Canadian product (nations rise and fall on prestige earned in such combat) and coach Frank Filchock will be reminded of his boast of last autumn that AFL teams are more powerful than Brand X clubs, and almost on par with Brand Y.

Can the Bills be as bad at they appeared last night when they were sluggish and inept except when facing reserve players which the Ticats use only when Leonard P. Back, club physician Jim Charters and office secretary Marion Deacon aren't able to suit up? More important, is the Hamilton team so awesome that J. Trimble, unless filled with the milk of human kindness, will devastate the land if Mears, Agase, Grant, Clair, etc., do not sue for immediate peace?

It would be difficult to pick flaws in the Tiger-Cat performance. Butch Rogers intercepted two passes, each of four quarterback had a touch of magic, Nuemann looked 21 years young. Barrow resembled a hug-hungry grizzly, Goldston and McDougall gave zip to the offensive backfield, Patterson (wearing No. 77, Ralph Toohy's old jersey, incidentally) blocked to help the outside running....it was almost too good to be true. Actually, there haven't been many changes to the Hamilton strategy (there's more backfield in motion but the patterns are much the same) but the Ticats made this the best game of the pre-season schedule in Eastern Canada.

A grouch may wish that Tom Dublinski's arm could be grafted to Bernie Faloney's body (Faloney is still most effective on rollouts where his running ability makes up for deficiencies as a passer) but Hamilton quarterbacking was much superior to Buffalo's. The biggest cheer of the game was reserved for Frank Cosentino, the local lad who threw the last touchdown pass of the game. He could step into a Bill uniform anytime. In spite of his handicap at being born 40 miles away from the United States.

When trimmed to their normal complement of imports, the Cats will obviously be weakened but the material is there for a strong contender if properly handled. There have been some surprises (eg. Don Sutherin was considered a shoo-in for a job but hasn't been outstanding; dark horse John Schroeder, on the other hand, injured in the game, would be good enough to play end for any Canadian team NOT having a Dekker and Patterson combination) but, fortunately, Trimble hasn't insisted on all of his experiments (Vince Scott played well at middle guard although told he must make the team as an offensive tackle, a position he did play briefly last night with indifferent success, not a surprising result since Scott, at 36, can hardly be expected to now play a spot entirely alien him).

Some doubts are held for the Hamilton defensive backfield where Trimble has sacrificed much of his strength (George Scott, Ralph Goldston, Garnet Henley) to spruce up his offence- at least that's the plan at the moment. It's also baffling to see another coaching switch- Ron Howell in defence. Howell played exceptionally well against Buffalo and he might well justify the move. But to see a pass catcher of his calibre playing on defence is like hearing that Bardot will appear in her next movie in coveralls and a turtle-necked sweater.

Several of the Bills would look good in Hamilton sweaters but the pick of the visiting club, especially from the gate standpoint, would be backs Art Baker and Elbert Dubenion. Dubenion will remind customers of Bernie Custis while Baker has the touch of a Johnny Bright up the middle.

One raporter in the press box even remarked that he would have PAID to see last night's game. He was immediately fed to the crocodiles, of course. Trouble-maker.


Elbert Dubenion carries against Hamilton.



Hamilton Tiger-Cats





Buffalo Bills







Scoring Summary


First Quarter

HAM- Rogers 22 yard interception return (Sutherin kick)

HAM- Single, (Johnson rouged on Miller's attempted field goal)


Second Quarter

HAM- Patterson 4 yard touchdown pass from Faloney (Sutherin kick)

BUF- Safety, Atkins tackles Sutherin in endzone

HAM- Henley 36 yard touchdown pass from Dublinski (failed conversion)

BUF- Crockett 10 yard pass from Lucas (failed conversion)


Third Quarter

HAM- Dekker 10 yard touchdown pass from Faloney (Sutherin kick)


Fourth Quarter

BUF- Baker 3 run (Hergert kick)

BUF- Crocket 8 yard pass from Green (conversion failed)

HAM- FG Miller 18

HAM- Goldston 50 yard touchdown pass from Cosentino (Sutherin kick)





Regular Season:

The Buffalo Bills finished 6-8 in 1961, last place in the AFL East. They finished 1/2 game better than in 1960, the first year of the league’s existence. The team was led by receiver Elbert Dubenion. Hamilton went 10-4-0 to finish first in the East and out-dueled Toronto in the playoffs to advance to the Grey Cup. But, Winnipeg won the Cup, scoring a thrilling 21-14 overtime victory in Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium in the only overtime game to ever be played in Grey Cup history to date. Quarterback Bernie Faloney would go on to be the CFL MVP in 1961.