September 15, 1968 -- As bad days go for the Bills, this was a good-sized one.
It started with a game against the Raiders in War Memorial Stadium. Oakland opened the scoring with an 86-yard punt return by George Atkinson. It was 21-0 by the end of the first quarter, and 31-0 by halftime.
When it was 34-0 early in the fourth quarter, Bob Cappodona scored on a 7-yard run. The Bills went for two points and failed. The Raiders went back to work, as Larry Todd ran for two scores. George Wilson set an AFL record by returning five punts for 205 yards. Final score: Oakland 48, Buffalo 6. It was one of the great routs in Bills' history.
Apparently Ralph Wilson noticed that last part. He asked for a meeting at a hotel with Collier after the game, which was Buffalo's second straight loss. Yes, Wilson had fired his coach. Harvey Johnson, the team's personnel director, was named interim coach that day.
Collier had been the defensive coordinator of some great Bills' teams earlier in the decade. But that team had gotten old, and reinforcements never arrived. Collier paid the price.
The coaching switch didn't help much. Johnson went 1-10-1 for the rest of the season, and the Bills finished at the bottom of the overall NFL standings.
--- Budd Bailey