Harvey Johnson (coach)

Harvey Paul Johnson (June 22, 1919 – August 8, 1983) was an American football player and coach. He served two separate stints as the head coach for the Buffalo Bills, first in the American Football League (AFL) and then in the National Football League (NFL).

Harvey Johnson
No. 62
Personal information
Born:(1919-06-22)June 22, 1919
Bridgeton, New Jersey
Died:August 8, 1983(1983-08-08) (aged 64)
Bridgeton, New Jersey
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:212 lb (96 kg)
Career information
High school:Bridgeton (NJ), Staunton Military Academy (VA)
College:William & Mary
NFL Draft:1943 / Round: 6 / Pick: 43
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
  • Buffalo Bills (1960–1961)
    Defensive backfield coach/kickers coach
  • Buffalo Bills (1962–1968)
    Kickers coach
  • Buffalo Bills (1968)
    Interim head coach
  • Buffalo Bills (1971)
    Head coach

Born and raised in Bridgeton, New Jersey, Johnson attended Bridgeton High School and Staunton Military Academy.[1]

Playing careerEdit

Johnson played as a linebacker for the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) from 1946 to 1949. In 1951, he played as a linebacker for the NFL's New York Yanks.


After eight years as an assistant coach and then defensive coordinator with the Buffalo Bills, Johnson first took the reins as head coach in 1968, when Joe Collier was fired two games into the season. The Bills went 1–10–1 with Johnson at the helm, and he was replaced the following year by John Rauch. Johnson returned to his role as the Bills' defensive backfield coach for two seasons before resuming the head coaching post in 1971. After finishing with a 1–13 record that year, Johnson was reassigned to the scouting department. He compiled a record of 2–23–1 in his two seasons. Johnson was also on the Buffalo Bills coaching staff when the Bills won the 1965 AFL Championship game. Johnson continued to work as a scout for the team until his death in 1983.

It was speculated that Johnson's love of thoroughbred horse racing, a passion he shared with owner Ralph Wilson, allowed him to stay on the Bills payroll despite his poor performance in coaching.[2]

Head coaching recordEdit

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
BUF 1968 1 10 1 .125 5th in AFL Eastern
BUF 1971 1 13 0 .071 5th in AFC East
Total[3] 2 23 1 .096


  1. ^ Harvey Johnson, Pro-Football-Reference.com. Accessed July 24, 2019.
  2. ^ Pollock, Chuck (March 27, 2014). Pollock: Some fond memories of the Bills’ late owner. Olean Times Herald. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  3. ^ "Harvey Johnson Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks - Pro-Football-Reference.com". Pro-Football-Reference.com.

External linksEdit