For as long as I can remember, the Buffalo Bills have never really reached contender status in the NFL. In fact, they have been really bad for almost my entire life.
In 2017, the Bills made the playoffs for the first time since 1999. At the time, that was the longest active playoff appearance drought in all of America’s major sport leagues.
Even with the Bills appearing in the playoffs two of the last three seasons, they still haven’t won a playoff game since 1995.
So, basically, in the last 25 years, the Bills have made the playoffs six times, and they haven’t won a playoff game since 1995.
It doesn’t help that the Bills have had absolutely no continuity at the quarterback position.
Over just the last decade, thirteen quarterbacks have taken snaps under center for the Bills: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brad Smith, Tyler Thigpen, Jeff Tuel, Thaddeus Lewis, EJ Manuel, Kyle Orton, Cardale Jones, Tyrod Taylor, Logan Thomas, Nathan Peterman, Derek Anderson and Matt Barkley.
Pretty rough, huh?
There aren’t many franchises I would label as underdog franchises. But, to my generation especially, the Bills have definitely been an underdog franchise.
Three games into this season, though, there are only seven teams still undefeated, and one of them is our perennial-underdog Buffalo Bills.
But how can this be?
Well, it seems that the Bills have finally found their guy at the quarterback position in Josh Allen.
Quite fittingly, Allen fits the mold of an underdog himself.
Not highly-recruited out of high school, Allen enrolled at Reedly College, a junior college in California. He eventually transferred to the University of Wyoming, a school not necessarily known for cranking out professional prospects or dominating at football.
Despite this, Allen garnered the attention of scouts largely due to his combination of size, mobility and arm strength.
Questions arose about his accuracy, and many were skeptical if Allen could make the transition from being the starter at Wyoming to being a potential franchise player at the professional level.
Allen was ultimately the wildcard of the 2018 draft. His measurables screamed number one overall pick, but his game film didn’t necessarily send the same message.
The Bills decided to roll the dice on him and take him seventh overall in the hopes he could be the franchise quarterback they had been seeking for so many years.
Allen’s first two seasons in the league were rocky. He showed flashes of brilliance with his mobility and arm strength, but he also had plays that seemed erratic and made you scratch your head.
The questions that surrounded Allen before he was drafted were still being raised about him in his second year as a pro.
Can he show consistent accuracy? Can he be more than just a running quarterback?
Now, in his third season as a starter, Allen appears to be putting those questions to bed.
Through three games, Allen has completed over 70% of his passes, is second in the league in total passing yardage and has a 10-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio., all while still showcasing his electrifying running ability.
With opening games against the subpar Jets (0-3) and the rebuilding Dolphins (1-2), observers, like myself, were unsure if the Bills were benefitting from a cupcake opening schedule or if they were actually a legitimate squad.
This past week, however, the Bills were given an opportunity to prove themselves against a Los Angeles Rams team that had looked spectacular through its first two games.
Allen and the Bills made a statement by beating the Rams 35 to 32 after Allen found Tyler Kroft in the corner of the endzone for the go-ahead touchdown with 15 seconds left in the game.
Allen finished with 311 yards and four touchdowns and a rushing touchdown as well.
Now the only question I hear the media asking about Allen is if this guy has a shot at being the league MVP.
Well, that escalated quickly!
As I watch this all unfold for the Bills, I find myself smiling. How can you not root for this guy and this franchise?
Some are upset, however, because of a controversial pass interference call on fourth down against the Rams that gave the Bills an additional shot at scoring on the last drive.
But there’s no need to talk about that. What’s done is done. Let’s let the Bills have their moment.
With an elite defense, strong running game and now consistent quarterback play, It appears that this season will be full of moments for the Bills franchise and its fans. Hopefully one of these moments is not only a playoff appearance, but also playoff success.
Either way, if the Bills keep winning and Allen keeps playing like he is, I’m all for it. I can’t help myself.
Everyone loves an underdog, myself included.