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Steve Simmons Article in T-Sun 1991 SB What If...Longish Read


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The Bills should have won the Super Bowl in 1991. Then ‘wide right’ happened. But if they’d had a QB of Josh Allen’s stature back then, imagine how different things would have been 

Kicker Scott Norwood misses a 47-yard field goal, sealing the Bills’ loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XXV in 1991.

Wide right would not have gone wide right and missed had Josh Allen been the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills in the now-famous Super Bowl XXV.

They may not have needed Scott Norwood’s leg to make that 47-yard field goal to win the NFL championship.

The kick might have been shorter, easier, or no kick at all, except the extra point. And the Bills, with Allen, who wasn’t even born until after the team had lost four straight Super Bowls, might have scored a touchdown, coming back to win their only Super Bowl.

This is all imaginary now, a great what if, with Allen and the Bills one win and a Patrick Mahomes injury away from going back to the Super Bowl all these decades later. But the more we see of Allen and his array of talents, the more we realize we are watching the greatest quarterback Buffalo has ever had.

Some people in Buffalo don’t want to hear that, not about how great and unstoppable Allen happens to be — they know that — but how ordinary the legendary Jim Kelly was in his four Super Bowl starts. In fairness to Kelly, the Hall of Fame quarterback who has come to symbolize the heart and soul of the city of Buffalo and its beloved football team, he was like the Bills themselves: He never had a great championship day.

He never even had a good one.

But the first one in 1991, that ended with Norwood’s infamous kick missing from 47 yards — that was the game the Bills should have won. That was the game to change history. It was all there for the Bills in the final minutes.

All they had to do was score. In the other three Super Bowls, well, the Bills were there in name only. They lost 37-24 to the Washington Redskins and followed that by losing 52-17 to Dallas and then 30-13 the year after that to Dallas.

The first two Super Bowl defeats always hurt more than the last two. Jeff Hostetler was the quarterback for the Giants when the Bills lost 20-19. He’s not the worst quarterback to win a Super Bowl, but he’s certainly on the list. The next year, they lost to Mark Rypien, the sort-of Canadian. He started one more season with the Redskins and that was about it for him.

All Kelly had to do in the final minute of Super Bowl XXV was get one more first down. Maybe five more yards. Maybe 10 more yards. And all he had to do was manage the clock a little better in a game that was all about coaching and time of possession.

A 47-yard kick on grass back then was not like the automatic 47-yard field goals of today. It was a 50-50 kick in those days. I’ve always thought that holding Norwood responsible for the Bills’ 20-19 loss was somehow misplaced. Coach Marv Levy and quarterback Kelly and a defence that couldn’t stop the run cost Buffalo the Super Bowl it needed to win.

But you look at Allen now, and the way he plays, the way he runs and how difficult he is to bring down at any time — and all of this at 24 years of age! — and you wonder if this is the year, or next year, or perhaps the year after that. The possibilities are endless.

There will always be Patrick Mahomes in the AFC standing in front of Allen and the Bills. Just as there was Dan Marino and Warren Moon in the AFC during Kelly’s best seasons.

Allen does things Kelly could never do. He’s already run for 1,562 yards in three seasons: Kelly rushed for 1,049 in his career.

Allen has run for 25 touchdowns already. Kelly ran for seven in his entire career.

Kelly came to the Bills at the age of 26, when he had already played two seasons in the USFL for the Houston Gamblers. Allen was 22 years old when he began starting for Buffalo, an erratic kid with arms and legs flailing in all directions, a quarterback inside of him in need of coaching and teaching and smoothing out to reach this remarkable level. He is in an MVP conversation not far behind Aaron Rodgers and Mahomes, two of the five most creative quarterbacks ever to play.

Kelly’s Buffalo teams were extraordinary, not just for getting to four straight Super Bowls, but for the collection of talent that couldn’t exist in today’s salary-capped world. He had an all-time great, Thurman Thomas, in the backfield, and a Hall of Fame wideout in Andre Reed and a defence that included Bruce Smith, Cornelius Bennett and Darryl Talley. It was a team really had everything but a ring.

Josh Allen has backs you might not know and an absolute gem of a receiver in Stefon Diggs. I could argue that Allen and Diggs surpass everything that was Kelly and Reed already, only that would be premature and disrespectful. There is no Smith on the Bills defensive line, no Bennett at linebacker. No Thomas anywhere to be found.

But they have Allen, who has already orchestrated a 13-win season, passed and ran for more yards than Kelly ever managed, and thrown for more touchdowns this season than Kelly ever did. He is 24 years old.

In Super Bowl XXV, the

Bills went 1-for-8 in thirddown conversions against the Giants. That never would have happened if they’d had a quarterback like the explosive Josh Allen back then.

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It's too early for "Who is better: Allen or Kelly?"  We can start having that conversation in another five or so years.  For now, let's just be happy that we have a QB who's performing at an MVP level in his third year.  Canton will still be there later.

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11 minutes ago, Big Turk said:

The refs screwed up the clock on the final drive costing the Bills about 15 or 20 seconds

Kelly had horrendous clock management that drive too.

they couldn’t stop Thurman.  

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I don’t want to live in a world where we are questioning Jim Kelly. I love Allen as much as anyone, but until proven otherwise over a long career, Allen is a distant second to Jimbo. 
 

I actually can’t believe I read that to be honest. Kelly played a good game and it wasn’t his fault the defense couldn’t stop Anderson and get him the ball back. Look...the K-gun’s downfall was that we were so efficient that we scored too quickly, not allowing the defense time to rest. 
 

OP...I don’t mean to be harsh, but I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish here. 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Pete said:

Kelly had horrendous clock management that drive too.

they couldn’t stop Thurman.  

 

He definitely looked a bit flustered that Andre wasn't getting open.

 

 Bellicheats tight man to man and what would now be called roughness or holding penalties.

 

I don't think any current Bills receiver would do well in those circumstances. 

6 minutes ago, whorlnut said:

I don’t want to live in a world where we are questioning Jim Kelly. I love Allen as much as anyone, but until proven otherwise over a long career, Allen is a distant second to Jimbo. 
 

I actually can’t believe I read that to be honest. Kelly played a good game and it wasn’t his fault the defense couldn’t stop Anderson and get him the ball back. Look...the K-gun’s downfall was that we were so efficient that we scored too quickly, not allowing the defense time to rest. 
 

OP...I don’t mean to be harsh, but I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish here. 

 

 

 

I copied and pasted an article from todays 1/22/21 Toronto Sun by Simmons...maybe email him and ask that question. 

 

Don't shoot the messenger ;)

Edited by JMF2006
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3 minutes ago, JMF2006 said:

 

He definitely looked a bit flustered that Andre wasn't getting open.

 

 Bellicheats tight man to man and what would now be called roughness or holding penalties.

 

I don't think any current Bills receiver would do well in those circumstances. 

 

I copied and pasted an article from todays 1/22/21 Toronto Sun by Simmons...maybe email him and ask that question. 

Thanks for explaining. Maybe next time post the link?

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Just now, whorlnut said:

Thanks for explaining. Maybe next time post the link?

 

Its a paywall so most people get all pissy... like The Buffalo News. 

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That last drive was pathetic.  Should have been automatic an extra 10-20 yards.  

 

The whole game seemed to be mistake after mistake.  Should never have been close.

 

The biggest issue (though glossed over) imo was this was the one SB with only a one week gap and that affected the Bills significantly.  They were too high on their horse, ill prepared for the media and all the commitments that week & also heard had too much fun & late nights prior.

 

The Giants knew what to expect and were in it prior.

 

Two weeks and they would have been better prepared.

Edited by Billsfan1972
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I think it's unfair to make a comparison like this because it's two vastly different eras and I don't think it's fair to throw Jim Kelly under the bus like this. That said I do feel like Kelly was partially responsible for the loss that day. Keep in mind that we had a very unique offense at the time that he was terrific at executing as the field general but that offense was a bit of an Achilles heel on that day. If the Bills had slowed it down a bit and consumed some clock it would have been a real difficult game for the Giants because their whole game plan was a plodding methodical offense aimed at keeping us off the field and they weren’t going to score a lot. If Kelly had called Thurman’s number more he would have had 300 plus yards and the Giants defense would have had to adjust and stack the box to stop him which would have opened up the middle of the field for the pass and Reed would have had a field day. But it wasn't just Kelly that is to blame on this, the Giants coaching staff game planned much better than the Bills did and the point that we only had one week in between the championship game in the Super Bowl could be a legitimate beef. Also, our defense did have a tough day and missed some key tackles that could have changed the tide of the game. 3rd and 13 comes to mind. We stop that and we likely win.

 

If you took this present day Bills squad and the coaches of today and transported them back to that day though, they would crush that Giants team by over 50 points. It wouldn't even be close. The Giants were a very average team that got all the breaks to fall their way that day.

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2 hours ago, JMF2006 said:

 

He definitely looked a bit flustered that Andre wasn't getting open.

 

 Bellicheats tight man to man and what would now be called roughness or holding penalties.

 

I don't think any current Bills receiver would do well in those circumstances. 

 

I copied and pasted an article from todays 1/22/21 Toronto Sun by Simmons...maybe email him and ask that question. 

 

Don't shoot the messenger ;)

Unfortunately with revisionist history like this article, facts/statistics can be manipulated to say anything you want them to, aka, opinion hot takes. If it were Allen starting that game instead of Kelly, then Belly would've gameplanned his HOF gameplan into something else possibly, who knows. Different era, different defensive approaches, different NFL rule book. I look at SB XXV a bit differently--instead of how could we have lost that one, it's how did we still come that close to winning it? Given the rabid Giants D stacked everywhere and getting nothing called on them for mauling our receivers, an offense that never left the field thanks to our D never stopping a 3rd down (between the closing drive of the first half, opening drive of the 2nd and halftime, the Bills O never even saw the field for what seemed like most of the game), really, how did we come so close to still putting it away on the last play of the game?

 

The Bills O still put up more points than our O just did against the Ravens...my point is simply, let's keep each player's chapter in the era it's in, and enjoy the fact that both Kelly and Allen in their respective times, have allowed us to pick our heads up as Bills fans secure in the knowledge that will not perfect, we can hang with anybody in this league...    

Edited by NoHuddleKelly12
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54 minutes ago, SF Bills Fan said:

I think it's unfair to make a comparison like this because it's two vastly different eras and I don't think it's fair to throw Jim Kelly under the bus like this. That said I do feel like Kelly was partially responsible for the loss that day. Keep in mind that we had a very unique offense at the time that he was terrific at executing as the field general but that offense was a bit of an Achilles heel on that day. If the Bills had slowed it down a bit and consumed some clock it would have been a real difficult game for the Giants because their whole game plan was a plodding methodical offense aimed at keeping us off the field and they weren’t going to score a lot. If Kelly had called Thurman’s number more he would have had 300 plus yards and the Giants defense would have had to adjust and stack the box to stop him which would have opened up the middle of the field for the pass and Reed would have had a field day. But it wasn't just Kelly that is to blame on this, the Giants coaching staff game planned much better than the Bills did and the point that we only had one week in between the championship game in the Super Bowl could be a legitimate beef. Also, our defense did have a tough day and missed some key tackles that could have changed the tide of the game. 3rd and 13 comes to mind. We stop that and we likely win.

 

If you took this present day Bills squad and the coaches of today and transported them back to that day though, they would crush that Giants team by over 50 points. It wouldn't even be close. The Giants were a very average team that got all the breaks to fall their way that day.

Kelly had his success in an era where defensive players could hit the quarterback.  It all ended when Tom Brady came in the league.  We all remember those games where a woozy, bloodied QB would roll around in pain - that doesn't happen in today's NFL.  Hell, Josh Allen as he was hitting the ground on a late hit was signaling with his right hand (that he didn't even need to use to break his fall) that it was a roughing the passer penalty and more free yards.  What the NFL has done protecting these QB's has completely changed the entire game.  There's zero fear of even getting touched for most of these guys - they are just playing catch.

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1 hour ago, Ethan in Portland said:

Levy, the defense missing 10 tackles, and Kelly in that order.  

Comparing stats from 2020 and 1990 is a fools errand.  Completely different eras.  

 

 

I agree Kelly and Allen can't really be compared.

 

I also agree we *should* have won Super Bowl XXV.

 

It's the only one of the 4 we should have won.

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Billzfan37 said:

Kelly had his success in an era where defensive players could hit the quarterback.  It all ended when Tom Brady came in the league.  We all remember those games where a woozy, bloodied QB would roll around in pain - that doesn't happen in today's NFL.  Hell, Josh Allen as he was hitting the ground on a late hit was signaling with his right hand (that he didn't even need to use to break his fall) that it was a roughing the passer penalty and more free yards.  What the NFL has done protecting these QB's has completely changed the entire game.  There's zero fear of even getting touched for most of these guys - they are just playing catch.

Good points- Kelly had a great arm and was very accurate and could be lethal in today's pass friendly league. He and Reed could have even more of a connection and higher stats. 

 

It is funny to think about Josh Allen falling down and basically pulling flags.  All of the QBs do it. That's the league of today. 

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2 hours ago, Nextmanup said:

I agree Kelly and Allen can't really be compared.

 

I also agree we *should* have won Super Bowl XXV.

 

It's the only one of the 4 we should have won.

 

 

Lady luck was unkind in the other 3 to start the spirals...XXVI was the infamous helmet issue and a Kelly concussion to go along with no PI on Andre's routes [instead an unsportsmanlike on Reed]; XXVII was going great until Ken Norton Jr.'s cheap shot and our corners disappearing against Irvin/Harper; and XXVIII was being won into the 3rd quarter until Thurman's fumble...also, for each of these Super Bowls, the Bills either beat their opponent the year of or the following year to boot. My point is a few breaks go the other way and who knows? We've been catching those kind of breaks so far in these playoffs. Let's keep it going!!  

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