Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly (Photo Source)
Ever wondered what it would look like to see the best Buffalo Bills of all-time lined up on the same field? Ever salivated at the thought of a dual-threat running back tandem of O.J. Simpson and Thurman Thomas? Today, Buffalo Rumblings sets out to get those dreams as close to reality as possible.
Today, we're starting a series (inspired by the folks over at Big Blue View) called "Best of the Bills Team", in which Rumblings readers will vote into prominence a 27-man roster (22 starters, K/P, 3 specialists) of Buffalo's best players of all-time. The Bills have a rich history and have had plenty of outstanding players don the red, white and blue; it's time that this blog community properly honor those players that made us fans in the first place.
Here's how this is going to work: for each position (we'll employ a 3-4 defense, for those wondering, and we'll do 3 receivers in lieu of a fullback unless there's dissenting opinion), y'all will vote for the one player you choose for single positions (like QB), or vote OFF players for multi-player positions (like WR). This will be an opportunity for us to debate as to who was the best player(s) at each position were for the Bills, enjoy the glory of yesteryear, and fill in the gap until training camp starts in July. We start with the quarterbacks. I've a feeling this discussion won't be as heated as some future ones. The candidates:
Jack Kemp ('62, '63-'69): Kemp, the only Bills quarterback to ever lead the franchise to a championship (he netted two, in '64 and '65), came from an era where quarterbacks played a much different role than they do today. Consider that Kemp won two championships and made six Pro Bowls as a Bill (earning First Team All-Pro once as a Bill as well) despite throwing 55 more interceptions than touchdowns - 77 to 132 - and finishing his Bills career with a QB rating of 55.8. Kemp was one of the better quarterbacks of his era, and was easily the best QB in Bills history until a certain #12 challenged him for that honor.
Joe Ferguson ('73-'84): Unlike the two men he competes against in this little exercise, Ferguson was Buffalo's quarterback during the dark years of the franchise. In his 12 seasons as Buffalo's starting quarterback, Ferguson performed admirably despite having little to no talent around him (O.J. Simpson not withstanding) - he threw for 27,590 yards as a Bill, as well as 181 touchdowns. He was a tough customer, as well - and continues to prove that today in his ongoing fight against cancer. He's under appreciated in Bills lore; he may not have been the greatest player, but he was a player fans could rally around. That's enough to make this list.
Jim Kelly ('86-'96): The most obvious name to make this list, Kelly quarterbacked the Bills to four straight Super Bowl berths, set many team passing records, made four Pro Bowls, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. One of the toughest players to ever play the game at his position, Kelly will always be remembered for that - as well as never winning the big game. As difficult a pill as it is to swallow that the team couldn't win one for Kelly, there's no mistaking that Kelly is one of the all-time great quarterbacks in league history, let alone franchise history. Stats include: 35,467 yards, 237 touchdowns, 84.4 career QB rating.
So let's hear it. Make arguments, vote, and have fun with this. And while you're at it, feel free to leave nominees for the wide receiver ballot, which will likely be publicly deliberated tomorrow afternoon.