Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has been naming "Mount Rushmore" groupings for each NFL team this off-season, essentially looking for the four most iconic figures from each franchise. His version for the Buffalo Bills leaves a little to be desired, however.
Florio starts with solid choices in Jim Kelly and O.J. Simpson. These two figures were first ballot Hall of Famers, and their fame went well beyond the 716 area code. These picks seem like no-brainers, and the fans agreed. I've often said Simpson would be a god in this town if not for his unfortunate fall from grace in the mid-1990s.
The third player on the list was running back Thurman Thomas. While Thomas is certainly a worthy candidate, he didn't make it on my ballot. He's not even the best running back in the team's history, and his fame doesn't reach nearly as far as those on my list.
PFT's final debate was between Bruce Smith and Andre Reed for the fourth spot. Florio chose Reed over the all-time NFL sack leader, while the fans rightfully disagreed. Smith - another first ballot Hall of Famer - is one of only two Bills that can be argued as the greatest ever to play their position (with Simpson being the other). Reed can't even get past the Canton voters, and is nowhere near the short list of greatest receivers to ever play the game. He has appeared in television shows and movies and national ad campaigns, and was the first overall pick in the draft. Choosing Reed over Smith is silly.
The fourth member of my list replacing Thomas would be between Ralph Wilson and Marv Levy. Being the team's only owner, Wilson has made a lasting impression on the AFL and NFL and has been visible enough to warrant consideration. In the end, I would pick Levy for the Bills' Mount Rushmore. During the 1990s Super Bowl run, he was front and center. His speeches are legendary, and he was a television analyst following his time on the sideline. He simply carries more recognizable clout than Thomas or Reed in my opinion.
So, Bills fans; who is on your Bills Mount Rushmore and why?