Super Bowl week is here. For many fans of the Buffalo Bills this is a time and place many of us feel like we don’t belong—but it wasn’t always that way. The AFC of the early nineties belonged to Buffalo. While fans today immerse themselves in hope, fans of The Super Bills knew confidence. The years between have faded that feeling for those of us old enough to remember. For another generation of fans, it’s something they’ve never known.
As our collective spirit has waned, we have learned the art of debate and focused it inward. Though we seem divided, know that even in argument we remain one. We may see different paths but the passion to return to the days of dominance unifies. Come step inside our time machine. As we view the past, know too that this can be the future.
They say that the best players give their best performances on the biggest stage. Some might chalk this play up to luck. What I see is a Hall of Fame quarterback throwing a hell of a ball. I see a Hall of Fame receiver having the presence of mind to track and catch that ball after it was tipped by a tremendous defensive effort. I see an offensive line giving the time to make it all work. Luck? No. Twenty-two of the best players giving a performance for the ages. Jim Kelly. James Lofton. Sixty-one yards at the top of their game.
There are moments in every week that show the tremendous effort and ability of our favorite athletes. At the Super Bowl these moments are at every turn. For the viewer at home, this is a quick hesitation for Andre Reed. In the mind of Reed, it’s likely the universe held it’s breath. A broken tackle. A bone-jarring hit. Twenty yards across the biggest stage. The universe exhales.
Don Smith would spend one year with the Buffalo Bills. One year as a kick returner. One year as a backup to an all-time great. Yet none of those things could ever be paired with the word “just.” Not on this team. Not “just” a kick returner. Not “just” a backup. These Bills expected excellence. Don Smith would get one carry in his one Super Bowl appearance. For one yard. One touchdown. One story that lives on.
Individual moments can appear as a lifetime while games and years go by in a flash. The game of football can transcend time. Fourteen yards is a moment and an eon. It’s been 28 years since Thurman Thomas weaved his way downfield through a tapestry of beautiful carnage as the Bills reached their first Super Bowl. But for those of watching at the time, it’s been only an instant.
Relentless. The Buffalo Bills would appear in four consecutive Super Bowls. “Relentless” is the reason why. An entire team that pushed through pain. Pushed through defeat. Week after week. Year after year. And Bruce Smith was the personification of relentless.
These days are past. These days can also be ahead. As one season closes, we dream of the next. Dream big Bills fans.