Hidden below the surface of the Buffalo Bills’ tour of exacting revenge this season against every team the franchise fell to in the Super Bowl lies a familiar foe ripe for some Bills retribution. The New England Patriots, AFC representatives of the last three Super Bowls, have a very realistic chance at making it four in a row this season. As such, 2019 could have huge playoff implications for the Bills even if they aren’t part of the tournament.
Most Bills fans old enough to remember those amazing Super Bowl seasons hold tight to the fact that no other NFL team has ever made it to four championships in a row. It’s a legacy now nearly a quarter century old. It’s a feat perhaps even more special than the one those 1973 Dolphins crack bottles of champagne over every season. Because of its significance, the 2019 Bills find themselves in a unique situation: spoilers before the season even begins.
The chance to prevent the Patriots from going back for a fourth time in a row begins in Week 1, when the Bills travel to face the New York Jets. Win there and it give the Bills a leg up within the division, especially if the Miami Dolphins and Jets are able to defeat New England prior to their Week 4 match-up with Buffalo.
The Bills must defeat the Patriots that first month, when they may be a vulnerable opponent. Should the Bills win and deal New England its third loss within the division—it could prove a truly lethal blow almost out of the gate. When Week 16 comes around, the Patriots could be one of two things: a completely wounded soldier just trying to survive the last few games of the year, or primed to yet again represent the AFC East in the playoffs. Should the Bills win in at Gillette Stadium late in December, it’s quite possible the team becomes the impetus to preventing the New England Patriots from four-peating in the big game.
Adding insult to injury, by sweeping New England, the Bills could find themselves going in place of the Patriots—something i’m sure almost every New England fan would tell you seems stranger than fiction. Yes, winning cures all that ails an NFL team, but should the season get away from the Bills early, they may still be able to help secure the four-in-a-row-legacy and prevent the Patriots from joining their rarefied air. New England holds almost every other measure of excellence in the league and it would sicken most Bills fans if they had to step aside from them for this, too. It’s not hard to imagine the Bills conveniently getting lost in any future discussion about going to four Super Bowls in a row should the Patriots manage to do it.
If this all sounds petty and soaked in an inability to get beyond a milestone old enough to receive an insurance discount, I won’t argue with you too much. Still, i’m sure most fans will let out huge sighs of relief once Tom Brady and Bill Belichick decide to retire. Their successes against the Bills may well be unmatched in all of professional sports. The duo is 30-3 against Buffalo THIS century. Brady is the first quarterback since the AFL/NFL merger to beat a single opponent 30 times (coincidentally, Brady holds the second spot with 27 wins against the Jets). So yes, it seems very relevant to want revenge on the Patriots more than ever this season and, in doing so, use it as a dual catapult to lift the Bills to the playoffs and launch the Patriots home for the New Year.
Never before has a Buffalo Bills team had the opportunity to ruin history for the New England Patriots like they do this season. Let’s hope Sean McDermott, Josh Allen, and the rest of the team are able to capitalize on that chance, and that the Patriots never find themselves steps from another shot at the honor. Cheers to the beginning of the end of 21st-century Patriots dominance!