One of the problems Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had to limit on his way to his MVP-caliber season in 2020 was his “hero ball” tendency. In his rookie season, especially, he tried to do too much instead of placing more trust in his teammates. It’s something he’s still working on this offseason with his personal coach, Jordan Palmer, and his ability to focus and calm has been a focal point for the duo.
“Back in the day I tried to play pissed off on the field and I found myself not playing very well, tensed up. Now, whether it be small things like listening to calming music pregame, to not be so hyped and anxious for the game,” said Allen, per Peter King of NBC Sports.
It’s especially interesting considering Allen’s breakout season came in a year where Bills fans were largely absent from the stands. None of the team’s regular-season games had fans, the home playoff games were extremely limited in seating, and the road games were under capacity, as well, thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. If fans were understandably contributing to his hype, this is the perfect element of his game to work on before they come back.
At Wyoming, Allen would often have to put the team squarely on his shoulders. His early Bills teams were a bit the same way, especially in his rookie season. There is a talented roster now, and Hero Josh doesn’t need to be there week in, week out and play in, play out. It’s reminiscent of a QB Allen has been compared to in the past and as the quarterback for the Bills—that being Brett Favre.
“Just trying not to be a hero,” Allen said. “Trust in the guys on the field with me, trust in the play calls, and not try to do too much and I think that’s something that I kind of had in my rookie year was trying to play hero-ball and it’s something I’ve been working on. I’ve got an extreme amount of trust in the guys on the field with me, with coach Dabs [offensive coordinator Brian Daboll], and the relationship we have with calling plays and us going out and executing. So I’m in a really good spot mentally with that and I feel like I’m getting better every day with that.”
A deliberate Allen can be surgical and feed off energy of the crowd, not emotion. It’s just another step in his growth mindset with Palmer.