If you’re like me, I’m sure other Bills fans in Western New York can’t wait to show Patrick Mahomes what home-field advantage looks like for playoff football in Buffalo. For the first time in his career, in a game that isn’t a neutral-site Superbowl, Mahomes will leave the confines of Arrowhead Stadium and venture north into Orchard Park for a Divisional Round matchup.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of games at home at Arrowhead Stadium,” Mahomes said. “But now we have a great opportunity to go on the road, play in a hostile environment, one where I haven’t been able to play with fans in the stands. Even though I know it’s going to be hostile and there are going to be people talking trash, I’m excited for it because it’s one of the best environments in football, and you want to do that when you grow up watching these games, play in the best environment and see what it’s like.”
Bills Mafia will have to bring their best Sunday night. Mahomes is still a road warrior, compiling a 38-11 record on the road in his career. Now is the chance to finally show him what Buffalo in January is really like.
But, while Bills fans are patiently waiting for a chance to show Mahomes what a hostile place Highmark Stadium can be during a football game, I wanted to look back at the last time KC came to Buffalo.
2014 Buffalo Bills
Oh were Bills fans taken for a ride in 2014. It started out as a special year, as it was the first season in which the franchise was not owned by Ralph Wilson Jr. Terry Pegula took over and promised fans he’d keep the franchise in Buffalo. Boy did he go on a wild ride as he embarked on his first season as co-owner with his wife Kim Pegula. Coached by Doug Marrone, this edition of the Buffalo Bills made fans go bonkers in many ways.
Led by second-year QB EJ Manuel, Buffalo started hot winning their first two games. Then after losing their next two, Marrone had seen enough of Manuel, and brought in journeyman and fan favorite quarterback Kyle Orton. The “gunslinger” Orton would go on to win seven of the next 12 games.
One game he lost over this span was a Week 8 game to the Chiefs. The box score is laughable compared to this current version of these teams. The 17-13 Chiefs win was very anti-climatic. Chris Hogan, Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith were the only touchdown scores in this snoozer — one that would come back to bite Buffalo’s playoff chances.
The team stayed competitive until the 8-6 Bills lost a heartbreaker to the 2-12 then Oakland Raiders, knocking Buffalo out of playoff contention.
After winning a meaningless game against the 12-win New England Patriots, (who would go on to win another Super Bowl that year) The Bills would finish with a 9-7 record — the best in a season for the franchise since 2004.
Concluding the season, Doug Marrone would accept a buyout to leave the team. A buyout that was triggered because of a clause in his contract offering Marrone an out if the team’s ownership changed hands. Marrone would depart swiftly, only offering a text message to the players he led to the best record the Bills had seen in a decade.
We’ve come a long way since these dark days. Let’s look back at 2014, and where some of our favorite current Buffalo Bills were that year.
Josh Allen, circa 2014
Bills Mafia’s QB 1 was taking the long road to the NFL in 2014. Allen played for Reedley College, a Junior College (JUCO) in California. In his only season with Reedley, Allen led an offense that averaged 452.2 yards per game to rank ninth among all California junior-college teams in total offense. Reedley averaged 285.3 passing yards per game to rank seventh among all California junior colleges, scored 39.4 points per game to rank 10th in the state, and averaged 166.9 yards rushing to rank 26th. Individually, Allen’s 26 touchdown passes tied him for seventh among all California junior-college quarterbacks in 2014. He also ranked 20th among California JUCO quarterbacks in passing yards as a freshman, and ranked 42nd in the state in rushing, averaging 66.0 yards per game
Stefon Diggs, circa 2014
Diggs was in his final season at Maryland during 2014, and of course was doing Stefon Diggs things. Diggs played in 10 games but again missed time due to injury. He earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and was named an honorable mention All-Big Ten honoree by the media. He led the team in receptions with 62, receiving yards with 792, and receiving touchdowns with five all in 10 games.
Dalton Kincaid, circa 2014
In 2014, Kincaid was 14 years old. The young man didn’t play football then, but was a big-time basketball player. He compared his game on the hardwood not to a Steph Curry or LeBron James, but rather Shane Battier.
“No stats, sets the screens, gets rebounds, takes changes, doing the little stuff and I’ve always loved nothing more than assisting my teammates,” said Kincaid.
He didn’t play football until his friends decided to peer-pressure him his senior year to sign up. It worked out well for him to listen to his buddies.
Failing to find a photo of a 14-year-old Dalton Kincaid, there is this old tweet of his showcasing him slam-dunking on some dude.
Pop Culture, circa 2014
Anyone remember the ice bucket challenge to raise money for ALS? That was quite the rage in 2014. Many of those videos were taken on the newly released iPhone 6 that year. “Grand Theft Auto V” was the best-selling video game of the year, “Transformers: Age of Extinction” the number-one movie and the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams was atop the charts for 2014.
Remember those Super Bowl-winning Patriots? Twenty-fourteen was the year of the deflate gate scandal, showing the pettiness of Tom Brady and Bill Belechick.
Finally, The Buffalo Sabres were in the middle of their tank, which still hasn’t produced a playoff season... ten years later.
What a time. 2014.