In 2017, who would have thought that the Buffalo Bills’ first postseason appearance since 1999 would be a forecast of things to come? Since then, the Bills have qualified for the playoffs second time in three seasons under their current regime. All signs point to the team winning the AFC East title and becoming a higher seed playoff team once the tournament starts in January. To put things into perspective, teams not named the New England Patriots have not won the division since 2008.
The Bills could be the team that can put that drought to an end this Saturday when they take on the Denver Broncos. A victory tomorrow would award the Bills their first AFC East title since 1995. Before the New England Patriots got rolling in the early 2000s, it was the Buffalo Bills that owned the AFC East and the rest of the conference.
The franchise was once recognized as the blueprint for how a Super Bowl contender is supposed to be built. Before the advent of the hard salary cap, the Bills were one of those constructed through the draft. They could keep star players such as Bruce Smith, Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, James Lofton, and Andre Reed for most of their careers. But when free agency to hold back in the mid-90s, the Bills could not repeat their recipe for success.
The era of dominance that we witnessed throughout the 90s had lost its touch during the 2000s and the next decade. Since that time, the Bills have had numerous head coaches and general managers to oversee the franchise’s football operations side. What has been proven in today’s NFL is that the three most important components of a successful franchise are the head coach, the quarterback, and the general manager.
Without those three assets, an NFL team’s chances for success are slim. It’s just the harsh reality of the league right now. As for the Bills, they have finally found their three important components for success. After the 2017 season conclusion, the team decided to move on from long-time starting QB Tyrod Taylor and selected Josh Allen in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The team endured one-year of growing pains of Allen, which was the 2018 season. From that point forward, the Bills have found themselves in playoff contention. Their recent performances put the entire league on notice that they are back in the conversation of contending for a Super Bowl title. They have won six out of their last seven ball games. As previously stated, they will have an opportunity to win their first division title since 1995.
It all started in 2017 when current General Manager Brandon Beane decided to hire Sean McDermott to become the Bills, new head coach. They made the difficult decision to move on from Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback despite him leading the team to the playoffs in 2017. From that point forward, the Bills have not looked back as they continue to surround Josh Allen with elite talent on both sides of the football.
Others looking from the outside may view the decision to give up numerous draft picks in return for Stefon Diggs as a bit excessive. But if a team’s front office believes that they are one playmaker away from being elite, they should roll the dice and go for it. The Bills’ current resurgence shows exactly how to construct a successful NFL roster. Yet, for so many other teams, a simple concept has been difficult to grasp.
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