“What If” – Super Bowl XXV / 2021 AFC Divisional

July 5, 2022
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“Super Bowl champion Buffalo Bills.” The history of the Buffalo Bills is one of strife and struggle as fans know well. The pattern of Bills’ history has held pretty steadily — periods of poor or below-average play followed by periods of varying degrees of success. With the exception of the earliest days of the AFL, the periods in which the team has found success have seen them come up just short of the ultimate goal of winning Super Bowls.

But what if the history of the team looked a bit differently? What if, say, a moment or two of history had gone a different way? What if the Bills had a Super Bowl title or two to their franchise name instead the infamous 0-4 record in the big game? How might certain players in team history be viewed differently than they are now?

“47 Wide Right”

Imagine that Scott Norwood makes that 47-yard field goal and the Bills win Super Bowl XXV 22-20 over the New York Giants. This immediately transforms Norwood into a franchise hero and a Super Bowl icon. It also improves the standing of the franchise from a historical perspective. Having even one Super Bowl makes you look vastly superior to having none. Currently, the franchise is tied with Minnesota for the most Super Bowl appearances without a win with four.

With that made field goal, Minnesota holds this standing on their own. But a victory over New York in Super Bowl XXV would’ve been even sweeter because of the game’s historical standing. It’s widely considered to be one of the best Super Bowls ever played. In this, you’re also giving Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, and Bruce Smith Super Bowl rings to add to their Hall of Fame resumés.

Does 47 Wide Right being corrected change the route of the Bills over years? How might this have impacted the psyche of the franchise?

Still Not Over It

Imagine that Kansas City doesn’t win the coin toss in overtime of the 2021 AFC Divisional round. The Bills get the ball and Josh Allen and Gabriel Davis take the offense right back into the end zone one more time. The Chiefs hadn’t stopped them all game, how would they have been able to do it then? The Bills then face off in the AFC Championship against Cincinnati.

Do the Bengals hold the Bills scoreless in the second half of the game the way they did the Chiefs? I think I know Bills Mafia’s answer. The Bills scored much higher than the Bengals on practically every advanced offensive measurement in 2021. Considering the kind of roll the Bills were on in the 2021 postseason, it’s conceivable the team could’ve played with Los Angeles in the Super Bowl.

Bottom Line – Dedicated Fanbase

The fact of the matter is the Bills are a couple of moments in their history going differently away from having all-time respectability they don’t have right now. But we live in the real world, and in the real world, the Bills have earned the historical reputation that they have. And I feel no worse about them, personally, because of their historical shortcomings. If anything, in a strange way, this actually makes me feel better about them.

It can be entertaining to think about how things could’ve gone differently for the Bills. But I know that when I write for this online community that the people who read my writings are fans of the team and have been for a while. One thing is for sure when it comes to teams that don’t have a reputation as big winners — they don’t have a great deal of fair weather and bandwagon fans. If you’re a fan of this team, you’re a fan of this time. You’re not a fan of the latest hot commodity.

Onward – 2022

That’s ultimately what makes the Bills so special. The Patriots, the Chiefs, the Cowboys, the Steelers, etc., all have a huge bandwagon dragging behind them at all times. The Bills don’t. That’s why the road to a Super Bowl in 2022 is so thrilling and meaningful to this fanbase. I’m very proud of that.

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