Josh Allen’s rookie season has been one of the major stories of the year. He has been the talk of the league, not just because of his success on the field, but for his approach to the game. His ability to win games under pressure, or when the team is down is the best trait in the NFL. And, in the process, have developed a reputation as being a team player who is well liked by his teammates.
Since the 1990s, the Buffalo Bills have been one of the biggest underdogs in the NFL. It’s not just the team’s history of losing that’s impressive, it’s the fact that they’ve always held their heads high even in the face of criticism.
When Josh Allen was drafted by the Buffalo Bills, there was a great deal of skepticism, largely stemming from the fact that the Bills had drafted a quarterback in the first round only once in the last 20 years, and that was when they took EJ Manuel four picks ahead of Allen in 2013. A year later, Manuel was out of the league, while Allen was competing to be the Bills starting quarterback.. Read more about josh allen and let us know what you think.
6 a.m. ET
ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques
NEW YORK — BUFFALO, N.Y. — These aren’t the same Buffalo Bills who haven’t made the NFL playoffs in 17 years; in fact, if you believe them, they aren’t even the same Buffalo Bills that won the AFC East last season and advanced to the conference championship game.
The Bills have created an identity around proving their critics wrong under coach Sean McDermott, which was an easy sell to a squad full of players who had been cut or moved and coaches who had been dismissed or overlooked.
Who, though, doubts the Bills in 2021?
Only the most ardent skeptics doubted quarterback Josh Allen’s ability to repeat his MVP runner-up performance from last season, and Buffalo is the betting favorite to win its second consecutive division title. The Buffalo Bills are the third-best bet to win Super Bowl LVI, behind only the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers from previous season.
Within the boundaries of One Bills Drive, though, the transformation from underdog to favorite has not happened. Not after leaving so many boxes unchecked last season.
“Our players realize that accomplishing something once doesn’t make you a great team,” stated Brandon Beane, general manager of the Buffalo Bills. “If you’re fortunate once, you’re good twice.” You have to back it up if you want to be a constant competitor. So, last year, we spoke about wanting to win the division so that we could host [playoff] games here. Not only did we get to host one, but we got to host two.
The Bills, led by Josh Allen, are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl this season. Associated Press/Jeffrey T. Barnes
“Even though last year was a success, we still fell short of several of our goals. So, in my view, we’re still hunting until you win it. Will people be on the lookout for us? Yes, we’ll start with our division. Our men, I believe it begins with Sean, play with a chip. He performs an excellent job. Our players sense that he teaches with a chip, that he goes around the hallways with a chip.”
It’s easy for McDermott to remain grounded in this league since he’s seen just about everything but a Super Bowl win. He lost one as an assistant with the Carolina Panthers in 2015, when they went 15-1 but were defeated in Super Bowl 50 by quarterback Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
The next season, Carolina went 6-10, but McDermott has yet to see a drop like that in Buffalo. With the exception of a one-game dip in 2018, the Bills have improved each year under his leadership. It would be a remarkable achievement to do so this season after winning 13 games in 2020.
“Sustaining success is one of the most difficult things to accomplish,” McDermott remarked. “I’ve seen it everything.” It’s something I’ve seen. It’s evident not just in the teams I’ve been a member of and learned from, but also in other teams. The NFL is designed for parity, so that’s how it works. A team may be successful one year, but not the next. That has been the message since about a month after the season ended.
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“To control oneself, you must have sufficient self-awareness. If being recognized was the objective, then we may have succeeded. This is, however, a new season. As I’ve said many times, this is a new squad. We have to appreciate the process while being modest and eager, because if we don’t, this league will catch up to us quickly.”
This message comes from McDermott, but Allen, the Bills’ $258 million quarterback who signed a six-year contract this summer, emphasizes it.
Last season, Allen established single-season club marks in many passing statistics, throwing for 4,544 yards and 45 touchdowns (37 passing, eight rushing). However, he and his teammates could not live up to those expectations in the AFC Championship Game defeat to the Chiefs (28 for 48, 287 yards, two TD passes, one INT).
Indeed, the Bills approached the offseason with a feeling of urgency, not complacency, as a result of their performance.
“I know a lot of men still have that sour taste in their mouths, and it’s driving them crazy,” Allen added. “That’s how I feel personally… we didn’t do enough last year to get the job done, so let’s find a way to do better this year and approach it that way.”
“I have the same attitude and mentality as someone who has a chip on their shoulder. Not long ago, I was in junior college. So it’s a wonderful sensation to be seated where I am right now. However, winning championships is the name of the game. We won’t stop until we get there, whether it’s on the field, in the weight room, or in the conference rooms, all in the sake of being the best we can be and giving ourselves a shot.”
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