Have you ever wondered what the greatest teams of all time would look like? Well look no further because throughout the offseason we will be going team by team, assembling the greatest teams of all time! One of the most dominate NFL teams in the 1990’s, the Buffalo Bills went to four straight Super Bowls and in total made the playoffs eight times from 1990-2000. Sit back and relax as we go over the players that made up those teams in 1990’s and also championship winning teams in the AFL days.
Quarterbacks: When you think Buffalo football immediately a picture of a frozen tundra appears, this is exactly what happened to the greatest quarterback of all time for the Bills. Jim Kelly is a nationwide inspiration for hope, but spent two seasons in the USFL with the Houston Gamblers before ever even stepping a foot in Buffalo. Of course then when he joined the team, success was nothing in question. Four straight Super Bowls, a feat that is impressive still to this day and will be hard to break, five time Pro Bowler, first ballot hall of fame. Jack Kemp is not a name to take lightly either! Third all time on the Bills passing yards chart in a time when passing wasn’t the norm, resilient playmaker who was extremely tough, and won the Bills their only two Championships (AFL).
Running Backs: Quiet and outspoken versus a national phenomenon who’s nickname is often the pun of a crime investigation. Together they combined for 10 Pro Bowls, 7 First Team All-Pro distinctions, two MVP trophies, and two golden Hall Of Fame jackets. That’s right, we are talking about Thurman Thomas and O.J. Simpson! From 1972 to 1976, we saw Simpson take the NFL by storm as put together an elusive 2,000-yard season, led the league in rushing four times and once led the league in points scored. Now as for Thomas, he was the backbone on the Bills teams that went to four straight Super Bowls. Thomas amassed eight 1,000-yard rushing campaigns in a row, highlighted by four-straight seasons leading the league in yards from scrimmage.
Wide Receivers: Loyalty is a often a trait in a person that goes without notice, but the NFL certainly never went without notice to Andre Reeds immaculate football ability. Over 15 seasons, Reed played in 221 games for the Bills, recorded 941 catches, 13,095 receiving yards and 86 receiving touchdowns, and from 1988 to 1994, was voted to seven Pro Bowls and was selected as a Second-Team All-Pro three times. You won’t ever see Reed mentioned among the greats, but he was truly underrated. Another highlight at wide receiver is Steve Tasker who wasn’t the most productive receiver, but made his living on special teams and helped the Bills many times in that department.
Offensive Line: Several Hall Of Famers are honored on this historic list of names. We have Billy Shaw, the only person in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who never played in the NFL. Shaw was a product of the AFL days, but still was honored with a golden jacket. We also have Joe DeLamielleure, yes try saying that name five times fast! As a lineman for the elusive O.J Simpson, he was selected to five Pro Bowl teams and was named First-Team All-NFL on three separate occasions. And who could forget one of the greatest guards in the 1990’s? Ruben Brown was selected to a remarkable eight-straight trips to Hawaii.
Defensive Line: One of the greatest defensive ends of all-time, Bruce Smith was the prototypical edge rusher before the position was at such a premium. He is the all time leader in sacks with 200, a true test of will, taking Smith 19 seasons to achieve. During his 15 seasons with the Bills, Smith notched double-digit sacks in all but three. Fred Smerlas played a pivotal role in taking the Bills from a sub-par NFL club to a contender. To show for his success, Smerlas has five Pro Bowl appearances and an All-Pro selection.
Linebackers: The conversation begins with Mike Stratton who throughout his 11 seasons with the Bills, played his way on to six AFL All-Star teams and won two championships. Between his big-hit abilities and knack for intercepting passes, Stratton always seemed in position to turn the tide of the game. This couldn’t be more evident than the 1964 AFL Championship Game which featured the “Hit Heard Around the World”. The hit came late in the final minutes of the game as Stratton annihilated Keith Lincoln which allowed the Bills to then run out the time and win their first ever Championship. Notably you must mention the underrated Darryl Talley, who Bills fans knew and loved for 12 straight seasons. During that time he never missed a single game which is mind-boggling for such a physically demanding sport. Additionally, Talley is the franchise leader in career tackles.
Secondary: Butch Byrd is a player who gets easily swept under the rug due to playing in a time when interceptions were a luxury. This isn’t because quarterbacks were more accurate in the 1960’s, but simply passing was not what it is today. Byrd is the franchise leader in interceptions with 40, he’s held that designation for nearly 50 years. George Saimes was a player who fell victim to the same problem as Byrd. Saimes finished his time in Buffalo with 22 interceptions, which is a number most look over when mentioning his name. Saimes’ honors include five AFL All-Star selections, five All-AFL honors and two championships.