Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is among the most-loyal Buffalo Bills supporters. He’s seen as an icon in Western New York and is the representation of the glory days that have long since passed in Buffalo.
With his former Bills squad missing the playoffs for a 17th consecutive season, Kelly had an interesting take on what it would require for Buffalo to get back into the postseason.
Jim Kelly, on ESPN's NFL Insiders, on what it will take to snap Buffalo's streak of 17 years without playoffs: "Tom Brady's gotta retire."
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 4, 2017
This might very well have been tongue-in-cheek, but it’s still mildly interesting. It’s not a coincidence that Buffalo’s playoff drought has coincided with the Patriots’ dominating run in the AFC East over the better part of the past 20 years. When other teams in this division are always playing second-fiddle to Tom Brady’s squad, it severely limits their path to the playoffs.
But the Bills’ lack of success has a lot more to do with their own inability to build a sustainable organizational environment more than anything else. Buffalo just recently fired head coach Rex Ryan after less than two seasons with the team. Ryan represented Buffalo’s eighth head coach since the team last played meaningful January football.
Equally as important, it seems that the team’s front office is a hot mess. Ryan was fired in large part due to his preference for Tyrod Taylor under center. Taylor was then benched the same day Ryan was fired. At that point, interim head coach Anthony Lynn indicated he did not play a role in Taylor’s benching. Now seen as a front runner for the full-time coaching job in Buffalo, Lynn is currently pursuing other possibilities.
That’s the issue here. The Bills simply don’t have an environment that creates a winning culture. Heck, Sammy Watkins focused primarily on this when asking questions about the Ryan firing.
So while Brady and the Pats have surely played a role in Buffalo’s near two-decade long string of irrelevance, it’s the Bills that have made themselves irrelevant. That’s what Kelly seems to be missing here.