Marv Levy’s plans are set. When the Buffalo Bills visit the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday’s AFC Championship game (6:40 p.m., CBS), he’ll watch it on television from his home in Chicago.
Oh, yes, I intend to. Absolutely. I’m going to shoot for them and think about the fans and hope it goes well, Levy said.
I know how excited they must be. They’re fantastic. They are the best fans I have ever met. After we lost our first Super Bowl [in 1991] and they responded, I said: I’m not a football player: You are the reason we will make a big difference in our return to the Super Bowl. I have great admiration for him.
One of them is 95-year-old Levy, who last coached the Bills in an AFC championship game 27 years ago.
He’s not alone.
The Bills’ return to the top was met with enthusiasm and admiration by others who were on the 1993 team, including Bruce Smith, a member of the Professional Football Hall of Fame.
BRUUUUUUUUUUUCE !!! #GoBillsMafia pic.twitter.com/iXHgugldeM
– Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 17, 2021
Former Bills linebacker Cornelius Bennett, 55, joins Smith in his abundance about what happened. He sees a clear link between the 1993 team and the current team.
We were a tight-knit group of characters known to enjoy each other’s company, as these kids seem to do now – when you see them interacting on the sidelines or dancing to music, Bennett says. As far as coming together and changing the mindset of the team, that’s one of the biggest things I’ve noticed.
Bennett played for Buffalo from 1987-95, a vital cog in the wheel for teams that reached the Super Bowl four years in a row and lost each time – before moving on to the Atlanta Falcons (1996-98) and the Indianapolis Stallions (1999-00). He was talking about the bills: I definitely declare them my team.
Bennett has lived in South Florida for 20 years and says of himself that he enjoys the fruits of his labor while serving his church. Through social media, he can easily connect with Bills fans.
Meanwhile, Steve Tasker (1986-97), a seven-time Pro Bowl special teams member, remained in western New York after the game, as did Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. For example, Tasker feels that the current success of the bills reflects what he experienced in 1993.
I was lucky enough to be in a town where everyone was coming back.
Bills Hall of Famer @JimKelly1212 explains why he never left Buffalo, even after all these years. #BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/1rapxUB5n3
– Beyond the Lines (@OTLonESPN) December 28, 2020
For a region that has been hit by this [coronavirus pandemic] for 10-11 months, it’s a pretty bright light at the end of the tunnel. It was an absolute lifeline for the emotional health of the entire area, said Tasker, 58, a former CBS analyst who works at WGR’s local radio and television station.
It’s the only thing that gives people a reason to get up in the morning. It’s deep, and it’s pretty cool to see. The fans in the stadium are very happy for this team right now, and I know everyone is too.
Many Bills fans have noted that there is another link between the 1993 team and this year’s team.
Not only did the Bills last face the Chiefs in the AFC championship game (30-13 win in Buffalo), but the 1993 team had a similar experience, losing to Kansas City earlier in the season.
They hit us hard, Tasker said of the game, in which the Chiefs, led by Joe Montana, were defeated in the 28th. November 1993 with 23:7. We were embarrassed.
Of course, this year’s Bills team lost to the Chiefs, who hosted the tournament, 26-17 in October. Gambling is a hot topic these days. Coach Sean McDermott and the players asked reporters many questions about how the Bills have evolved since then.
Can the 2020 Bills resemble those of 1993 and come back with a victory over the leaders?
Former Buffalo defender Cornelius Bennett is a member of this year’s team: We were a close-knit group of characters known to enjoy each other’s company as much as these kids [of Team 2020] seem to enjoy it now. AP Photo/Charles Agel
It was a relief to play there against two of the greatest offensive players of all time, Bennett said, referring to Montana and fullback Marcus Allen. The other day I was telling someone that it’s cool that they’re going to Kansas City, it reminds me a lot of 1993 and the championship, but [ours] was in Buffalo.
While this is a striking similarity to Graduate Bills, there are other important differences.
This team, unlike the one in 1993, is at the beginning of an era, not the end, Tasker said. The 1993 team had four or five members of the Hall of Famers. With this team, that may be true for some of these guys, but we don’t know who they are yet.
Levy, who is in the Hall of Famers, has developed a bond with McDermott, who at 46 is in his fourth year of coaching with the Bills.
He’s great. We had a little talk. He’s a William and Mary guy, and I’ve always had a lot of respect for the guys I coached at William and Mary [1964-68] for five years, many years ago. They are the essence of a student-athlete, Levy said.
All I know is that when he talks to her, he wants to be prepared, it’s not just fire and brimstone and pep talks. The important thing is to be prepared.
– Previews of the
Conference Championship – Match schedules of the four teams
– Schedules, brackets, TV time.
Levy adds that he doesn’t know the Bills’ staff as well as he used to, but quarterback Josh Allen is great, especially when associated with a receiver like [Stephon] Diggs.
Allen, in his third season in the NFL, is looking to replace Kelly, a member of the Professional Football Hall of Fame who remains a legend in western New York City. As for the similarities between the two, Tasker says: Big help. But Jim never used Josh’s ability to run. We teased Jim about his inability to be an athlete.
Allen’s transformation is at the heart of how Tasker defines the current team.
You tie him up. Josh is a very talented quarterback – athletic, with a good arm, he’s very smart. He’s been committing this offense for three years and it shows. He has made an incredible leap in his game this year. The guys around him love him, he’s a fighter. According to Tasker, it boosts the morale of the entire team when the most important player is Josh.
Stephon Diggs is playing like he is, the offensive line is solid, and I think this team has a lot of confidence in what they need to do and in their ability to do it.
If they manage to beat the Chiefs like they did in 1993 and qualify for the Super Bowl, Bennett has an idea of what it will look like in Western New York. After all, he lived it 27 years ago.
What if they end up winning the Super Bowl?
Wow! I hope to celebrate with them in some way, Mr Bennett said. I’d like to say Buffalo Bills are world champions. I mean, come on.