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There will always be Patrick Mahomes in the AFC standing in front of Allen and the Bills. Just as there was Dan Marino and Warren Moon in the AFC during Kelly’s best seasons.
Allen does things Kelly could never do. He’s already run for 1,562 yards in three seasons: Kelly rushed for 1,049 in his career.
Allen has run for 25 touchdowns already. Kelly ran for seven in his entire career.
Kelly came to the Bills at the age of 26, when he had already played two seasons in the USFL for the Houston Gamblers. Allen was 22 years old when he began starting for Buffalo, an erratic kid with arms and legs flailing in all directions, a quarterback inside of him in need of coaching and teaching and smoothing out to reach this remarkable level. He is in an MVP conversation not far behind Aaron Rodgers and Mahomes, two of the five most creative quarterbacks ever to play.
Kelly’s Buffalo teams were extraordinary, not just for getting to four straight Super Bowls, but for the collection of talent that couldn’t exist in today’s salary-capped world. He had an all-time great, Thurman Thomas, in the backfield, and a Hall of Fame wideout in Andre Reed and a defence that included Bruce Smith, Cornelius Bennett and Darryl Talley. It was a team really had everything but a ring.
Josh Allen has backs you might not know and an absolute gem of a receiver in Stefon Diggs. I could argue that Allen and Diggs surpass everything that was Kelly and Reed already, only that would be premature and disrespectful. There is no Smith on the Bills defensive line, no Bennett at linebacker. No Thomas anywhere to be found.
But they have Allen, who has already orchestrated a 13-win season, passed and ran for more yards than Kelly ever managed, and thrown for more touchdowns this season than Kelly ever did. He is 24 years old.
In Super Bowl XXV, the Bills went 1-for-8 in third-down conversions against the Giants. That never would have happened if they’d had a quarterback like the explosive Josh Allen back then.