Brady is off to the NFC South to explore a new path, and this leaves the throne for the AFC East unoccupied for the first time in what feels like a lifetime.
The New AFC East
As you all have seen, the three other teams in the AFC East have started to smell the blood in the water for the past couple of seasons. The Bills, Jets, and Dolphins have seen Brady’s decline in play and started to gather up what they can do to take and secure the top spot in the division for seasons to come. Over the past two seasons, the Bills have been developing their young quarterback, Josh Allen, while also surrounding him with weapons and other assets to bring The Process into full form.
With the new trade for star wide receiver Stefon Diggs, this officially puts the Buffalo Bills offense on the map. Diggs, Brown, and Beasley are an elite wide receiver trio that is going to be a nightmare for opposing defenses. But the Bills are not the only team that made splashes in free agency. The Miami Dolphins, who had the largest amount of cap to spend this offseason, acquired themselves a good number of playmakers from free agency.
Players like Kyle Van Noy, Byron Jones, even our former Defensive End Shaq Lawson are now playing against the Bills new offense, twice a year. And with a lot of mock drafts saying they’re looking at Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick, along with two more first-round draft picks, Miami is setting themselves up for the division title as well.
Joe Marino vs. Jim Kelly
The Buffalo-Miami rivalry was born when the Bills finally beat the Dolphins in September of 1980 after suffering an entire decade of losses to them. This is also where Bills Mafia was born; after the game, the good people of Buffalo tore down the field goal post. This then led to the back and forth, gunslinging battles between Dan Marino and Jim Kelly.
The Kelly-Marino rivalry, and subsequently the Buffalo-Miami rivalry, was one of the biggest rivalries to watch back in the day. I asked fans that had seen them play each other in the 90s what it was like to see those two Hall of Fame QBs go at it. Some said it was “like watching Manning vs Brady twice a year,” another said it was “a tough gunslinger vs one of the most accurate quarterbacks of all time.” Many people who swear by stats would say that Marino put up better numbers throughout their careers, but Jim Kelly held an 11-7 record against Marino in the regular season and won all three playoff meetings that they had against each other.
The Perfect Rivalry
The fact of the matter is, these two teams are looking like they are finally preparing for a division title at the same time yet again. This might be the rivalry resurrection that fans and the NFL are looking for! Two polar opposite franchises going at it once again. One fanbase wearing polo shirts under the sunshine and palm trees and the other “slamming brews, smoking Marb Reds and wearing Carhartt jackets in a blizzard,” as one fan put perfectly “the players hated each other. The fans hated each other. Every game mattered for 10 years.” If that doesn’t get your blood pumping, I honestly don’t know what will!
These teams just didn’t like each other, man. From jawing at each other on the field, to sending t-shirts to opposing teams encouraging them to beat their rival, anything they could do to get under each other’s skin. Some stories that I was told from members of Bills Mafia just make me so proud to be a part of such a badass group of individuals. Before we started to jump on flaming tables, some fans made the rivalry between fanbases thrive by driving over dead fish in the parking lot of The Ralph, making parodies of Miami’s fight song, and even getting themselves kicked out of restaurants for spitting on Brian Cox jerseys! It’s upsetting that we now only need to mention how empty their stadium is to get Miami fans all riled up.
This is it, Bills Mafia! Like I stated before, the throne for the AFC East is FINALLY unoccupied, so now is the time for us to earn it! Be ready for this revival! Be ready to bring the craziness, even MORE than past seasons! Let’s chug some cases of Labatts, slam through some folding tables, and BRING HOME THE DIVISION TITLE!
P.S. Don’t listen to any criticism from the Miami Fans in the media (looking at you, LeBetard *middle finger*)!