Buffalo was...well, Buffalo.
The Bills had a couple of AFL titles under their belt from the '60s, but since the league merger, they had not really found their niche. Buffalo lacked the history that Miami had.
That all changed when Jim Kelly came to town.
Heading into this Sunday, Buffalo is 30-16 against Miami since Jim Kelly got his first win against the Fins in 1987. That also includes Buffalo's 2-1 postseason record against Miami. Previous to Kelly, the Bills are just 7-34-1 against the Dolphins.
That's a lot of losing to one team.
The Miami-Buffalo rivalry in the '90s had all the things sports fans love. Two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Jim Kelly and Dan Marino, two teams that made perennial playoff appearances, two cities that are completely opposite from each other, and plenty of close, heated games.
So is the rivalry still alive? Do we still hate Miami?
Well, a lot of things have changed since Kelly and Marino. First of all, you can't find Jim Kelly's and Dan Marino's just anywhere. Both franchises have struggled to find their next great quarterback.
Both franchises have struggled this decade to become contending teams. Buffalo has not made the playoffs since 1999, while Miami has not gone to the postseason since 2001.
That's seven years since either team has had success.
It's hard to have hateful feelings towards a team when they stink. For most Bills fans, this decade has been filled with hatred for the New England Patriots, and why wouldn't it? New England has dominated Buffalo and the league for the last several years. Even as I write this, I am thinking about how much I want to beat the Patriots.
This Sunday, Buffalo goes into Miami with a 5-1 record and a good chance at making the playoffs. Miami comes in at 2-4, showing significant improvement over last season's squad that finished 1-15.
It's going to start off as Trent Edwards vs. Chad Pennington, but a strong part of me hopes Pennington leaves the game in favor of rookie quarterback, and the future of the franchise, Chad Henne. Ideally, Henne would come in early and play great and the Bills would win a close one.
This is not very likely, but the part of me that misses the days of Kelly and Marino wants Edwards and Henne to make some fireworks of their own.
So, this Sunday, as you watch the Bills-Dolphins game, hope for a great game with a lot of intensity from both teams. And as you look ahead to New England, remember, we hated the Miami Dolphins first.
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