Even in defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs, I was very much impressed with Josh Allen, who has convinced me to ignore the Bills' 0-6 record in one-possession games (after that loss) moving forward next season.
I know the Buffalo Bills and their Bills’ Mafia fans thought this was the year for their team after losing in Kansas City last year by a 38-24 score. But there is a difference between disappointment and universe-shattering heartbreak.
The Bad Boy Detroit Pistons thought they learned how to win after hardships but they had to discover what true heartbreak felt like in 1987 when Isiah Thomas inbounded the ball back to Larry Bird in the Eastern Conference Finals to spoil what would have likely been a decisive road win in the Garden. Thomas and the Pistons responded by winning titles in '89 and '90 after losing the NBA Finals in Game 7 in '88
In appreciating of Allen, I quote the Buffalo Bills' section of Football Outsiders 2018 almanac as an illustration of what "the smartest guys in the analytics room" had spectacularly wrong back then: “(Brandon) Beane wouldn’t get into how his quarterback board looked in a post-draft press conference — a glaring tell that Allen wasn’t the No. 1 player at the position for him—but offered the boilerplate “he can make all the throws” nonsense that you’d have to believe to invest this pick in a player like Allen … The problem is that Allen isn’t even an accurate deep arm right now. He can throw a deep ball like Grandma can quit smoking any time she wants to … This is the blind leading the blind … It’s a shame that this offensive blueprint is so irresponsible because it’s erasing the good work that the Bills have done on defense and special teams … The Bills spent the middle of the summer filing a patent for the phrase “Respect the Process.” But they are asking us to respect their process when it’s conclusively not a good process … This process is just following conventional quarterback scouting wisdom and building to win in the 1980s … Ironically, snarky look-at-me rhetoric and potshots at establishment folks like Simms goes a long way in the world of "just trust the data."
That’s some good stuff from an “expert” who remains a regular at the football analytics him whose data ranked the Dallas Cowboys as the top team in the NFL entering this postseason (before losing unceremoniously at home to San Francisco).
The issue is not getting a few things wrong (we all do). But it was always an option to have reserved skepticism about Allen coming out of Wyoming. Wait for the data to develop. Nope, the above was another drop in the overreach of the Hot Take Industrial Complex. And I am a long-time customer who likes many of the regular contributors at Football Outsiders when I conduct my foundational work in July and August for all 32 NFL teams. But some of the writers advance some terrible arguments worthy of fading (and FO remains worse than a drunk monkey in the prediction game).
So, congratulations to Allen (and the Bills) despite their brutal loss to the Chiefs this season. And those in the analytics community might boost their credibility if they just owned up to their sensational failures, rather than punching up versus dudes like Phil Simms with devastatingly more accomplishments.
Best of luck — Frank.