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Why you should root for the Buffalo Bills

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Interested in rooting for one of the NFL's 32 teams -- but don't know where to start? Adam Rank has you covered with this series, which will present a handy guide to becoming an instantly rabid fan of each organization in the league. Below, find out why you should root for the Buffalo Bills.

What you need to know so you don't sound stupid

The Buffalo Bills went to four consecutive Super Bowls the early '90s. FOUR. Only one other team has been to three in a row (the 1970s Dolphins). Hitting four straight Super Bowl Sundays is one of the most amazing feats in sports. Bravo, Bills. The only problem: They lost all four times. Four trips to the big game -- zero Lombardi Trophies to show for it.

And I've long thought about what that would be like. I mean, I went through four years of high school without a girl talking to me. But this seems like something else. And my two older sisters were much older than me. Speaking of my formative years, I remember one time the parents took us to Disneyland because my dad's company had bought out the place. It was cool, except for one thing: I wasn't tall enough to ride the cool [stuff] like Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Star Tours. While my dad was taking my sisters on those rad rides, my mom was trying to convince me to go on Small World. (And if you know anything about me, you know I not only refused to ride Small World, but also vowed to never (and I mean NEVER) ride Small World in my life. A vow I kept until I stated taking my daughter, Ahsoka, to Disneyland.)

So now, anytime I'm in the same space as Jim Kelly, I can look him in the eye and commiserate with him. For I, too, wanted to shout, "I'm going to Disneyland!" ... but instead, was forced to ride the teacups.

All that being said, it's still a remarkable achievement. When you look at Pro Football Reference and you see the four straight AFC championships, it just jumps out at you. I remember being a kid at the time listening to radio hosts like Jim Rome make fun of the Bills for their futility. Which seems pretty ridiculous. I would like to believe more people have an appreciation for it now. Like "Shawshank Redemption" or something. That movie opened up at No. 9 at the box office and then disappeared. Now it's one of the most beloved movies of all time. The movie didn't change, but it became (properly) appreciated over time.

The Bills of the 1990s are similar. Folks looking back in hindsight can appreciate what Buffalo was able to accomplish. Think about teams with a Super Bowl hangover. Look at the Panthers last season. The Bills had to overcome that three times and still were able to push through. This should be celebrated more. The Bills need more credit for this.

The comeback

Oh, yeah -- the 1992 AFC wild-card game against the Houston Oilers. The greatest comeback in NFL history. With Pro Bowl QB Jim Kelly sidelined by a knee injury suffered in the regular-season finale, the Bills fell behind 35-3. Then backup QB Frank Reich caught fire and the rest is history.

Now, obviously, people talk about this comeback, and it was an amazing feat. But still, you really need to think about this to truly appreciate it. The Bills had lost back-to-back Super Bowls. Lost the division to the Dolphins. They were down by 32 points in the third quarter. If there was ever a time to pack it in, this was it. Nobody would have blamed them. But they still managed to rally and win this game and move on to the Super Bowl. I'm telling you: The 1990s Bills were great.

Since we're talkin' Bills pluckiness ...

... let's take a look at Don Beebe stripping the ball from Leon Lett. The Bills were well on their way to a third straight Super Bowl loss, getting absolutely manhandled by the Cowboys. You have to admire this:

Way overrated

Rex Ryan. Wow, I thought this was going to be a really great signing. He seemed like such a good fit for the Bills. Props to the kids who crushed me on Twitter for thinking that. You were right, I was wrong. You are smart, I am not. You're all good-looking, I'm not an attractive person.

Moving on

It's a new day in Buffalo, as the Bills hired Sean McDermott to lead the team. I'm a huge fan. Mostly because I like to support all of the balds. We lost one when Gus Bradley was sacked in Jacksonville. So I'm glad we were able to keep on with McDermott.

This was a solid hire. He did great work in Carolina, where he made a multi-multi-millionaire of Josh Norman and ran a scheme that should translate in Buffalo. I like the pick of LSU CB Tre'Davious White, who should fit in perfect with McDermott's scheme.

A lot of teams were interested in McDermott at the outset of this offseason and he's got that chip on his shoulder you want from an NFL coach. Look, I was wrong about Rex. But I feel like this is really a good choice to lead the team back to glory.

McDermott definitely has some work to do. As great as the 1990s Bills were, the organization has been to the playoffs just four times since its last Super Bowl appearance -- and zero times since the "Music City Miracle" in January of 2000.

TYGOD

McDermott put everybody on notice when he came to Buffalo and stressed that it's going to be an open competition for everybody. "You earn the right to start on this football team," McDermott said, via ESPN.

And part of me is all, Why can't Tyrod Taylor get the respect he deserves? Maybe this is the way it should be. I love TYGOD and feel he can be a great quarterback in the league. But it reminds me of the way Pete Carroll walked into USC and Seattle and turned around each team's fortunes with this "always compete" mantra. And unless Cardale Jones is the second coming of Russell Wilson, Tyrod is going to be the Bills' starter for the coming season. And really, I don't get why he shouldn't be.

Taylor has topped 3,000 passing yards the past two years. But more importantly, he's thrown 37 touchdown passes against just 12 picks. He's posted a 94.2 over two seasons as Buffalo's starter. What do you guys want? But again, I'm cool with competition.

Cut on a dime

I have a little bit of legit heat with LeSean McCoy. There was a Microsoft event and he didn't pick me to be on his "Halo" squad. And then I kind of helped Freddy Morris beat him in the Madden Bowl later that year. So I get it. However, I will say LeSean McCoy is one of the more underappreciated running backs in the NFL. Just where was he in the NFL Network's Top 100 NFL players? Oh. He was ranked 27th. All right, I guess that's fair. At least the players know what's up.

But I really do feel like he's not getting his full run as one of the NFL's best. I don't want to be sitting here a decade from now and being all, "Man, we really didn't give LeSean McCoy his due when he was in the league." Because I believe that is going to happen. McCoy averaged 5.4 yards per carry last year and scored 14 touchdowns. Explain to me why Chip Kelly didn't want this guy again? (Kelly dodged the question on Adam Schefter's podcast, only to say he regretted the way McCoy found out. Lame.)

Play it again, Sam

Listen, I love Sammy Watkins. He's an undeniable talent. But he was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Ahead of Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. Dude, it's time for that breakout season.

Most of it comes down to his health. Because when he's healthy, the production is there. He's never averaged less than 15 yards per reception. If his foot issues are behind him, I look for him to get close to 170 targets -- and he could hit 1,500 yards and double-digit touchdowns. Although I feel like this is the fantasy enthusiast in me talking. So you might need to take that with a grain of salt.

Most amazing fans in America

Bills Mafia. One boozy Bills fan told me it stood for "Most Amazing Fans in America" (M.A.F.I.A.), but further investigation leads me to believe that might not be the case. Kind of like how the song "Pumped up Kicks" isn't what you think it is. That's what you get for trusting Bills fans -- no matter how many burgers and brews they give you.

Naw, actually, I love Bills fans. As I've mentioned previously in this series, I once had Chargers season tickets (again, I love football) and we went to the game against the Bills as the kickoff for our honeymoon (dream girl). The Bills were having this massive tailgate and we wandered over there. Because that's just the kind of stuff that we do. Man, these fans were pretty awesome. We got free food, beers (plenty of beers) and some dude even let me wear his water buffalo hat. Which, in hindsight, might not have been sanitary. But who cares? Because I looked awesome.

Bills fans are great. Of course now the Bills Mafia has become legendary for some of the outrageous antics at tailgates. Barstool Sports even did its first documentary on the fans:

Good stuff. The only criticism I would have is that now that cameras have become involved, it kind of ruins the thing. Like when ECW first happened, it was amazing because it was kind of like our little secret. Nobody was doing that kind of innovative stuff. Then wrestling got into a period where people were just trying to one-up each other and it lost something. Kids started doing this [expletive] in their backyards and it lost most of its charm.

So when you watch these videos, realize the DNA of the Bills fans is a passion for the football team. They want a winner more than they want YouTube clicks. But yeah, if you want to jump through a table, I'll certainly watch it.

The franchise's best

Bruce Smith. Easy. From 1986 through 1998, Smith had double-digit sacks in every season -- save an injury-shortened 1991. Are you kidding me? He is still the NFL's all-time leader with 200 sacks -- and the next-closest active player is former Bear Julius Peppers with 143.5. So that record is going to stand for quite some time. Those Bills teams of the early 1990s will never get enough credit for the defense, but damn, they had some beasts.

Not enough credit

Man, Jim Kelly is often snubbed in these "best ever" discussions. Which is kind of a joke. The dude could flat out fling the football. And remember, that fast-paced Bills offense of the 1990s often meant Kelly was making the play calls at the line of scrimmage. This was something every quarterback would love to do. But Kelly did it and did it pretty darn well. What's interesting to me is Dan Marino is just kind of assumed as being better than Kelly. What is the basis for that? I don't want to come down on one side or the other. Ah, hell -- maybe I do.

Kelly was clutch. He was tough as nails. And I believe they had enough head-to-head battles to declare a winner. I'm going to lean toward the guy who led his team to four Super Bowls. I'm not trying to trigger Marino fans. Both guys are top-10 all-time quarterbacks in my book. But if you can choose only one (and last time I checked, you start only one quarterback), I'm going with Kelly. A fierce competitor with strong arm -- and the kind of free-wheeling son of a gun I would want as my quarterback.

Hipster jersey

The Bills have obviously had some great running backs, what with two Hall of Famers from its backfield (O.J. Simpson and Thurman Thomas). But Joe Cribbs was a pretty good back in his day, too. He was one of the AFC's most prolific rushers through his first four years -- earning three Pro Bowl nods in the process -- but then he went to the USFL for a couple years and it kind of nuked his momentum. But Joe Cribbs' No. 20 would be a pretty sick jersey.

Final snap

I'm a pretty big fan of the Bills and their fans. Be it in San Diego or even in Canton for the enshrinement of Andre Reed, Bills fans have been the tops. Buffalo even seems like a pretty cool city. I mean, any city that invented the Buffalo wing has to be pretty cool, right? So they check the boxes with fellow fans. There is no chance you're going to be labeled as a bandwagon fan. And there is a chance this team could be really good in the next couple of years. And it's not like Tom Brady can play forever. (Or can he?) I'm down with this team and it certainly would be on my short list were I choosing.

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter @AdamRank.

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