When I look at the Buffalo Bills of the late 1980s and early 1990s, I see very good football teams and in the early 90s the best teams in the American Football Conference. But there’s an issue right there. From 1984 except for maybe the underachieving Raiders of the mid 80s and the 1987 Browns, 1988 Bengals, 1990 Bills and the two best teams in the NFL were not in the AFC and AFC Champions. But were in the NFC, the top two teams in the NFC the champion and finalist. In 1986 the two best teams in the NFL were the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, but they not only played in same conference, the NFC.
And by 1992 the two best teams in the NFL were always in the NFC, until 1997 with the Denver Broncos winning the Super Bowl. This was not a good era for the AFC, 1985, 1986, 1987 the Super Bowls were all blowouts, the NFC team beating the AFC team. In 1989 the San Francisco 49ers blew out the Denver Broncos 55-10, 1992 the Dallas Cowboys blew out the Bill 52-17. 1994 the 49ers blew out the San Diego Chargers 49-23. The Bills of the late 80s and early 90s were the best team in the AFC. And won four straight AFC Final’s from 1990-93, but in the worst era for the AFC. I’m not taking anything away from the Bills of this era, they had very good teams and would’ve been very successful in the National Football Conference, but they wouldn’t have dominated the NFC like they dominated the AFC.
If you look at those four Super Bowls that the Buffalo Bills lost from 1990-93, they were only favored to win one of them the, 1990 Super Bowl when they played the New York Giants. But the Giants were a very good football team, they still had one of the best defenses in the NFL. Even though they were getting older and they still had their ball control offense, power run, possession passing, shorten the game and limit the Bills chances on offense to have the ball and score. Giants running back OJ Anderson was the SB MVP, quarterback Jeff Hostletter completed passes when he had to. And had TE Marc Bavaro I believe the best all around TE in the NFL at the time and had WRs Chris Calloway, Mark Ingram and Steve Baker.
The Giants could throw when they wanted to and when they needed to and the strength of their offense fit in perfectly with the weakness of the Bills Defense. They had a power offense going up against and somewhat finesse undersized 3-4 Bills defense with a small 270 pound nose tackle in Jeff Wright. And the Bills were able to stay in the game because even though they didn’t have the ball much, they moved it almost every time they had it. And when the Giants scored they used a lot of time to score, keeping the Bills in the game.
1990 was the best chance for the Buffalo Bills to win a Super Bowl and they were favored in that game and they only lost 20-19 and had plenty of chances to win that game. But missed a lot of tackles probably because they were so tired, because their defense couldn’t get off the field. But the other three Super Bowls they were a clear underdog playing teams, like the Redskins and Cowboys twice that were much bigger and stronger which is what the NFC was back then over the AFC. Run the ball, stop the run, rush the QB, protect the QB and win the turnover battle. And the Bills happened to be the best of a weak American Football Conference.