Honoring the great Bills players from the early 1990s has all but been a summer ritual over the past decade. With Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. and Marv Levy all earning spots in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Bills fans have been able to gather every couple years in Canton to celebrate.
Andre Reed and his induction this Saturday will be no less cause for celebration, but it carries so much more weight for Bills fans than any of the previous. This is the first time a Bills player will talk about Wilson’s dedication and hope he is listening in from the heavens. This is the first time Reed will have to talk about the team’s legendary quarterback as he stands in the audience, ever fighting cancer.
Reed’s induction ceremony promises to be an emotional carousel, full of cheers, tears and fond memories. It’s a cant-miss event for anyone with ties to those great Bills teams.
Laying another emotional dimension to Reed’s induction ceremony is the fact it will probably be the last time the Bills are center stage in Canton for decades. Steve Tasker is a long, long shot to make the Hall of Fame and after him, there’s really nobody with the merits. The next Buffalo Bill to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame is either on the team or a player the organization has yet to find.
That means this Saturday evening will quite possibly be the last time those great Bills players are center stage of the football world. It will be the last time the league gathers to honor their greatness.
That makes Saturday sad but special. It’s one more chance to see Kelly to Reed. One more chance to reflect on the Super Bowls, the Comeback, Wide Right, Squish the Fish and every brilliant moment in between. One more time to see the former Bickering Bills united on one of the game’s biggest stages.
As long as they’ve existed, the Bills have always made us want to shout. Come Saturday, we’ll get one more chance to remember those great players from the early 90s who also made us dance, cheer, cry and bleed Bills colors through the team’s greatest chapter.