The Buffalo Bills are a franchise that is defined by not winning a Super Bowl. It's unfair, but anyone who has lived in Western New York for any period of time knows that it's true, myself included. They're the only team in NFL history to make four consecutive Super Bowls, and yes, they're the only team in NFL history to lose four consecutive Super Bowls, and somewhere along the way, just making it to the biggest game in all of professional sports has been deemed a failure, when in reality it is anything but.

This current iteration of the Buffalo Bills — the version that has ruled over the AFC East division for the last four seasons with Sean McDermott on the sideline and Josh Allen leading the way on the field — has not yet had the extended postseason success that those teams from the early 90s that featured Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, and Thurman Thomas did. But even if they had made four Super Bowls in a row with no Lombardi Trophy to show for it, the story from the outside media would be the same: this is a quarterback, a coach, a franchise and a city that can't quite get over the hump.

But just because the Bills haven't reached a Super Bowl in his tenure, with one of the NFL's most dynamic and dominant quarterback's under center, Sean McDermott remains steadfast in his belief that his team can continue to improve, make deeper playoff runs, and that even if a Super Bowl title isn't the end result, it doesn't mean this era of Buffalo Bills football hasn't be incredibly successful.

“To say we haven't had success or Josh hasn't had success, I think would be kind of narrow-minded,” McDermott shared with NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, per Coral Smith of “It's hard to win in the NFL, so you kind of regroup every year, and you take it one game at a time. But we're all looking for Josh to really be that face of the franchise, like he's been, and continuing to evolve, like he's always done.”

The Evolution of Josh Allen 

When Josh Allen left the University of Wyoming and entered the 2018 NFL Draft, he did so as a raw and erratic passer who possessed remarkable athletic gifts — the size and running ability of a tight end mixed with a bazooka for a right arm — that were so rare for a quarterback that it felt like a distinct possibility Allen could be the 1st overall pick of the Cleveland Browns. The Browns instead bet on the pedigree of Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, leading Allen to fall to the Buffalo Bills who selected him with the 7th overall pick in the draft. Allen started eleven games during his rookie season, and fit his pre-draft description to a T. 10 touchdown passes to 12 interceptions wasn't ideal, but 631 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns were exactly what Bills fans had to be envisioning when he was drafted.

As expected, over time, Josh Allen has evolved. By design, Allen runs less now than he did as a younger, more raw quarterback, but in the biggest spots of the Bills biggest games, you can still count on him to tuck it and run. But as a passer is where Allen has made his greatest strides. Allen completed just 52 percent of his pass attempts during his rookie year, but by year three, Allen's completion percentage was up to 69 percent. It's hardly a surprise that in his third season, Allen officially made the leap, finishing second in MVP voting behind Green Bay Packers and leading the Buffalo Bills to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since it was Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, and Thurman Thomas who were circling the wagons.

Since the 2020 AFC Championship Game, the Bills have lost a trio of games in the AFC Divisional Round, all three to the eventual AFC Champion. Three of the Bills postseason defeats have been to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. I don't know if that makes Josh Allen the Charles Barkley to Patrick Mahomes' Michael Jordan, or the Dan Marino to Mahomes' Joe Montana, but falling short against a bonafide NFL dynasty shouldn't be a black mark on Allen's legacy, or an indication that the Bills have lacked success during this era. Ring culture has poisoned both the way the media covers the sport and the way fans talk about the sport, and someone unequivocally great like Josh Allen will unfortunately be the one who suffers because of it.