Buffalo Bills legend and Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly led one of the most potent offenses in the NFL in the 1990s.
With Kelly under center, Thurman Thomas in the backfield, and Andre Reed and James Lofton out wide, the Bills put up points in bunches during a stretch in which they made four consecutive Super Bowl appearances.
Although the 2019 Bills were mostly successful because of their stingy defense, Kelly drew parallels between Buffalo’s new offensive addition, former Minnesota Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, and Lofton (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk):
“If you remember back, I think it was 1990 when James Lofton became a part of the Buffalo Bills and I think that’s when our offense really thrived because we needed that deep threat,” Kelly explained. “Andre was more of our inside guy. We needed that deep threat on the outside to go with Don Beebe on the other side, so I thought that was a great addition. And now all of a sudden we get Diggs in there and I think that’s gonna help [John] Brown, help other guys that are on our team to be able to do things a little more how we would like to not so much have to worry about one side or the other. Now you gotta worry about both sides of our offense.”
It certainly is an interesting comparison. Despite quarterback Josh Allen’s struggles, Brown had a fantastic year out wide, while Cole Beasley thrived in the slot.
Lofton averaged over 18 yards per reception in four years with the Bills, and Diggs averaged nearly 18 with the Vikings last season.
Much of Buffalo’s offensive success is predicated on Allen, improving his accuracy and showing more calm as a pocket passer. But the offense might open up more with Diggs on the field.