Jim Kelly Lost 4 Super Bowls but Learned a Valuable Lesson That He’s Passing on to Josh Allen

If anyone in Buffalo knows how to get off the mat after a crushing defeat, it’s Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. The iconic passer suffered through devastating losses on the biggest stage in the 1990s. However, during the following seasons, he and the Buffalo Bills got right back in the game and reached the highest levels again and again. Now, Kelly is sharing what he learned about persevering through adversity with Buffalo’s new hero, Josh Allen.

Jim Kelly is a Buffalo Bills legend who has dealt with adversity

Hall of Famer Jim Kelly speaks with Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at New Era Field on September 16, 2018 in Orchard Park, New York.
Jim Kelly and Josh Allen | Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Jim Kelly left the Rust Belt city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to play quarterback in the sunshine at Miami. When the Buffalo Bills picked him No. 14 overall in the 1983 NFL Draft, the Hurricane QB was not happy about heading back to the cold, grey Northeast.

Upset about the prospect of playing in Buffalo, Kelly actually turned down a contract from the team. He then played two seasons in the fledgling USFL for the Houston Gamblers.

The USFL ultimately folded, and Kelly headed to Western New York. He may not have wanted to, but today, he’s sure glad he did.

The 6-foot-3 passer became a Buffalo Bills legend during his 11 seasons in Orchard Park. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro. The signal-caller ran the innovative K-Gun offense for Buffalo and ended his career with 39,330 passing yards and 237 touchdowns. The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted Kelly into its ranks in 2002.

While Kelly’s individual accomplishments are impressive, he’s best known for what the Bills did as a team in the early 90s. Buffalo was the first (and still only) NFL team to reach four straight Super Bowls.

The Bills did lose all four, but the feat is still awe-inspiring.

Kelly learned many lessons during those four Super Bowl seasons. And now, after years of mediocrity at the position, there is finally a Bills QB with who Kelly can share his wisdom with who could possibly lead the franchise back to the Promised Land.

Kelly shared what Josh Allen needs to do after the Bills loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers

After a 2020 trip to the AFC Championship game, Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills were among the favorites to reach the Super Bowl in 2021. Those plans took a slight hit with a Week 1 home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While Jim Kelly won a lot of games in Western New York. He also knows a thing or two about losing and coming back from losses.

Kelly shared his best advice for Allen in a recent ESPN interview. The legendary passer said:

One thing that I’ve learned over my life is you put those negative things behind you, you learn from it, you move on. You don’t let it just sink into your mind and stay there. You have to learn from those, and I’ve been very good at that, going to Super Bowls and not winning them. You put it to the back burner and move on.

Jim Kelly’s advice for Josh Allen

This is something that Kelly and his Bills teammates did better than anyone in the league’s history. No matter how many times Kelly’s Buffalo teams lived through an offseason following a crushing Super Bowl defeat, they got back up and did it again the next season.

The advice is excellent stuff from Kelly and something Allen would be wise to take to heart.

Allen faces a critical Week 2 matchup against the Miami Dolphins 

Week 2 of the NFL season is important to any team with an 0-1 record. When that team is going on the road to face a 1-0 division rival, the game becomes absolutely critical.

That’s what Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills are facing as they get ready to travel down to Miami to face the Dolphins. The ‘Phins beat the New England Patriots in Week 1. Another win against an AFC East foe would give them a serious advantage in the division.

The exact opposite is true for the Bills. If the team drops to 0-2, the AFC East might slip out of their grasp. They can also most likely kiss their Super Bowl aspirations goodbye.

While 2021 brings a new season and newly developed teams, the Bills can take solace in the fact that they handily squished the fish in both meetings last season. The Bills prevailed at home in another Week 2 matchup 31-28. Then, in Florida during Week 17, the Bills took a victory lap on their way to the playoffs with a 56-26 route. That win also kept the Dolphins out of the postseason.

If Allen can heed Jim Kelly’s advice and put the negativity of the Pittsburgh game behind him, the Bills will have a real chance to right the ship. If not, coach Brian Flores and his Miami squad might be able to get revenge for that late-season drubbing last year.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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