Fantasy Football News

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Take Your Pick: Raiders of the '80s or Bills of the '90s?

Al Davis' Oakland/L.A. Raiders of the 1980s defined the game of football.  Tenacious and fierce on both sides of the ball, the Raiders donned the reputation of the enemy, and may have even been considered 'dirty.'

Marv Levy's Buffalo Bills of the 1990s were basically the polar opposites.  Clean, classy, all-around solid fundamental football players.  With a trio of future Hall of Famers on offense (Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed, who has yet to be inducted), the Bills found themselves in four straight Super Bowls to kick off the decade.
 Davis certainly had one of the league's toughest defenses (finished with top-10 overall defense in five of the 10 seasons in the '80s), but Buffalo had the high-scoring offense to counter that attack (Kelly's Bills finished in the top-10 in scoring offense).

On offense, Buffalo has the better passing attack with the Kelly-Reed combination while Oakland has the better run game with Hall of Famer Marcus Allen coming out of the backfield.  Allen, from '82 (his rookie season) to '89, ran for 7,275 yards and 63 TDs.

Head-to-head outlook

Raiders of the 80s:
 *66-63 (.511 win %) in regular season; 8-3 in postseason (including Super Bowl)
*Five playoff appearances (four straight from 1982-85)
*Four division titles (back-to-back in '82 and '83)
*Two Super Bowl appearance (27-10 win over Philly in 1980, 38-9 win over Washington in 1983)

Bills of the 90s:
*103-57 (.643 win %) in regular season; 10-8 in postseason (including Super Bowl)
*Eight playoff appearances
*Five division titles (four straight from 1990-93)
*Four Super Bowl appearances (all losses)

In my opinion, this is an easy decision.  Despite the theory "offense wins games, defense wins championships."  I'd take Jim Kelly's high-powered offense with Marv Levy roaming the sidelines.  The numbers don't lie.

Yes, the Raiders were able to get it done when it mattered and actually won a pair of championships during that time, but I think getting to four straight Super Bowls is just as tough as winning just one championship.  Consistency wins me over in this debate.  Oakland/L.A. certainly had the swagger that you love to see in a football team, but Buffalo worked together better.
 When you look back at history, you'll notice that these two teams actually met in the AFC Conference Championship in 1990 and, yes, Buffalo spanked the Raiders 51-3.  One would argue that it wasn't a fair match-up (to bring up in this debate, anyways), so to further prove my point I simulated the game (SB winning Raiders of the 1980 season v.s. AFC Champion Bills of the 1990 season) on five different times.  Buffalo won four of those five games.  Links to the box scores are below.

At times, Jim Kelly struggled with Oakland's stout defense led by Ted Hendricks and Lester Hayes, but he got it done when it mattered most, falling just a couple of touchdowns shy of sweeping the five-game series.

Well, that just about wraps it up.  Winner: Buffalo Bills.  It's about time they won something, eh?  Because, I mean, many Buffalo fans are most likely wishing they were still in the '90s.  We'll be praying for all you Bills fans.

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