I got quite a few responses to my question asking fans to compare this year's team with the 1985 version -- which finished 2-14 and was the last Bills team to start a season 0-5. There's an overwhelming belief that the '85 team had more talent than this year's squad, though much of it was still in the formative stages.
Bruce Smith was on that '85 team. So were Pete Metzelaars, Jim Ritcher, Joe Devlin, Fred Smerlas, Greg Bell, Scott Norwood, Jerry Butler and a fading Joe Cribbs. Smith was the No. 1 overall pick that year. It was a great draft for Buffalo. Andre Reed, Derrick Burroughs and Frank Reich were also drafted.
The comparison was summed up very well by reader Art Markowitz:
"Granted none of us can divine the future," Markowitz wrote. "But I don't see any Bruce Smith, Fred Smerlas, Pete Metzelaars or Andre Reed on this roster. And maybe the new Jim Kelly will be available after this year's record, but based on the scouting and draft choices from this group of drafters I doubt it. My Bills decal on the rear window of my car looks faded and as out of place in Florida as this team looks in the NFL."
No, I do not see any future Hall of Famers or perennial Pro Bowlers on this year's roster. I spoke with Talley on Friday and he said the '85 team would beat the '10 team.
Most fans do not feel the '85 team was the worst in team history. There's strong sentiment for the 1971 Bills, who went 1-13 and were outscored, 394-184. Sal Maiorana, the veteran Rochester beat writer, early this week listed the worst five Bills teams in no particular order: 1968, 1971, 1984-85, 2001.
By the way, Maiorana has another Bills history book out: Buffalo Bills, The Complete Illustrated History, with a foreword by Steve Tasker. Sal's book, which was published to mark the team's 50th anniversary season, sells for $30. It would be a good deal for any avid Bills fan. I'd even consider paying for it.