I joined the Dolphins in the middle of a streak where the team had beaten the Bills for the entire decade of the 1970s. It was 20 straight wins. You had to go into those games extra confident. You talk to Buffalo Bills fans back then I would joke that I hoped we could schedule them four times a year instead of the two times a year to pick up those extra wins. I didn't even realize until after a while that it had gotten to about 18 games or whatever it was just how long the streak was going. I remember one game we were playing up there in 1979. It was late in the game and the streak was still alive and we were leading 9-7. Tom Dempsey was their kicker at the time. He was the guy who held the record with a 63-yard field goal, which was the longest field goal in the history of the game. You figured he was going to make the kick and we were going to lose theme and there goes the streak. He kicked a sidewinder in the wind and it blew wide. We won the game and the streak stayed alive.
I think the streak created the rivalry. Early on, it wan't much of a rivalry because it was too one sided. I thought the Jets were a bigger rival. Baltimore was still part of the AFC East and they were a bigger rival and so was New England. In the pecking order, the Bills were probably the bottom rung as far as rivalries go. I think after the streak ended they got pretty good when they got guys like Joe Cribbs. Once they became more of a competitive team they moved up the ladder as far as a rival.
A few years later, the rivalry flipped when the Bills became a dominate team with Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and the rest of those guys. I just remember how good that football team was. People usually ridicule me when I say this, but I think to this day that the Buffalo Bills going to four straight Super Bowls is probably one of the greatest feats I have ever seen in the history of the NFL. People say that they didn't win, but I know how tough it is to get to one Super Bowl. For them to go to four straight without slipping up is remarkable. They were just a dominate football team.
The Dolphins will face the Bills for the second time in three weeks Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. I think the advantage is if you are the home team in the second game. You don't have to travel. You get an extra day's work. I think with having lost the first game up that that the feeling is still pretty fresh. I think everybody wants a little payback. If you're going to lose one, I think it's best to lose the first one on the road and then come home for the second game. I think that's the better situation.