FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla—At first it might seem a tough subject to broach.
Despite their history making run to four consecutive Super Bowls, many remember the Buffalo Bills for their inability to come back the New York with the Lombardi Trophy.
Four Super Bowls, four losses, the ultimate team on the brink. But when asked about it Thursday, one member of that team was forthright about it.
"My memories from the Super Bowl are great memories, despite the fact that we lost four games," said Frank Reich who was a backup quarterback for Super Bowls XXV through XXVII. "The hurt of losing it four times is very real and very painful, but I wouldn't trade."
"I always would have rather been there and play in it."
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Now he's gotten the chance to do it again, thanks to the Indianapolis Colts. He was an intern when the Colts got a championship in 2006, but he'll be front and center as a quarterbacks coach when the Colts face the Saints on Sunday.
After 16 years, Reich now has a chance to get the big game right.
"Now I'm looking forward to going back and having an opportunity to win this one," said Reich, and he has a former teammate to tell him how it feels.
Pete Metzelaars was the tight end on those Bills teams and joined the Colts in 2004 as offensive quality control coach, and has since added the title assistant offensive line coach. He took advantage of his second chance, picking up a ring when Colts won Super Bowl XLI.
"I feel very blessed to be in these situations," said Metzelaars, a graduate of Wabash College, of getting another chance at the big game in Indianapolis. "In Buffalo with great players and here with great players and a great coaching staff."
"Somewhere, somehow, I got into the right position."
Well the answer to that is Bill Polian, who acquired both players while he was the general manager in Buffalo in the 1980s and taught the two plenty about the workings on the sidelines. When Polian joined the Colts, it opened another door for Metzelaars and Reich as he had done years ago.
"A long time ago he told me if I ever wanted to coach, he'd want to help me out," said Reich of Polian. "When I made the decision to get into coaching, I called him up and he was able to open the door for me, and there's no better guy to coach for."
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It might have been the same thing in mind with the president as well, since both spent their days playing with a Bills team that mimicked the philosophy of Polian's current Colts team. Both teams had a perennial All-Pro quarterback at the top (Jim Kelly for the Bills, Peyton Manning for the Colts) and a solid defense seem to link the two teams that dominated their respective decades.
Metzelaars says, however, that coaching consistency is the thing that made his transition into coaching easier when he joined the team.
"They were committed to a style of offense and a style of defense, we don't try to do everything for everybody Sometimes people complain about it, we're too small, were not physical enough, you know, on and on and on.
"But we're committed to what we do and the way we do it."
While Reich seconded that, he says its the team's mutual ability to overcome problems in games or with injuries during the season. In the 1992 NFL Playoffs, Reich came in for the injured Jim Kelly and led a 32-point second half comeback against Houston in the Wildcard Round, which remains the greatest comeback in NFL history.
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During a stretch in November, the Colts won five consecutive games after entering the fourth quarter behind.
"A never say die attitude," said Reich of the team's common mindset. "An insatiable will to win to and to overcome any obstacles that kinda come down the road."
"This team has demonstrated that time and time again."