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PASS THE ACCOLADES

It is long past due that an editorial appear in our local newspaper that accurately details the Buffalo Bills' rise to the top of the AFC.

I realize that the experts on the staff are much too involved in trying to figure out a way to predict more than one half of the games correctly with the point spreads (a feat that many readers have accomplished if office pools are any indication). I also realize that many members of the media may still feel put off by past remarks and actions of (Bill) Polian and (Jim) Kelly. Therein may lie the problem however, as the media appears to be holding a grudge, or simply missing the outstanding job that these two men have done to turn this team around. Sure, the negative comments towards these two men have ceased; but where are the accolades?

I take you back to the preseason when Kelly did not look sharp and we had key unsigned players with questions at nose tackle and offensive line. Few were predicting any more than a repeat of the 9-7 season one year ago. Was Kelly really worth his salary? Was Polian dismantling his playoff team? Why have things worked out so well -- luck?

What has happened was predictable and should have been recognized, or at least postulated, by the "experts." The fans and media were quick to dwell on the "bickering" of a year ago, but no one offered an intelligent solution to the problem. No one, that is, except Polian and Marv Levy.

The answer was simple; give Kelly a long, healthy contract and make him the undisputed leader of this football team in disarray. Offer bonuses to (James) Lofton and (Andre) Reed, who had nothing but good words to say about their quarterback (sorry, Thurman Thomas). Delete from the roster the former captains of this team who failed to bring leadership and stability last year when it was so desperately needed ('bye, (Joe) Devlin and (Fred) Smerlas). Use plan B wisely to bring depth and versatility at the running back position (hello Don Smith and 'bye, Ronnie Harmon). Treat the preseason like it should be treated, like a preseason; but come out in the regular season opener with a no huddle offense where your new undisputed team leader calls the plays. And the media would have to wait to talk to this team which was now "focused" and did not need senseless "bickering."

So there you have it. A team with a new attitude that steals games from formidable opponents thanks to its new leaders like (Steve) Tasker and (Nate) Odomes and (Cornelius) Bennett and Kelly.

And if there are any readers who still are not willing to give credit to Polian and Kelly, then get out of town. Somewhere in this country, football experts are predicting games at greater than a 50 percent clip and praising the work of our team and these men.
A.T. VETRANO, MD
Kenmore

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