The longest-running soap opera in Buffalo sports history is over.
Barrooms, radio talk shows and family get-togethers in Western New York will have to buzz with some other controversy, because the Rob Johnson versus Doug Flutie argument finally has been put to rest.
At least it has been put to rest at One Bills Drive.
The Bills are going with Johnson -- younger, bigger and bursting with potential greatness. Flutie, shorter, older and winner of more games, has been released.
"We felt Rob Johnson was the best quarterback," said Bills President and General Manager Tom Donahoe. "He's an athlete, he has great size, he has mobility, he can throw all the passes you want a quarterback to throw. He's still a young quarterback. . . . We think our staff and our system can take advantage of Rob's talents and abilities."
Flutie will be 39 in October. Johnson turns 28 on March 18.
Donahoe said it wasn't about age. Both he and Bills coach Gregg Williams became enamored of Johnson's talent -- throwing 22 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions in his Bills career. But he also has been knocked out of eight of his 19 Bills starts with injuries.
Flutie, the 5-foot-9 Heisman Trophy-winning quintessential underdog, endeared himself to fans by posting a record of 21-9 as a Bills starter in the past three years.
His 8-3 performance in 1998 was a big factor in helping the Bills sell enough luxury seating to secure a lease agreement with local government to keep the team in Buffalo.
"Today's decision may not be a popular one with all of our fans, but our responsibility as an organization is . . . to make the right decisions," Donahoe said. "We would like to thank Doug Flutie for his efforts here in Buffalo."