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Buffalo Bills: Franchise player

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Readers' pick: Jim Kelly, QB

The other three AFC East teams offered clear-cut selections for their best franchise players: Dan Marino, Tom Brady and Joe Namath. Each garnered more votes than the other candidates combined. Marino and Brady won in landslides.

The Buffalo Bills offered the most players who warranted serious consideration, which is why Jim Kelly won with less than a third of the votes.

Kelly received the third-lowest percentage of all 32 winners in our poll. He edged all-time sacks leader Bruce Smith.

The franchise's first genuine superstar, O.J. Simpson, finished third.

Kelly and Smith were pivotal to the Bills' dominance in the early 1990s, but it could be argued Thurman Thomas was more important. The versatile Hall of Fame back inexplicably finished fifth in the voting, one spot behind linebacker Darryl Talley (certainly not a Hall of Famer).

Kelly's selection gave quarterbacks a division sweep. He played a prestige position with a linebacker's grit, winning over a blue-collar city that was desperate for a charismatic field general. Only one Hall of Fame quarterback had a better passer rating than the 84.4 Kelly retired with.