BillsMafia ready to do whatever it takes to support Kelly family

Photo of Jim and Jill Kelly from

There’s more than football even if we may not act like it, especially during playoff weeks.  Life is what happens between games.  Acknowledging what’s truly important feels like a cliché until health crises faced by our favorites offer sobering reminders.

It shouldn’t take competitors facing physical peril to put the wild card race in perspective.  But complacency is the default setting until events remind us that life is fragile for even the fiercest.

Football enthusiasts noted the triviality of sports as Eric Wood literally walked away and while Pittsburgh’s Ryan Shazier spends 2018 worrying about his health instead of football.  I just wish we had fewer examples of why it’s true.

We really don’t need to use Jim Kelly facing cancer again as further proof that wretchedness abounds. But we don’t get to take polls on whether or not those admired should face crises.  That said, those tested do get to decide how to face them.  It’s true for Kelly whether before or after 1996.

ORCHARD PARK, NY – DECEMBER 27: Hall of fame quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, Jim Kelly walks the sideline during the game against the Dallas Cowboys on December 27, 2015 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo defeats Dallas 16-6. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images).

Facing cancer once is too many times.  A recurrence feels sadistic.  A third bout is a nightmare that remains after awakening.  Someone who’s inspired us for so long faces a cellular monster once again.  Kelly gets another brutal burden, and that’s just the way it is.  All we can do is cheer him on.

The league only unites when something sad happens.  But at least hardships show how everyone involved with playing a game for a living knows what really matters.  You know life is foreboding when the Cowboys are offering support. Kindness from a franchise that makes us sneer is absolutely appreciated.

Life after football entails grappling with bigger obstacles than the Broncos.  The game is a rehearsal.  Coping with defenses was practice for whatever real life heaves.

Existence places great demands on the strongest.  They don’t ask for it.  But fairness isn’t a factor.  Those who’ve shown toughness are forced to remember there’s no expiration date.

Photo of Jim Kelly from

The traits displayed during games become evident in other fields.  Those challenged get tired of having to show it again.  Yet muscles only get stronger after experiencing pain.

The franchise quarterback has proven he’s worthy.  He was the one who had the fortitude and platform to start a crusade against other children having to suffer from the same horrific disease as his son Hunter.  Similarly, a man known for adding toughness behind center has been called upon to fight for his own health yet again.  Life’s not easy, so the second-best option is to deal with it when it’s difficult.

The Earth revolving means it’s impossible to outrun the shadows.  Being cleared of cancer in 2014 seemed like it was finally the end of agony for Kelly.

Another bout with the loathsome malady seems cruel.  Everyday adversity seems sufficient.  We can ask why the excruciating becomes commonplace.  There’s no answer that makes it easier to vanquish.

It’s hard enough for fans to cope with the latest distressing news, which makes what the Kellys face directly seem unfathomable.  I want to write about draft needs and not about why the franchise’s emblematic player must head to the hospital again.

But facing bad news is part of the deal despite not having signed up for it.

There’s a reason the Bills haven’t found a quarterback as stalwart.  Kelly played long enough ago that fans around for the origin of Zubaz have to explain to youngsters why he made us feel like brick walls are merely obstacles to smash through.

Photo from

His name keeps coming up because nobody’s come close to measuring up.  Wondering who can steer in adverse conditions like Captain Jim did is an unreasonable comparison everyone who’s held the same job has to face.  It’s better reach for unreasonable standards than aim too low.

Those with cranky knees and long memories keep bringing up Kelly for a reason.  He persevered despite things not going his way.  That admirable quality used to apply to attempting to win the final playoff game.  Now, the embodiment of resiliency must again try to keep sickness from getting away with destroying his physical being.

Possessing the ability doesn’t make using it fun.  We’re sick of watching someone who embodies everything we love about sports having to enter crisis mode.  Those observing helplessly can do nothing but offer support.  But we grew accustomed to placing faith in Kelly’s ferocity long ago.

He earned our concern playing a game that represents virtues put into action.  Trying again after falling short was good practice for what comes after an athletic career is over.  The whole point of the Buffalo Bills is that the franchise doesn’t quit even when things suck.  Kelly’s the best at it, which we can only hope helps him once again long after his last snap.

Editor’s babble: Thanks to Anthony Bialy for this touching tribute about Jim Kelly. Anthony seems to always find a way to explain the unexplainable. We are all keeping the Kelly family close to our hearts as they face the next challenge. BillsMafia will continue to surround the Kelly family with love. You can follow Anthony Bialy on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.

8 Replies to “BillsMafia ready to do whatever it takes to support Kelly family”

  1. I am very moved by this article. Jim Kelly really has not let #12 define him. His strength, faith & love transcends all . We see that our football nemesis does not really exist during a life battle. We all pull together. Please let me know how I can (as a diehard Jim Kelly fan) help out. Peace & prayers

  2. Thanks for the well done article. Staying under the top is an under appreciated art form.
    Notable and worth mentioning is Jim’s faith, which he believes is what allows him to hang on tightly in the face of such adversity.

  3. Like Goose and Nellie said thank you for writing this article. I have gone through it once and can’t imagine going through it 3 times like Jim has.

    Prayers to Mr Kelly and his family!! You will beat it again Jim.

  4. Was shocked to hear the Bills got a third for TT, especially since it is the first pick of the third round.

  5. A third round pick for TT before even paying the roster bonus is incredible. The Browns are pulling a Tim Murray and throwing around picks just because they have them.

    Now will two 1s, a 2, and a 3 be enough to get to 2 or 3 overall and get the guy they covet?

  6. Good morning..

    Thank you Brownies, the top pick in the 3rd round plus the fact the Bills didn’t have to eat the $6 million bonus—Sweet Jesus !!

    Like Fitz I wish TT the best of luck as he was a team player and gave it is all… Adios TT !! Some of the other Bill sites I visit the fans are just so venomous that it is way over the top and quite frankly disgusting.