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When and how did the no-huddle offense begin?

For the Buffalo Bills, it started on a losing day in Cleveland three years ago. The Bills were beaten by the Cleveland Browns, 34-30, eliminating Buffalo from the 1989 AFC playoffs.

But the Bills closed out that game with an impressive two-minute drill, scoring a late touchdown.

The drill was so impressive, it was still on Coach Marv Levy’s mind when he began the 1990 season. On opening day against the Indianapolis Colts, Levy decided to go with a form of the two-minute drill right from the opening kickoff, eliminating the huddle.


“We thought maybe we could catch somebody unaware,” Levy said.

Levy hadn’t planned to go exclusively without a huddle, but the more he used the offense, the more he liked it. Especially after his team beat the Colts that day, 26-10.

“We moved the ball extremely well,” Levy said, “and we began to see merits to it. It gave teams less time to make their calls, less time to situation substitute and less time to get their cleats dug in.

“The disadvantage is that the offense isn’t on the field as much, which keeps the defense on a long time.”

The no-huddle has worked so well, the Bills have not missed a Super Bowl since that ’89 postseason loss.

Linebacker Cornelius Bennett, recovering from a hamstring injury, practiced for the first time this week on Wednesday.

Defensive lineman Bruce Smith continues to be plagued by sore ribs, but he does not expect the injury to impede him on Sunday.


“Sometimes, I can’t sleep,” he said. “And when I sneeze, it pops out. I’m in a great deal of pain. But when I put the pads on, I’m somehow able to void out the pain.”