BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Bills are preparing to play on the biggest stage yet this season on Sunday as they take on the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.
Though this is not a position any Bills team has been since 1994, head coach Sean McDermott and his coordinators Brian Daboll and Leslie Frazier have.
And in a time where the moment could get too big, McDermott says it’s especially important to lean on that experience to stay grounded.
“You look at it as experience, and there’s no substitute for experience. Like in life, you try to not make the same mistake twice,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said.
“Being around winning programs, outside of being good people and those things you look for, being around winning programs and being in those environments and those games, all of that breeds quality experience.
“That’s all good to have this time of year, but it also helps you get to where you are this time of year. We’ve been around what winning looks like, smells like, I think it’s a good place to start from,” McDermott said.
Though this is his first experience in a conference championship as head coach, McDermott has reached this game six other times in his career as a coach, five times with the Philadelphia Eagles (under then head coach Andy Reid), and once with the Carolina Panthers.
As for his coordinators, Leslie Frazier and Brian Daboll have a combined 42 years of coaching experience in the NFL, and both of them have been a part of teams that have made it all the way to the big game.
Frazier has coached in a conference championship game four times, and won a Super Bowl as a defensive assistant for the Indianapolis Colts.
In his twenty years in the league, on Sunday, Daboll will coach in his ninth AFC Championship game. While with the New England Patriots for two separate stints, Daboll coached in five of the Patriots’ six Super Bowl winning-seasons.
“That’s where the experience comes in. Leslie has experience, a significant amount, as well as Brian and other members of our staff. We’re going to lean on that experience and we’ll get our team ready to go,” McDermott said. “We know it’s going to be a tough environment against the defending World Champs, so we have to have a great week of preparation.”
Stemming from the Andy Reid coaching tree, McDermott and Frazier will be lining up on the opposite sideline of their former head coach.
The Bills and Chiefs kick off in the AFC Championship on Sunday at 6:40pm. The winner advances to the Super Bowl.