Every time Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen goes against Kansas City Chiefs counterpart Patrick Mahomes, he or coach Sean McDermott or both are reminded that the Bills could have had Mahomes a year earlier instead. Or Deshaun Watson. Or Marshon Lattimore. Or T.J. Watt.
Instead, they traded the No. 10 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to the Chiefs, who used it on Mahomes. He would reward them the next season by winning the NFL MVP award and in 2019 while leading them to their first Super Bowl victory since Hank Stram dialed up the 65 toss power trap against the Minnesota Vikings.
Meanwhile, the Bills grabbed cornerback Tre'Davious White at No. 27 and tackle Dion Dawkins at No. 63 and waited until the next year to take Allen with the No. 7 pick.
Certainly not a bad outcome for either team, though the Bills still haven't gotten back to the Super Bowl since their last trip in the 1993 season.
Nobody understands that more than Allen, who brings a 3-2 playoff record into Sunday's matchup with Mahomes and his 7-2 postseason mark.
"I think whenever quarterbacks are drafted in the first round, you know they expect you to get to a position like this and to play in big games like this," Allen said. "So you know we've had a couple opportunities the last couple years, and it's no different this year. We've given ourselves a chance to accomplish what we want accomplish. Now it's up to us to go out there and execute and try to go put our best foot forward on Sunday against a really good team.
"... So again, we're excited for an opportunity to go out there and play another game. Not many people are playing football this late, and we know that, so we're not taking this opportunity lightly."
Despite winning in the regular season at Kansas City, doing it again will be "easier said than done," according to Allen. "It's a team that, you know, they don't lose many games in the playoffs, especially at home. And they're playing some really good football right now.
"I think everybody in the world knows who the Chiefs are, and they're hard to beat, especially at home. So we've got to go put our best foot forward and try to execute a game plan."
More to the point, Allen knows his play has to be equal to or better than the man they passed up a year earlier for the Bills to have a chance, and he's embraced the challenge.
Allen is coming off a game in which he and the offense could not have played better: Seven touchdowns in seven possessions that also enabled them to finish with an advantage in time of possession.
"The way they can mix up pressures and force turnovers is really making them go right now," Alle said. "And again, it's on the quarterback to make the right decisions, not to put the ball in harm's way and not give their offense an opportunity for a short field."
Regardless of how this rivalry between teams and quarterbacks unfolds, it's clear the Bills and McDermott will never look back.
"I just think, you know, we're happy with the quarterback we have," McDermott said, "and I'm sure they're happy with Pat there, and it's worked out for for both. To be able to get a player like Tre amongst others, I think it's a good deal for us, and that's where we're at."