Josh Allen on the Bills’ New Era and Ripping His Pants in Paris

Photograph: Getty Images; Collage: Gabe Conte

Things are a little different in Josh Allen’s world these days. When his Buffalo Bills report to mandatory minicamp in June, they’ll do so without Stefon Diggs, Tre’Davious White, Jordan Poyer, and several other mainstays from recent years. But they’ll be joined by new teammates intended to usher in a new generation of success, including a rookie receiver who’s been the talk of the town all spring.

In addition to his new-look football team, Allen is part of a new-look Gatorade ad. Well, new for the current generation, maybe. But those of a certain age will never forget Gatorade’s legendary “Is It In You?” campaign, in which athletes literally had Gatorade seeping out of their pores. This week, the company relaunches that campaign with the help of Allen, Caitlin Clark, A’ja Wilson, and Jayson Tatum. Narrating the commercial? None other than Michael Jordan, who was covered in Gatorade-colored sweat on televisions throughout the ‘90s.

Allen has spent his offseason doing other things besides sweating Gatorade, though. He did some globetrotting with girlfriend Hailee Steinfeld (where he was only briefly derailed by a wardrobe malfunction) and has helped welcome the new crop of players to Buffalo, hoping to extend the team's streak of five straight playoff appearances. Allen spoke about all of that and more in a recent conversation with GQ.

Photo courtesy of Gatorade
Photo courtesy of Gatorade

The sweating Gatorade commercials were a big deal! How does it feel to be a part of it?

So iconic! It’s so cool to be a part of. Having MJ in it is pretty dang cool. But like you’re saying, you remember the slow motion, the colored sweat beading down, it’s so frickin’ cool. It’s still surreal to me. I got a little sneak peek. It’s very sentimental to me.

I can tell! It sounds like you’re a true Gatorade fan.

Oh, I mean, as a kid? Gatorade was the only thing I drank. Lemon-lime, baby. I’m a lemon-lime guy. Glacier Freeze is pretty good, too. I like it all! But after every practice, one of our athletic trainers comes around. Give me a yellow. He just throws me a lemon-lime Gatorade.

It’s a part of my athletic journey. Again, they’re the most iconic—especially in sports, but in hydration and whatnot, they’re number one—but in sports for me it was Gatorade and Nike. Those were the two, and now being able to say that I’ve partnered with both of those brands is unbelievable to me.

Have you met Michael Jordan?

I have not met him personally. We’ve talked through other people. We were trying to get a golf round together. Hopefully in the future we can make that happen.

Did finding out that you’d be in a commercial narrated by Michael Jordan boost the ego a little bit?

It didn’t hurt! Right? I’ve got so much respect for him, what he’s done, and what he continues to do. It’s pretty spectacular what he’s been able to do through the avenue of sports. He’s such an icon, and a great role model for young people. I think he’s the greatest basketball player to ever play.

Caitlin Clark is in the commercial as well. As an athlete, I’m curious what your thoughts are on the women’s basketball phenomenon she’s kind of spearheaded.

I’ve been off social media for the most part, but she’s brought a lot of eyes to the WNBA. I did tune in for the national championship. It’s so crazy though, that championship game feels like it wasn't too long ago, and now she’s in-season. That seems like a nightmare.

Even if you are staying off social media, I imagine you’re at least somewhat aware of the fact that your new teammate, Keon Coleman, has been going viral basically every day just by being himself. Have you gotten to spend much time around him yet?

He is 100% that funny all the time. That’s who he is. He is from Louisiana. He talks, he jokes around, but I’ll tell you what: when we’re on the football field, he’s all ball. He loves the game of football. He’s very smart. I think he’s very intelligent off the field, too. He thinks about a lot of different things. He’s able to convey those things—obviously in a different way—but he’s a very smart kid. He’s been fun to be around so far.

We’re putting a lot in. We’re putting some pressure on guys to get in their playbooks and learn, because it’s kind of new for all of us right now. [We have] a new offensive coordinator taking charge and making this his offense. It’s been a fun process! I love learning about football, learning different concepts and different reads. It forces me to be better, and I love that.

I couldn’t help but notice you referred to Keon as a “kid” a second ago. Are you feeling like one of the old guys on the team now?

[deep sigh] I hate to say it, but yeah. I’m going into Year 7. It’s weird. I still view myself as an oversized kid playing a kid’s game, that’s all it is. But coach [Sean] McDermott walked into our quarterback room today and I looked at him like, “We don’t have real jobs. This still doesn’t feel real.” It’s so much fun to go in and be around a bunch of guys that get to go out and play football, and have fun doing it. To that point, Keon is having a lot of fun right now. It’s very infectious.

Are you viewing this as the start of a new era for the Buffalo Bills?

It’s, uhh…it’s kinda weird. You get to these spots—and I’ve talked to a few quarterbacks who have played in this league for a long time—they mentioned playing with different teams even though they played for the same team, right? There’s a lot of turnover here this year compared to my first few years. There’s a lot of young guys. You’ve gotta step into more of a leadership role, which I’m very excited to do. Learning from some vets, leaning on your coaching staff, but again, leaning into your own experience now, is very helpful.

What sort of challenges are you anticipating with that?

I think just making sure that they understand the trajectory of this franchise, who we are as players and people here in Buffalo, and making sure that our messaging within the locker room is the same. We need guys to understand what it takes to be a Buffalo Bill. I think that’s the number one thing: leading by example and making sure that these guys are seeing me be the best teammate I can be.

You made some waves this offseason for a few things that aren’t football related. One of them was when you ripped your pants while you were out to dinner in Paris. I don’t need you to get into the super minute details, but just generally speaking, how did that happen?

They were joggers. I’m not going to rat out what company it was. But they were expensive pants! It was the first time I ever wore them. And in Paris, things are a little bit smaller over there. So, I’m sitting in a smaller chair, and I got up to walk to the bathroom downstairs. Coming back up the stairs, I hear a noise. What is that?

I took two more steps—and I had the cargo pockets, so I reached down like, What do I have in here?—as I reached down I could feel the back of my leg. Listen, when I say rip, it wasn’t a small tear. It was from belt loop all the way down. Total disintegration of something. I don’t know what happened. I think it’s maybe because I’m a tall guy, so when I go up stairs I usually take two steps. One step takes longer. I’m just trying to get up, you know? But it completely tore. Luckily I had a little overshirt that I could tie around my waist so nobody was looking at my…backside.

Was that the first time you’d ever ripped your pants?

First time? I’d like to say yes, but probably not. I feel like there’s been times going back to high school at a semi formal or a prom. You’re dancing, you do something stupid, you rip it. I’m sure I did that.

Was that your first time in Paris?

That was my first time. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I got to do some cool sightseeing, eat some really good food, it was awesome.

Are you more comfortable in these high-end, celebrity spaces, so to speak?

Umm, yes and no. I almost feel more comfortable in a place like Paris because they don’t know or care about football. You can kind of let the guard down a little bit. Early on, when people were taking photos in airports and stuff, I couldn’t stand it. It made me feel sick. But now, you gotta live your life. You can’t let anybody dictate how you feel. You can move around it in different ways, but ultimately you gotta be you.

The other notable thing you did this offseason was saying you could give an NBA team some productive minutes if need be. What’s the scouting report on Josh Allen the basketball player?

I played throughout high school and would count myself as a pretty good high school player. I’m gonna bust my tail on defense. I may get scored on, I may miss every shot, but I’m gonna work hard. And I’m going to get a couple boards.

I’m getting Kyle Anderson on the Timberwolves. Is that sort of the vibe?

Maybe like old Kyle Korver. Three and D. Let me play defense, move off ball—I don’t need to dribble—but I can shoot a little bit!

Do you have an NBA Finals prediction? Who ya got?

[thinks] Jayson Tatum.

Originally Appeared on GQ