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Wall of Famers' best Bills moments

Posted Sep 12, 2013

Just before they're honored at this weekend's Wall of Fame game at Ralph Wilson Stadium, we caught up with Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame legends to hear them relive some of the favorite moments in their careers.

Head Coach Marv Levy (1986-1997)
“There are so many memories that it would be almost impossible for me to single out just one of them, but I will go ahead anyway and offer the following as my contribution:
“I can still recall fondly the first time I walked up the tunnel and out onto the field on game day at Ralph Wilson Stadium in early November of 1986, a few days after having been hired to take over as coach of the team in mid-season of that year, and feeling an emotion swell up inside of me that expressed a sentiment I would convey to our players just prior to the kickoff of every game we played during the next 12 years.  And that was: ‘Where else would you rather be than right here, right now!’”
General Manager Bill Polian (1986-1993)
“It is hard to pick one fond memory because there were so many. However, if forced to choose it would be the victory over the Raiders in the 1990 AFC Championship game. For all Western New Yorkers reaching the Super Bowl was a dream come true. To do it in the fashion that we did, 51 to 3, was almost unbelievable . It was a close call but I would take this game over the "greatest comeback ever" by a small margin.”
Offensive Guard Billy Shaw (1961-1969)
“Well I think most people from my era will remember the ’64 and ’65 championship games, especially the first championship for the Bills back in ’64 probably as their fondest memory, and rightfully so. When I go back and reflect over my time in Buffalo, the thing that comes to memory is a loss. That loss was the championship game of ’66. We lost to Kansas City. We were trying to three-peat. We lost, but the circumstances were that if we won that ball game and we certainly intended to win—we go to the very first Super Bowl. That has been on my mind forever and ever and ever. A loss to Kansas City in the championship game cost us from playing not only in a Super Bowl, but the very first one. That would have been so neat.
“Every time I go to Hall of Fame events and see guys from back then, I think about that ball game. We played them about three weeks prior in Kansas City and beat them handedly in Kansas City.  They were coming to Buffalo to play us in Buffalo for the championship. There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to win that football game. Not only did they beat us, they skunked us. They beat us like 31-7. So I have fond memories of ’64 and ’65 championship teams. Long lasting, negative memory of the third championship game.
"I met some great guys. had some great coaches. I remember the guys as much as I do the game and we stay in contact. My stint in Buffalo, the only place I ever played, was fantastic.”
Offensive Guard Joe DeLamielleure (1973-1979)
“My memorable moment actually came 40 years ago against the Patriots. We opened up my rookie year, my first NFL game. I was starting, O.J. Simpson ran for 250 yards and we dominated them. That was the start of the Electric Company.”
Defensive End Phil Hansen (1991-2002)
“It is so hard to pick just one and I’m sure everybody says that, but I would say just in totality the training camps at Fredonia. Although they were grueling and they were a grind, when I look back at my time in Buffalo I really enjoyed the training camps in Fredonia in particular. Before cell phones, digital cameras and all that. You could really interact and get to know the fans up close and personal during our walks over from where we practiced to where we ate on campus there. I know that isn’t a football play in particular, and I have some of those too, but I really enjoyed my time at camp in Fredonia.”
Wide Receiver Andre Reed (1985-1999)
“I cannot even begin to tell you how many moments I have, but the one moment that sticks out the most is winning the greatest comeback of all-time. That is probably my fondest moment. Just the way that game progressed, down 28-3 and then coming back to win at the end with Steve Christie’s kick will stay with me forever. There are a whole bunch of other ones but that one probably sticks out more than any other one because of the nature of the game and the way it transpired.”
Quarterback Joe Ferguson (1973-1984)
“I will never forget playing a game vs. the Washington Redskins in Ralph Wilson Stadium early in my rookie season. I still had a lot of questions about really being able to play in the NFL. But during warm ups I was watching Billy Kilmer and Sonny Jurgensen throw some passes and from that moment on I said if those two guys can play in this league then I guarantee I can play for a long time. I don't think they threw a pass during warm ups over five yards, and didn't hit many of them. All they did was kick our butt the rest of the day.”
Wide Receiver Steve Tasker (1986-1997)
“My favorite moment as a Buffalo Bill was without question the national anthem of Super Bowl XXV. The country was at war for the first time in my life. My generation was after Vietnam and before the Gulf War. The Gulf War had just started for the first time. There was a big question whether there was going to be a security problem at the game. It was the first time we had ever heard the word security. So it took a long time for everyone to get into the game. It was a real sense of patriotism. The game had a bigger meaning for our country rather than just the Super Bowl, which is funny to say now with the size of the game. The Giants were in blue jerseys with red pants and white trim. We were in white pants, white shirts, blue numbers and red helmets. Everybody in the whole stadium was red, white and blue. Every fan was given a flag when they came into the stadium. Whitney Houston sang the national anthem and she hit it out of the park. It was a home run. As I turned around, Marv Levy was in tears, Jim Kelly was in tears and even the official next to me was in tears. When I looked around the stands, everybody was waving a flag with one hand and wiping tears with the other. It was a pretty emotional moment. The flyover by the jets was cool too. After the jets came, there was an apache gunship with a big machine gun hanging out the side. I did not know it then, but there is a law that you cannot fly less than 1,000 feet over a stadium. He did not appear to me to be 1,000 feet. I could tell the guy had not even shaved that day. That is how close they seemed to be. It was a real statement by the guys that were in charge of the security, you know, let’s go ahead and play the game. It is going to be great. I think it was a real moment for our country, not just both those teams. It turned out to be a tremendous Super Bowl, even though we were on the short end of it.”
Running Back Thurman Thomas (1988-1999)
“I’d have to say the 51-3 game: the AFC Championship game to go that first Super Bowl. When it was the fourth quarter, we knew we were going and the fans knew we were going. It was just wild.”
Quarterback Jim Kelly (1986-1996)
“My favorite moment as a Bill has to be the first time I stepped on the field as an NFL player against the New York Jets knowing that a dream came true, not only for myself but for my family, my mother, my dad and my five brothers, that I was in an NFL uniform. I probably have half a dozen other moments in my career, but that one means the most to me because it relates to my family.”
Cornerback Booker Edgerson (1962-1969)
“I have two favorite memories as a Bill. One is that we won back-to-back championships in 1964 and 1965. We are the only Buffalo Bills team that are champions. That is my favorite accomplishment, I believe, along with the rest of my teammates. The other accomplishment is that playing the defensive back position is a very, very difficult position to play and then you are covering receivers one-on-one. You have great quarterbacks that are throwing to them. The receivers that I will never forget are the San Diego Chargers’ Lance Alworth and the Oakland Raiders’ Fred Biletnikoff. Those were very, very difficult receivers to cover.
“Those are some moments that I think served me well and also served the team, because were able to beat those teams at the times when all the other teams were not really doing that well. That helped prevail us into the championship games. I will also add one other moment, with the New York Jets who had Joe Namath and Don Maynard. They made it very, very difficult for us in our division to continue to play at a high level. They had a very, very good team.
“Those are some of my favorite moments as a Bill. I am just so appreciative that I had the opportunity to spend eight years here in Buffalo. Right now, I am still living here and loving it. I think the community here in Western New York is outstanding. This is a great place to be and I do not anticipate leaving Buffalo anytime soon.”
Quotes compiled by Buffalo Bills Media Relations Dept.
Head Coach Marv Levy (1986-1997)
“There are so many memories that it would be almost impossible for me to single out just one of them, but I will go ahead anyway and offer the following as my contribution:
“I can still recall fondly the first time I walked up the tunnel and out onto the field on game day at Ralph Wilson Stadium in early November of 1986, a few days after having been hired to take over as coach of the team in mid-season of that year, and feeling an emotion swell up inside of me that expressed a sentiment I would convey to our players just prior to the kickoff of every game we played during the next 12 years.  And that was: ‘Where else would you rather be than right here, right now!’”
General Manager Bill Polian (1986-1993)
“It is hard to pick one fond memory because there were so many. However, if forced to choose it would be the victory over the Raiders in the 1990 AFC Championship game. For all Western New Yorkers reaching the Super Bowl was a dream come true. To do it in the fashion that we did, 51 to 3, was almost unbelievable . It was a close call but I would take this game over the "greatest comeback ever" by a small margin.”
Offensive Guard Billy Shaw (1961-1969)
“Well I think most people from my era will remember the ’64 and ’65 championship games, especially the first championship for the Bills back in ’64 probably as their fondest memory, and rightfully so. When I go back and reflect over my time in Buffalo, the thing that comes to memory is a loss. That loss was the championship game of ’66. We lost to Kansas City. We were trying to three-peat. We lost, but the circumstances were that if we won that ball game and we certainly intended to win—we go to the very first Super Bowl. That has been on my mind forever and ever and ever. A loss to Kansas City in the championship game cost us from playing not only in a Super Bowl, but the very first one. That would have been so neat.
“Every time I go to Hall of Fame events and see guys from back then, I think about that ball game. We played them about three weeks prior in Kansas City and beat them handedly in Kansas City.  They were coming to Buffalo to play us in Buffalo for the championship. There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to win that football game. Not only did they beat us, they skunked us. They beat us like 31-7. So I have fond memories of ’64 and ’65 championship teams. Long lasting, negative memory of the third championship game.
"I met some great guys. had some great coaches. I remember the guys as much as I do the game and we stay in contact. My stint in Buffalo, the only place I ever played, was fantastic.”
Offensive Guard Joe DeLamielleure (1973-1979)
“My memorable moment actually came 40 years ago against the Patriots. We opened up my rookie year, my first NFL game. I was starting, O.J. Simpson ran for 250 yards and we dominated them. That was the start of the Electric Company.”
 
Defensive End Phil Hansen (1991-2002)
“It is so hard to pick just one and I’m sure everybody says that, but I would say just in totality the training camps at Fredonia. Although they were grueling and they were a grind, when I look back at my time in Buffalo I really enjoyed the training camps in Fredonia in particular. Before cell phones, digital cameras and all that. You could really interact and get to know the fans up close and personal during our walks over from where we practiced to where we ate on campus there. I know that isn’t a football play in particular, and I have some of those too, but I really enjoyed my time at camp in Fredonia.”
Wide Receiver Andre Reed (1985-1999)
“I cannot even begin to tell you how many moments I have, but the one moment that sticks out the most is winning the greatest comeback of all-time. That is probably my fondest moment. Just the way that game progressed, down 28-3 and then coming back to win at the end with Steve Christie’s kick will stay with me forever. There are a whole bunch of other ones but that one probably sticks out more than any other one because of the nature of the game and the way it transpired.”
 
Quarterback Joe Ferguson (1973-1984)
“I will never forget playing a game vs. the Washington Redskins in Ralph Wilson Stadium early in my rookie season. I still had a lot of questions about really being able to play in the NFL. But during warm ups I was watching Billy Kilmer and Sonny Jurgensen throw some passes and from that moment on I said if those two guys can play in this league then I guarantee I can play for a long time. I don't think they threw a pass during warm ups over five yards, and didn't hit many of them. All they did was kick our butt the rest of the day.”
 
Wide Receiver Steve Tasker (1986-1997)              
“My favorite moment as a Buffalo Bill was without question the national anthem of Super Bowl XXV. The country was at war for the first time in my life. My generation was after Vietnam and before the Gulf War. The Gulf War had just started for the first time. There was a big question whether there was going to be a security problem at the game. It was the first time we had ever heard the word security. So it took a long time for everyone to get into the game. It was a real sense of patriotism. The game had a bigger meaning for our country rather than just the Super Bowl, which is funny to say now with the size of the game. The Giants were in blue jerseys with red pants and white trim. We were in white pants, white shirts, blue numbers and red helmets. Everybody in the whole stadium was red, white and blue. Every fan was given a flag when they came into the stadium. Whitney Houston sang the national anthem and she hit it out of the park. It was a home run. As I turned around, Marv Levy was in tears, Jim Kelly was in tears and even the official next to me was in tears. When I looked around the stands, everybody was waving a flag with one hand and wiping tears with the other. It was a pretty emotional moment. The flyover by the jets was cool too. After the jets came, there was an apache gunship with a big machine gun hanging out the side. I did not know it then, but there is a law that you cannot fly less than 1,000 feet over a stadium. He did not appear to me to be 1,000 feet. I could tell the guy had not even shaved that day. That is how close they seemed to be. It was a real statement by the guys that were in charge of the security, you know, let’s go ahead and play the game. It is going to be great. I think it was a real moment for our country, not just both those teams. It turned out to be a tremendous Super Bowl, even though we were on the short end of it.”
 
Running Back Thurman Thomas (1988-1999)
“I’d have to say the 51-3 game: the AFC Championship game to go that first Super Bowl. When it was the fourth quarter, we knew we were going and the fans knew we were going. It was just wild.”
Quarterback Jim Kelly (1986-1996)
“My favorite moment as a Bill has to be the first time I stepped on the field as an NFL player against the New York Jets knowing that a dream came true, not only for myself but for my family, my mother, my dad and my five brothers, that I was in an NFL uniform. I probably have half a dozen other moments in my career, but that one means the most to me because it relates to my family.”
 
Cornerback Booker Edgerson (1962-1969)
 “I have two favorite memories as a Bill. One is that we won back-to-back championships in 1964 and 1965. We are the only Buffalo Bills team that are champions. That is my favorite accomplishment, I believe, along with the rest of my teammates. The other accomplishment is that playing the defensive back position is a very, very difficult position to play and then you are covering receivers one-on-one. You have great quarterbacks that are throwing to them. The receivers that I will never forget are the San Diego Chargers’ Lance Alworth and the Oakland Raiders’ Fred Biletnikoff. Those were very, very difficult receivers to cover.
“Those are some moments that I think served me well and also served the team, because were able to beat those teams at the times when all the other teams were not really doing that well. That helped prevail us into the championship games. I will also add one other moment, with the New York Jets who had Joe Namath and Don Maynard. They made it very, very difficult for us in our division to continue to play at a high level. They had a very, very good team.
“Those are some of my favorite moments as a Bill. I am just so appreciative that I had the opportunity to spend eight years here in Buffalo. Right now, I am still living here and loving it. I think the community here in Western New York is outstanding. This is a great place to be and I do not anticipate leaving Buffalo anytime soon.”
Quotes compiled by Buffalo Bills Media Relations Dept.