*Our celebrity picks continue for the Bills 50th Season All-Time Team. Outside of the late Tim Russert there are few native Buffalonians that wear their colors prouder than Hollywood/television producer and writer Nick Bakay. *
Remember you can vote for your 50th All-Time Team at Buffalobills.com. But without further adieu here is Nick's 50th All-Time Team offense and special teams. We'll release his defensive team and head coach when voting opens for those candidates later this month.*
Let me start by saying it's an honor to be asked to cast a ballot, and I suspect my choices for the Bills 50th team will be a lot like yours -- a mix of obvious superstars and personal favorites who have been overlooked.
First impression? It is incredibly hard to omit any of these names. As Bills fans, we take pride in appreciating our warriors, and all these guys left a ton of blood and guts behind at the Rockpile and the Ralph, and I salute you. That being said, the whole point is to have an opinion, and away we go!
JIM KELLY – With all due respect to the other candidates, for me this one was the no-brainer. He called his own plays, displayed incredible toughness, and had the kind of arm that could laser a ball though any kind of weather. Simply put, whenever Jim had the ball I believed we had a chance to win, and QB's like that come along once in a lifetime.
JIM BRAXTON – Look, Thurman and O.J. are already on the Wall and in the Hall, as they should be -- which gives me a chance to show some love for a great Bill who is oft forgotten. While the superstar backs had speed and flash, there was something incredibly Buffalo about watching Braxton blast through the middle and carry four defenders an extra twelve yards on his back.
ANDRE REED – Is it too early to add T.O.?! I kid. Despite high hopes for the coming year, no man can eclipse number one on my list. Andre is the next great Bill who should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He went over the middle without fear, he could catch the long-ball, he was the best run-after-catch receiver I ever saw, and he came up big when the game was on the line.
ERIC MOULDS – The other inarguable game-changer at WR. At the top of his game, Moulds was unstoppable. His bad luck was to come along just past the team's prime years.
FRANK LEWIS – Since Lofton is already in the HOF, I'm going to go with Frank Lewis, who came to Buffalo from the Steelers when things were bad, and helped Chuck Knox turn the team's fortunes around. Anyone who lived through the Bills losing the entire decade of the Seventies to Miami has a special place for the guys who ended that nightmare.
PAUL SEYMOUR – The fact is, we've never had a flashy Tight End who put up big numbers, so I'm voting for a converted Tackle who flat-out destroyed D-Linemen and played a huge role in the 2,003- rushing yard odyssey.
KENT HULL – Guess what? All my O-line picks played away from the glamour in the middle where games are won, and it starts smack dab in the center of the line with Hull. A great player with a great mind -- calling all those blocking audibles without a huddle was a huge part of the most exciting offense in team history – the K-Gun years.
RUBEN BROWN – Never saw a guy make more Pro-Bowls (8!) and get less love.
JIM RITCHER – Put in so many years of solid play, got better every year as evidenced by finally making Pro Bowls late in his career, quietly got both shoulders sewn back on and came back for more.
JOE DELAMIELLEURE – I almost passed on Joe when I realized I had to type his last name correctly, but in all seriousness, you don't get into the Hall of Fame as a guard without doing some remarkable work in the trenches. I also admire his current advocacy for the care of fallen former players.
BILLY SHAW – I wasn't dialed in for Shaw's prime, but for an AFL guy to carry the kind of rep that gets you into the Hall of Fame many years after the merger, well, that's all I need to trust this was an incredible football player.
SCOTT NORWOOD – One of the proudest moments I ever had as a Bills fan was watching the welcome Scott got in front of City Hall after our first Super Bowl loss. Much is made of our hard luck ride down Super Bowl lane, but it comes with a certain pride that we don't point fingers and scapegoat players who give their all, win or lose, and I think Norwood deserves this honor for all the great kicks he made. Honorable mention to John Leypoldt, who made more tackles on kickoff coverage than any kicker I ever saw, and not just emergency tackles – he liked to dish out the pain, baby!
PAUL MAGUIIRE – with all due respect to the superb Brian Moorman, until he opens a bar like "Sestak and Maguires," where a young dreamer name o' Bakay had a few sodden nights, I have to go with the guy who not only was a terrific kicker, but played a little linebacker as well.
STEVE TASKER - Needless to say, Tasker should be the first special team ace to get voted into the Hall of Fame, but in the meantime he'll have to settle for my kudos. I never saw a more versatile player – who else blocked the kicks, returned the kicks, and tackled everything in sight? P.S. – he was a hell of a receiver when Kelly demanded he get into the game on offense.