Wednesday, July 30, 2014

1965 Profile: Tom Sestak

Defensive Tackle
No. 70
McNeese State
"Hardly anybody will argue the point. Tom Sestak is the greatest defensive tackle in the AFL - and maybe the NFL, as well.
He's a scout's dream-come-true, a small-college sleeper. Tom played for tiny McNeese State and was drafted 17th by the Bills back in 1961.
He's a 6-4, 270-pounder with the disposition and reflexes of a mountain lion. He runs so fast that enemy quarterbacks can't get out of his way, and he knocks down ball-carriers as if he were swatting flies."

-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965

"'Tom Sestak is the best defensive tackle in the AFL,' flatly states head coach Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders. There was must be plenty of football men who agree with Davis because Sestak was on virtually everyone's All-AFL team last season. The 6'4", 270-pound Texan is another example of the unpublicized college player who rises to the top in the competitive world of pro football - where campus headliners often fall by the wayside.
Sestak was spotted by Harvey Johnson, Buffalo's director of player personnel in 1961 when Tom was a senior at little McNeese State in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Johnson was favorably impressed by the big youngster, but the Bills took their time before drafting him in the 17th round. Admits Johnson: 'Sure, he looked like a good prospect, but nothing like he's turned out to be.'
The defensive tackle was Buffalo's outstanding rookie in 1962 and made the All-AFL second team. Despite breaking a rib in an early 1963 exhibition game against Kansas City, Tom came back in time for the season's opener against San Diego, averaged nine unassisted tackles per game and made every important All-AFL team. Last season he anchored Buffalo's superb defensive forward wall, which included such stalwarts as Tom Day, Jim Dunaway and Roland McDole, as the team ran away with the Eastern Division title. Playing against the San Diego Chargers in the championship game, Sestak was a key member of a three-man rush that harried veteran quarterback Tobin Rote all afternoon and helped the Bills to a 20-7 victory.
Sestak's will to win also rubs off on his teammates.
'You work against Tom in practice every day and you either improve or retire,' says All-AFL guard Billy Shaw. Rival coach Sid Gilman of the Chargers just about sums it up when he calls the 29-year-old native of Gonzales, Texas 'a great football player.'"

-Bill Wise, 1965 Official Pro Football Almanac

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