"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
"In the opening moments of last season's first game in Buffalo, Len Dawson of the Kansas City Chiefs faded back and lofted a screen pass. Before the pass reached the intended receiver, tackle Tom Sestak of the Bills picked it off and rumbled 15 yards for a score.
In the next two minutes and 33 seconds, Buffalo scored three more touchdowns and started its march toward the AFL championship. Throughout the season, Sestak- called by veteran Boston quarterback Babe Parilli 'the finest defensive lineman in all pro football'- was to make the big plays.
The key to winning any title is defense, and Tom is the pivotal figure on Buffalo's great front four. He owns one of the best pass rushes around and, over the past two years, has averaged 10 unassisted tackles per game.
Sestak has surpassed all expectations since he came to the Bills as a 17th round draft choice in 1962. He stands 6-4, weighs 270 and can move. Check with any offensive guard around the league who has tangled with him. San Diego's Walt Sweeney supplied the perfect tribute when he asked: 'If Sestak isn't All-World, I'd like to know, who is? There just couldn't by anyone better.'"
-Sports All-Stars/1965 Pro Football
"One of the most popular stars on the Buffalo club, Tom is regarded as the American Football League's outstanding defensive lineman. The defensive captain of the Bills, No. 70 has no equal when it comes to putting a rush on the opposing quarterback. Extremely mobile and fast, Tom need only catch a piece of a runner to bring him down.
Tom was a real sleeper and wasn't picked until the 17th round of the 1962 draft. At the close of the '62 season, he was voted Rookie of the Year in the AFL in many polls."
-1965 Topps No. 40
"Hulking Jim Dunaway teams with Tom Sestak to give the Bills a defensive tackle duet worth avoiding. Lou Saban says he wouldn't trade them for any two linemen in football, and you can't blame him. Dunaway is just as heavy as Sestak at 270 pounds, but perhaps not as fast. But when he lands on somebody, it makes very little difference. Jim's only real problem is keeping his weight under control.
He was an All-America at Ole Miss, where he played in both the Sugar and Cotton Bowls."
-Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1965
"When Jim came out of college, he was voted 'one of the most likely to succeed in the pros.' The big defensive tackle is good now and everyone seems to agree that he'll be even better in the future.
The powerful Mr. Dunaway was a unanimous choice for All-American at the University of Mississippi. Before coming to the Bills, Jim played in the Coaches All-America Game, the College All-Star Game and the Cotton Bowl.
Along with teammate Tom Sestak, Jim [forms] the AFL's most dangerous defensive tackle duo."
-1965 Topps No. 29
"Though listed on the Buffalo roster as a defensive tackle, Tom can also be used as a defensive end.
In 1964 Tom got his chance to break into the Bills' defensive lineup when Jim Dunaway nursed an injured leg early in the season. The rookie played so well that he was awarded a regular job. Tom suffered a broken leg midway through the season and now faces the chore of winning a chance to play regularly again.
The former Michigan star is a great competitor. Like the Mounties, Tom always gets his man."
-1965 Topps No. 34
"Roland is a big bruiser who has the speed and mobility to go along with his size. Opposing quarterbacks try to stay out of the way of this tough red-dogger.
Acquired by the Bills in 1963, it took half a year until he received a chance to play regularly. Given the opportunity to show his stuff, Roland has been one of the Buffalo reliables ever since.
Roland was an offensive end while playing for Nebraska. He was a top collegiate basketball player and has played college baseball, too."
-1965 Topps No. 38
North Carolina A & T
"After a brilliant collegiate career, Tom has had a regular job with the Buffalo Bills since early in 1961. Coach Saban received top performances from Day all year, as Tom and teammate Ron McDole provided a top exterior pass rush. A quick and mobile runner, Tom is expected to improve upon last year's performance in 1965 with the arrival of Remi Prudhomme.
Popular among his teammates, Tom is noted for his coolness and good sense of humor. He works as a salesman in Buffalo during the off-season."
-1965 Topps No. 27