San Diego State
"While everyone was talking about Pittsburgh's rookie quarterback Terry Bradshaw last summer, Bradshaw's counterpart in Buffalo, Dennis Shaw of San Diego State, wasn't even in training camp.
Shaw, the Bills' second round draft choice in 1970, became a salary holdout even before even before his first professional season. The 24-year-old passer finally reached a settlement and joined the Bills just in time for the last exhibition game. Asked if he thought he'd blown a chance to win the starting job by reporting late, Shaw replied candidly, 'I've been following the team in the newspapers and from the statistics I've seen, they can't be too far ahead of me.' He was right. The 6-2, 209-pounder moved into the starting job in the third game of the season and promptly led the Bills to their first victory.
In beating the Jets, Shaw completed 12 of 21 passes for 317 yards. Though Buffalo won only two more games, Shaw became an instant leader and certainly made the team more competitive than it had been in recent years. Possessing a strong arm and good range, Shaw passed his way to Rookie of the Year honors with a 55.5 completion percentage, 10 touchdown passes, an average gain of 7.81 yards, and 2,507 yards passing.
Looking toward the '71 season, Shaw confidently remarked, 'This year , to me, was just a rehearsal for next season, when we're going to be a winner."
-Brenda Zanger, Pro Football 1971