Wednesday, September 30, 2015

1975 Profile: John Ray

Linebackers Coach
"John Ray's varied coaching career includes experience at every level of the game- high school, college and professional.
A native of South Bend, Indiana, Ray has been closely associated with Notre Dame, as a student and football center for one year (1944) and for five seasons as an assistant coach. When his college education was interrupted by Army Service in World War II, Ray transferred from Notre Dame to Olivet College, where he received his B.A. degree in 1950.
Upon graduation, Ray immediately accepted a job as assistant football coach at Sturgis (Michigan) High School and, two years later, a head coaching position at Three Rivers (Michigan) High. Named to the University of Detroit staff in 1955, Ray served as an assistant for four seasons before becoming head coach at John Carroll University in Cleveland. His five-year record of 29-6 included three undefeated seasons and a string of six national defensive marks.
Ray left to join Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame, helping assemble the Irish's 1966 National Championship squad. He was Irish defensive coordinator for five seasons and assistant head coach, as well, for two. In December 1968, Ray was chosen head football coach at the University of Kentucky. He rebuilt the Wildcats' sagging football fortunes and , in the process, scored major upsets over Mississippi and Kansas State.
Ray became the Bills linebacker coach in 1973."

-Buffalo Bills 1975 Yearbook

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

1975 Profile: Stan Jones

Defensive Line Coach
"An All-America tackle at the University of Maryland, where he played on Jim Tatum's 1953 national titlists, Stan Jones has been a coaching companion of Lou Saban since 1967 when he joined Lou's Denver Bronco staff. Moving to Buffalo with Saban in 1972, Jones has responsibility for the Bills' defensive line.
During his varsity career at Maryland, Jones appeared in the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl and College All-Star Game. The Terrapin All-America was runner-up in the 1953 balloting for the Outland Trophy.
Picked by the Chicago Bears in the third round of the 1954 collegiate draft, Jones played 12 years in Chicago, nine years as an offensive guard and three as a defensive tackle. Captain of the Bears for three seasons, Stan was named to the All-Pro team four times and played in seven NFL Pro Bowl games. He closed out his career with the Washington Redskins in 1966.
Jones got his start in pro coaching at Denver, where he also handled the defensive line. In five seasons, he developed such Bronco standouts as Lyle Alzado, Pete Duranko, Rich Jackson and Paul Smith before leaving for Buffalo."

-Buffalo Bills 1975 Yearbook

Sunday, September 27, 2015

1975 Profile: Ed Cavanaugh

Special Assignments Coach
"Ed Cavanaugh was in college coaching for almost 20 years, four of them as football skipper at Idaho State University (1968-71). In a career that began in 1954, Cavanaugh also served as a collegiate assistant at Kansas State (1954-58), the University of Arizona (1959-66) and Utah State (1967).
An offensive lineman for the legendary Wallace Wade at Duke University, Cavanaugh graduated in 1951 after winning two football letters for the Blue Devils. He entered the Navy after leaving Duke and became player/coach of the Bainbridge (MD) Naval Training Center team.
Following separation from the service, Ed took a job as assistant football coach at Petersburg (VA) High School. He was head freshman coach for three years and offensive line mentor for two at Kansas State, served as line coach for eight seasons at Arizona and was appointed offensive coordinator at Utah State in 1967. A four-year tenure as head coach at Idaho State followed.
Cavanaugh's Buffalo responsibilities include the kicking and punting games and the handling of the Bills' special teams."

-1975 Buffalo Bills Yearbook

Saturday, September 26, 2015

1975 Profile: Bill Atkins

Defensive Backs Coach
"An All-Pro defensive back for the Bills in the early 1960's, Bill Atkins gave up the twin responsibilities of football coach and athletic director at Troy State (Alabama) University to become part of Lou Saban's Buffalo staff in 1972.
A fullback, linebacker, punter and kickoff specialist, Atkins was an All-Conference choice and MVP of Auburn University's 1957 National Champions. He set school records for touchdowns (11) and points (84) in a single season. Bill was chosen to play in the North-South Shrine Game, Senior Bowl and College All-Star Game at the conclusion of his undergraduate career.
A third round draft choice of the San Francisco 49ers, Atkins played two seasons in the NFL before signing with the Bills in 1960. He had his best year in 1961 when he led the Bills in pass interceptions with 10 and punting with a 45.0 average. Both are still club records. He was named to the AFL All-Pro squad and participated in the 1961 League all-star game. Atkins also won the NFA Third Down Award, made on the basis of a vote by his Buffalo teammates.
Traded to the Jets in 1963, Bill was back briefly with Buffalo in 1964 before finishing up his playing career in Denver. He was appointed head coach and athletic director at Jordan High School in Columbus, Georgia in 1965, and a year later went to Troy State."

-Buffalo Bills 1975 Yearbook

Thursday, September 24, 2015

1975 Profile: Lou Saban

Vice-President and Head Coach
"Lou Saban was on hand when the American Football League launched its bold new experiment on July 30, 1960, with a preseason game with the Boston Patriots, Saban's team then, and the Buffalo Bills, his team now.
Playing in Buffalo, where he has since achieved spectacular success in two different tours as head coach of the Bills, Saban directed the visiting Patriots to a 28-7 victory that got the AFL off and running.
That first game is only one of the many milestones Saban has marked in his 15 seasons of professional coaching. Others include:
-the AFL's first regular season game (9/9/60)- Denver 13,Boston 10;
-the AFL's first divisional playoff game (12/28/63)- Boston 26, Buffalo 8;
-the first AFL-NFL preseason game (8/5/67)- Denver 13, Detroit 7;
-the last game to be played in New York's Polo Grounds (12/8/63)- Buffalo 19, New York Jets 10.
It was also Saban who produced the AFL's first 1,000-yard rusher, fullback Cookie Gilchrist (1,098 yards) in 1962. He has since developed two more- Floyd Little at Denver and O.J. Simpson. Saban's 1973 Bills set a standard for rushing excellence unmatched in NFL annals when, triggered by Simpson's record 2,003-yard year, they became the first team in history to gain more than 3,000 yards on the ground.
In the three seasons since his return to Buffalo, Saban has restored the Bills to the stature they enjoyed with back-to-back AFL titles in the mid-1960s. The Bills' 9-5 record of a year ago put them in the playoffs for the first time since 1966.
Lou's personal mark in seven seasons as skipper of the Bills is 58-36-4, a winning percentage of almost 60%. Only one of his clubs finished with less than a winning season, and his 1964 AFL champions reeled off 12 triumphs, still the Bills' best effort ever.
Born in on October 13, 1921 in Brookfield, Illinois, Saban was a single-wing quarterback at the University of Indiana under Bo McMillan. Captain of the Hoosiers, he was the team's MVP in 1942. His collegiate playing career was cut short by World War II. Saban served in the Army for four years, much of it as a Chinese language interpreter in the China-Burma theatre.
Returning from service, Saban caught on as a free agent with the fledgling Cleveland Browns of the infant All-America Football Conference. He played linebacker for Paul Brown's powerhouse teams of the late '40s, appearing in four consecutive Conference championship games and earning a berth on league all-star teams in both 1948 and 1949.
Captain of the Browns' undefeated (14-0) 1948 squad, Saban intercepted 13 passes in his four-year playing career. In addition to linebacker, he was also Otto Graham's backup at quarterback although, 'thankfully,' as Lou puts it, 'Otto was able to play most of the time.' Injuries to both shoulders forced Saban to retire following the 1949 season.
First stop on a coaching career that now spans 25 years was Case Institute in Cleveland, where Saban directed the football program for three seasons (1950-52). He moved to the University of Washington as an assistant in 1953 and to Northwestern in the same capacity a year later. Named head coach of the Wildcats in 1955, Saban left Evanston after one season and spent the next year in private business.
Western Illinois University beckoned in 1957 and Saban accepted the assignment of rebuilding the Leathernecks' football fortunes. He did it in dramatic fashion, taking Western from a 5-4 record in his rookie season to an unbeaten 9-0 mark in 1959.
His success at Western Illinois attracted the attention of the Boston Patriots, who selected Saban as the first coach of the new American Football League club. The Patriots won five games in their initial season and were 2-3 after five weeks of the 1961 campaign when Saban was replaced by Mike Holovak.
Ralph Wilson promptly hired Lou as the Bills' Director of Player Personnel, and a year later (1962) gave him the Buffalo coaching job. The move paid off with AFL titles in 1964 and 1965, back-to-back AFL Coach of the Year citations for Saban, and a flood of Buffalo victories.
A yearn to return to college coaching took Saban to Maryland in 1966, but a year later he was back in professional football as general manager-head coach of the Denver Broncos. The Broncos' stock rose steadily on the field and off under Saban's imaginative leadership. His effort was instrumental in a $1.8 million stadium renovation and his judgement of player personnel laid the foundation for the Broncos' recent successes.
Saban's triumphant return to Buffalo quickened the pulses of victory-hungry Bills fans. 'The Buffalo Bills,' one writer put it, 'are pinning their hopes on the second coming of their very own messiah.'"

-Buffalo Bills 1975 Yearbook

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

1975 Profile: Budd Thalman

Vice-President, Public Relations
"Budd Thalman came to the Buffalo organization in 1973 after spending 11 years as Sports Information Director at the U.S. Naval Academy. A native of Wheeling, West Virginia, he is a 1957 journalism graduate of West Virginia University.
He worked for one year in the Associated Press bureau in Huntington, WV before entering the Army where he served from 1958-60 as Public Information Officer for Fort Jay, Governor's Island, New York. Thalman returned to the AP in 1960, transferring to the Annapolis, Maryland bureau. He went to the Naval Academy in January 1962."

-Buffalo Bills 1975 Yearbook

Monday, September 21, 2015

1975 Profile: Jim Cipriano

Ticket Director
"Tickets have always been Jim Cipriano's business. Starting with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad following World War II service in the U.S. Marine Corps, later with the Pennsylvania Railroad and the University of Pittsburgh athletic department, Cipriano has accumulated almost 30 years of experience in his profession. The likable native of Youngstown, Ohio was named Bills Ticket Director in April 1969.
Prior to his Buffalo appointment, Cipriano was Assistant Business Manager of Athletics for 12 years at the University of Pittsburgh. While at Pitt, he attended evening classes for six years to earn his Bachelor of Business Administration degree."

-Buffalo Bills 1975 Yearbook

Sunday, September 20, 2015

1975 Profile: Pat McGroder

Vice-President
"An early champion of Buffalo's AFL franchise was Patrick J. McGroder, the city's sports coordinator at the time Ralph Wilson brought the young Bills to Western New York. At Wilson's insistence, McGroder joined the club's front office staff in 1962 as Vice-President. The longtime Buffalo native serves as the organization's advertising sales coordinator and handles other special duties at the management level.
McGroder attended St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute and Hutchinson High School, and Canisuius and Chattanooga Colleges. He founded McKinley Liquor Company in 1942 after achieving the position of National Sales Representative for W.A. Taylor Importers. McGroder was the Buffalo Athletic Club's Sportsman of the Year in 1955 and winner of the Chamber of Commerce 'Good Government Award' three years later. His efforts in promoting professional football games for Buffalo nearly enabled him to secure an NFL franchise for the city.
He has remained fast friends with such legendary pro football figures as George Halas of Chicago and Art Rooney of Pittsburgh. In addition to sports coordinator, McGroder also served as Buffalo Parks Commissioner and President of the Police Athletic League."

-Buffalo Bills 1975 Yearbook

Thursday, September 17, 2015

1975 Profile: Bob Lustig

Vice-President and General Manager
"Bills Vice-President and General Manager Bob Lustig has been an associate of Owner Ralph Wilson since 1948. When Wilson became one of the original members of the newly-born American Football League in 1960, he entrusted Lustig with the responsibility for signing many of the players on the original Bills roster.
Four years later, Lustig was devoting himself full time to the Bills operation as a Vice-President. He took on the additional title of General Manager in 1967. In addition to directing the Buffalo organization's administrative, ticket and stadium operations, Lustig also represents the club at official League meetings and sits on the Board of Directors of National Football League Properties, Inc.
The Bills General Manager was a key figure in the drive for a new stadium to house Buffalo's NFL franchise- a dream finally realized in 1973 with the dedication of a magnificent 80,020-seat facility in Orchard, Park, New York.
'We built the stadium with the comfort of the fan as our foremost concern,' Lustig says. 'We feel we have the finest football facility in the League.'
For all of his present association with football, Lustig's first love was baseball- a sport he played on the American Legion level as a high school student in Detroit, and later as a freshman at the University of Detroit. His college career was interrupted by Army service in World War II, where he saw action in the European theater as a member of the 104th Infantry Division. He returned to Detroit following the war to complete his college education, then went to work for the Ralph Wilson Agency."

-Buffalo Bills 1975 Yearbook

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

1975 Profile: Ralph Wilson

President and Owner
"The face of modern professional football has been shaped by men like Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., only owner of the Buffalo Bills since their induction as one of the original members of the American Football League in 1960.
A sports interest that dated from boyhood stimulated Wilson to first purchase a minority interest in the NFL Detroit Lions and later to join ranks with Lamar Hunt and the other principals of the new AFL. The youthful owner chose Buffalo as the home for his fledgling franchise on October 17, 1959, and six weeks later named it 'the Bills.'
In the 16 years that have passed since, professional football has enjoyed explosive popularity and expansion, completed a major merger and been beset by labor strife. Ralph Wilson has remained involved.
It was Wilson and Carroll Rosenbloom, then owner of the Baltimore Colts, who in January 1965 had the first tentative talks that would ultimately lead to the AFL-NFL merger. A past president of the AFL, Wilson served as a member of the expansion committee and the AFL-NFL Negotiations Committee.
The Bills owner presently serves on the prestigious NFL Labor Committee, and has been continuously involved in bargaining talks with the NFL Players' Association.
A resident of Detroit since moving there with his family as a youngster, Wilson won his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and later attended the University of Michigan law school. He enlisted in the Navy in World War II, earning his commission within a year and serving aboard minesweepers in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres.
Among many business pursuits, Wilson is president of the Ralph C. Wilson Insurance Agency and Motorcar, an auto transport business. His interest in sports, however, extends beyond football. He owns a stable of thoroughbred race horses and is an avid tennis player, skier and golfer.
From the inception of the Bills, Wilson has played a dynamic and active role in the organization. He is determined in his effort to bring two things- 'winning football and a Super Bowl trophy'- to the NFL faithful of Western New York.
Wilson's contribution to the game was recognized by the weekly publication Football News, which named him Man of the Year in 1973. 'He has been a tower of strength in the administration of professional football,' the newspaper said."

-Buffalo Bills 1975 Yearbook

1975 Buffalo Bills Outlook

"Three seasons after they were the basket case of professional football, the Bills made the NFL playoffs. The question now is where do they go from here?
The Bills might have arrived ahead of schedule. Their offense can move the ball on any team now, and it doesn't just consist of O.J. Simpson. But there is quite some doubt about whether the defense belongs in the upper echelon.
Coach Lou Saban won the playoff struggle with a combination of guile and tactics last year. He switched to the three down linemen-four linebacker defense at mid-season, even though he admits he isn't enamored of the device as a full-time setup. He used everyone but his nieces and nephews at linebacker.
This year Saban hopes he can find enough defensive end talent to return to the normal four-man front. And to help plug the other holes in the Bills' defense, his first three draft choices were defenders- two linebackers and a strong side safety.
But even if he doesn't improve this area, Saban's principal weapon's are on the attack. O.J. Simpson got injured in the first game of the season and never did fully recover. Even so, he ran for 1,125 yards, third in the NFL. The Bills' attack revolves around O.J., but it does not begin and end with him. When he got hurt last year, the Bills showed the world they can throw the football.
For half the season young Joe Ferguson led the AFC in passing. He was the sort of passer who excited the scouts in his early college days at Arkansas. With two years as a starter in his background, Ferguson's future seems unlimited. He could improve the Bills by 10 per cent himself this year.
Ferguson has two of the most dangerous receivers in football playing wide receiver for him. It seems almost suicidal to grant either J.D. Hill or Ahmad Rashad single coverage.
The big experiment will be at tight end. Paul Seymour has done a competent job there for two years, but he was originally a first round draftee as a tackle. The Bills need him there. Last year's No. 1 pick, Reuben Gant, is a tight end. He was hurt in training camp and didn't get much of a chance until late in the season. Saban thinks he can play regularly with Seymour moving inside to give more speed to the offensive line.
Saban wants as much versatility as possible in the line to make maximum use of O.J. Teams were taking away much of the outside on Simpson last year with gimmick defenses like the 3-4. Seymour can challenge either Dave Foley or Donnie Green at tackle. The guards are set with Joe DeLamielleure and Reggie McKenzie, and Mike Montler had a good year at center.
Fullback Jim Braxton is one of O.J.'s most important blockers. Braxton is a punishing power runner but he fumbled too much last year. Penn State's Tom Donchez was the team's fourth round pick, the first offensive player the Bills selected. He moves in behind Braxton (after the trade of Larry Watkins).
Buffalo traded both of its return men, Wallace Francis (kickoffs) and Donnie Walker (punts), opening up a spot for Gil Chapman, the team's seventh round selection from Michigan. Chapman returned both kickoffs and punts for the Wolverines, and he seems to have a place on the roster made to order for him.
Saban's problem in the defensive line is an oversupply of tackles. Earl Edwards' best position was inside. Mike Kadish had an excellent year there. Jeff Winans, who tore up a knee during the exhibition season, is one of the most promising youngsters on the Buffalo squad but he, too, is a tackle. The only natural end is Walt Patulski. The big hope is that Winans can make the switch.
The only proven linebacker on the Buffalo squad is John Skorupan and he underwent knee surgery midway through last season. Middle linebacker Jim Cheyunski is a plugger but he is very small for his job. Dave Washington makes some big plays and commits some glaring errors.
The first two draft picks were a pair of linebackers from Nebraska, Tom Ruud and Bob Nelson. It wouldn't be a big surprise if Skorupan, pro sophomore Doug Allen and the two rookies did most of the playing.
Buffalo's secondary is the strongest part of its defensive game. It contains two All-Pros, free safety Tony Greene and cornerback Robert James. With Greene in the deep secondary, Saban can afford to play the gambling Dwight Harrison at the other corner. Ex-Bengal Neal Craig had a peaks-and-valleys season at strong safety. Saban drafted Glenn Lott of Drake in the second round to assure Craig's concentration.
The Bills have a superior place kicker in John Leypoldt, and former Cowboy Marv Bateman punted well for them."

-Larry Felser, Pro Football 1975

OFFENSE
"Quarterbacks: For the first five weeks, Fergy was the NFL's leading passer; he wound up 13th. Experience will bring maturity. Gary Marangi's development has to come vicariously. Scott Hunter is nice to have.
Performance Quotient: 3 [1 through 5, 1 being best]
Running Backs: Injuries held O.J. to 1,125 yards, a ho-hum output for him. But no NFL player is more of an obsession to NFL strategists- thus other avenues are open to the Bills. As a power runner and blocker, Jim Braxton complements him well but coughs up the ball a lot. Gary Hayman, O.J.'s understudy, is coming back from a broken leg. Don Calhoun and Tom Donchez compete behind Braxton. Reggie Cherry is a interesting new arrival and Clint Haslerig will be struggling to hang on.
Performance Quotient: 1
Wide Receivers: Ahmad Rashad and J.D. Hill give deep backs the heebie-jeebies. They're fast, quick and elusive. When they add concentration ... wow! Reuben Gant, who's also fast, has another chance to prove he can start and, of course, block. If so, Paul Seymour is free to upgrade the offensive tackle situation. Bob Chandler comes back from knee surgery. Gil Chapman will return kicks.
Performance Quotient: 2
Interior Linemen: Powerful, purposeful drive blockers one and all. But their pass protection could improve. Screen passes are hardly used because Dave Foley and Donnie Green are more than a trifle slow. A shift of Seymour from tight end would add mobility. Reggie McKenzie again received All-Pro recognition but Joe D. did better in battle. Mike Montler knows the ropes.
Halvor Hagen was adequate when he got a chance. Bill Adams is an aggressive spot player. Bruce Jarvis, who used to start, has had considerable difficulty bouncing back from knee surgery. Willie Parker, who also snaps on punts, is competent.
Performance Quotient: 2
Kickers: John Leypoldt seems better from long range than short. Waived by Dallas, Marv Bateman found northern air suits his fancy.
Performance Quotient: 2"

-Larry Felser, Pro Football 1975

DEFENSE
"Front Linemen: The return of Jeff Winans from knee surgery is the key. It is hoped he can slide from tackle to fill the void at right end. Otherwise he'll change places with Earl Edwards, although the Bills would prefer Edwards at tackle. On Notre Dame's side of the line, Mike Kadish is a willing brawler but Walt Patulski hasn't been inspired with any semblance of regularity. Don Croft, a '73 knee case, was undistinguished. Jeff Yeates is learning and Dave Means is for emergencies.
Performance Quotient: 3
Linebackers: Help is on the way to this beleaguered area. Tom Ruud and Bob Nelson, rough-and-ready Cornhuskers, were drafted 1-2. Ruud will probably move right in. Jim Cheyunski is wise and gutsy but gets shoved around; sooner or later he'll give way to Doug Allen- or maybe even one of the rookies. John Skorupan, out injured the last eight games, is an asset.
Dave Washington can look like a game's best player, or one of the worst. Bo Cornell does an honest day's labor. John McCrumbly is intriguing; he looks fat, though.
Performance Quotient: 3
Cornerbacks: The Bills were No. 3 in the NFL in pass defense. A rash of ill-timed penalties not withstanding, Robert James again was All-Pro. Dwight Harrison is gradually picking up the finer points. Harry Banks will get a look.
Performance Quotient: 2
Safeties: No pro safety had a better year than Tony Greene. He was the heart of the team and made a ton of big plays. Neal Craig is all right but must do better to stay ahead of rookie Glenn Lott.
Performance Quotient: 2"

-Larry Felser, Pro Football 1975


"The Buffalo Bills discovered something fascinating last year- that quarterback Joe Ferguson could do more than just turn around and say to O.J. Simpson, 'Here, you take it.'
They found, to their delight, that Ferguson knew how to throw the ball and, equally important, when. The quarterback, who had spent the 1973 season watching Simpson bash his way to 2,003 yards, threw the ball with such timeliness and accuracy that he wound up ahead of such names as Jim Plunkett, Mike Phipps and a guy on the Pittsburgh Steelers named Bradshaw in the AFC passing statistics. That was one of the major reasons why the opposition found it couldn't key on O.J. and assume the Bills' offense would come apart. The opposition's going to find out something even more unnerving this time around- that it won't be able to run on the Bills the way it did in '74. The Bills will be doing the running, right to the top of the Eastern Division.
'This, I believe, is our year,' O.J. said matter-of-factly as he looked toward the '75 campaign. And Coach Lou Saban echoed: 'I believe we've plugged up a few of the holes that kept us from winning a few more games last year.' What they both mean, of course, is that the close ones will now go to Buffalo instead of against them.
The biggest hole was at linebacker. Not anymore. Not with their first two draft picks, Nebraska All-American Tom Ruud and teammate Bob Nelson, selected to the All-Conference team in the Big Eight.
Behind them are such standouts as safety Tony Greene, second in the NFL with nine interceptions, and cornerback Robert James, plus rookie defensive back Glenn Lott from Drake. In front, Mike Kadish and Earl Edwards anchor the line and improvement can be expected with Jeff Winans returning from an injury that kept him out of action last year.
Still, offense is the Bills' ace in the hole- and O.J. is no longer the only man who has to find the holes in the defense to keep them moving. Ferguson can be counted on to throw a lot more than the slim 232 passes he attempted last year, and Ahmad Rashad and J.D. Hill can be expected to catch a lot more than the 68 and 1,005 yards they combined for in '74.
'I think last year I had to spend a lot of time proving to people I actually knew how to pass,' Ferguson joked. 'Of course, now that they know that I can, I may have a little more trouble trying to.'
And if he doesn't feel like putting the ball in the air, so what? O.J. can move it anytime he wants, as his 1,125 yards, third best in the league, showed last year. And not to be overlooked is Jim Braxton, almost sure to improve from the solid 543 yards he amassed last year, as is Larry Watkins, who provided some key yards and, equally important, allowed Simpson and Braxton to catch their breath when necessary.
Almost anyone would look good behind the offensive line the Bills have, headed by Simpson's 'main men': Reggie McKenzie, Mike Montler and Joe DeLamielleure, plus valuable tight end Paul Seymour.
If a weak spot can be found on the Bills it might be punter Marv Bateman, but with O.J. and ball control, he won't do his thing that much. If Buffalo can't get the ball all the way to the end zone, John Leypoldt will get three points as he did 19 times last year when the place kicker was third in the AFC in scoring.
But don't count on John to do too much field goal kicking this year. Mostly he'll be involved in extra points- lots of times."

-Bruce Lowitt, Gridiron News 1975 Pro Yearbook


"A superb season-long performance by the defense plus another great contribution by football's finest running back, O.J. Simpson, brought Lou Saban's Bills a fine 9-5 record and a wild card berth in the playoffs. After jumping off to a 7-1 mark, injuries pointed up lack of depth at key positions which resulted in the sharp decline capped by a 32-14 playoff loss to the Steelers.
Saban hopes he corrected a glaring weakness at the linebacking via the draft. The No. 1 and No. 2 picks were used to secure the Nebraska duo of 6'3"/225 Tom Ruud and 6'4"/230 Bob Nelson, while the No. 5 choice was huge (6'3"/250) John McCrumbly of Texas A&M. All are top prospects and should shake up the holdover contingent of John Skorupan, Doug Allen, Dave Washington, Jim Cheyunski and Bo Cornell. When forced to resort to a 3-4 defense midway in the season, Saban got good performances from Earl Edwards, Mike Kadish and Walt Patulski up front. They'll be back along with Jeff Winans.
No team in the NFL boasted a better secondary than Buffalo. They allowed only 11 touchdown passes and had two starters named to the All-Pro team, cornerback Robert James, premier bump-and-run defender, and Buffalo's MVP, free safety Tony Greene. The late season injury to Greene was a crippling blow. Dwight Harrison, Neal Craig, Rex Kern and Bill Cahill round out the secondary and are joined by Glenn Lott of Drake.
Long-striding kick returner Wally Francis (25. average) may team with newcomer Gil Chapman of Michigan this year. Marv Bateman returns as the punter and John Leypoldt will perform placement booting.
Despite Joe Ferguson's improved passing, opponents continued to ignore the aerial threat and concentrate on stopping O.J. Handicapped by sore ankles and knees, Simpson nonetheless carried the ball 270 times more than any back in the NFL and racked up 1,125 yards from scrimmage. Mr. Superstar enjoyed some fine blocking from fullback Jim Braxton, who returns with Don Calhoun and young Tom Donchez of Penn State.
Although blessed with gifted flankers in Ahmad Rashad, the mercurial J.D. Hill, and Bob Chandler, Buffalo's three quarterbacks (Ferguson, Scott Hunter and Gary Marangi) managed to gain only 1,492 yards in the air, an AFC low, and had the worst overall stats in the conference.
Rookie tight end Reuben Gant was injured in a preseason contest but is expected to take over that job this campaign, allowing Saban to shift powerful Paul Seymour back to his normal tackle position where he will team with Donnie Green. Reggie McKenzie and Joe DeLamielleure at guards and Mike Montler at center are a superior interior unit, as O.J. will quickly and happily testify.
Buffalo faces a tough schedule this season and, unless Saban opens up his 'O.J. left-O.J. right' offense, it will be difficult for them to duplicate the 9-5 mark of '74. Still, Saban's a winner and he can be counted on to field a tough ball club, and as long as O.J. stays healthy no one can count them out."

-Jim Stewart, Pro Football Illustrated 1975


"Offense: When the Buffalo Bills were eliminated from the NFL playoffs last December, O.J. Simpson said, 'We set our sights too low. We set our goal before the season. It was to make the playoffs. Now our sights are higher. We want the Super Bowl.' Setting their sights low was understandable for the Bills. They have come so far in such a short time they should be a surprise even to themselves. Buffalo how has the offensive potency that justifies the raising of sights in 1975.
The Bills showed the rest of the league from the start of last season that they are not a one-dimensional team. O.J. was bothered by leg injuries from the first game, so the Bills leaned on their newly developed versatility and it worked. Joe Ferguson established himself as one of pro football's brightest young quarterbacks. Ferguson inflated his touchdown pass total from two in 1973 to 12 in 1974.
Simpson is still the keystone is this attack, however. Despite his leg problems The Juice managed 1,125 yards. It was the kind of season most runners dream about, but coming on the heels of the epic 2,003-yard season of 1973, it was ordinary for O.J. Behind Simpson is Larry Watkins who averaged 4.1 yards for 41 carries in '74. The other starter is the large but mobile fullback, Jim Braxton.
There could be an alteration in O.J.'s offensive line, the 'Electric Company.' Saban would like to get Reuben Gant into the lineup at tight end. If that happens the incumbent tight end, Paul Seymour, would switch to tackle, where he has to beat out either Dave Foley or Donnie Green. Guard Joe DeLamielleure graded higher than any lineman last year, but center Mike Montler and guard Reggie McKenzie were right behind him.
Defense: There is great strength in the secondary where two All-Pros, free safety Tony Greene and cornerback Robert James, work. Greene was Buffalo's most valuable player last year. The Bills play more man-to-man coverages than most NFL teams, and James and Dwight Harrison play bump-and-run as well as any cornerbacks around.
Saban switched to the 3-4 defense in the second half of the 1974 season but he would like to return to a four-man front. If big Jeff Winans can rebound from a knee injury, he would be the fourth man with ends Walt Patulski and Earl Edwards and tackle Mike Kadish, who had his best season in '74. Buffalo's top-rated linebacker, John Skorupan, missed the last half of the '74 season due to a knee injury. Veterans Jim Cheyunski and Dave Washington and second-year man Doug Allen also are in the linebacking scramble."

-Scouting Report, The New York Jets Official 1975 Yearbook


1975 Buffalo Outlook According to Head Coach Lou Saban
"For the Buffalo Bills, the 1974 season was one of contrasts. Satisfaction on the one hand, frustration on the other.
Satisfaction sprang from making the playoffs for the first time since 1966 and compiling a second consecutive won-lost record of 9-5. Frustration followed our inability to advance in postseason play, our unsuccessful attempt to unseat Miami as champion of the AFC East, and a ragged finish of five losses in the final seven games.
The Bills' performance through eight games was definitely of championship caliber. We were unable, though, to sustain our momentum beyond mid-season. If nothing else, the experiences of 1974 have clearly established our priorities for 1975.
Injuries were a prominent problem. Preseason knee surgery cost us the services of Jeff Winans, a promising second-year man we had counted on to win a starting job in the defensive line. Linebacker John Skorupan and free safety Tony Greene, two defensive stalwarts, missed seven and three games respectively with knee injuries, both requiring corrective surgery. Fullback Jim Braxton and tackle Donnie Green were offensive regulars who missed one or more games due to injury.
What the injuries revealed was a critical lack of depth, a circumstance we must correct if we are to challenge again in 1975. We moved in the draft to improve our depth on defense in particular. As Pittsburgh proved conclusively in Super Bowl IX, strong defense is a hallmark of champions.
Our defense did show an overall improvement in 1974. In the Conference rankings, we jumped from seventh to second in total defense and came all the way from ninth to the runner-up position in pass defense. The one area in which our standing slipped was rushing defense, down from fourth in 1973 to sixth last fall.
Probably no one made a more significant contribution to the defensive, or for that matter total team, effort than free safety Tony Greene. Tony's nine interceptions were only one measure of the dimension he added in every defensive department.
As a group, our secondary broke the Buffalo team record by better than 200 yards, permitting 14 opponents only 1,620 total passing yards.
Corners Robert James, again an All-Pro, and Ike Harrison; strong safety Neal Craig and Greene, who joined James on the All-Pro team, give us an excellent nucleus around which to build our secondary. Depth is a problem we hope to have solved by drafting three promising collegians- Glenn Lott of Drake, Harry Banks [of Michigan] and Tom Drake of Michigan.
In the defensive line, we were unable to develop a consistent starter at right end. Earl Edwards gave us another good year, playing both end and tackle, and Mike Kadish furthered his reputation for solid, often spectacular, play inside. Edwards and Kadish give us a strong combination at tackle.
Three-year starter Walt Patulski should again lay claim to the left end position but who will play the opposite side is a question mark. Winans, one of last year's injury victims, is a possibility, although he was strictly an inside player as a rookie in 1973. Rookie Mark Johnson and second-year man Dave Means also figure as does Jeff Yeates, who checked in with a strong performance after missing all of the 1973 season with a knee injury.
The successful recovery of Skorupan from knee surgery and development of young talent is important in our linebacking plans. Skorupan's injury at mid-season precipitated a juggling act with the linebackers that continued until the end of the year. Three of our first five draft choices were linebackers- Tom Ruud and Bob Nelson of Nebraska and John McCrumbly of Texas A & M- and Penn State product Doug Allen will be playing only his second year. Bo Cornell, a running back just two years ago, is another still learning the linebacker position.
We achieved a better offensive balance between rushing (2,094 yards) and passing (1,492) last season but, in the process, our total production fell 499 yards off the Bills' 1973 pace. Buffalo's rank in the Conference dipped from fifth to 12th overall.
This despite another 1,000-yard season from O.J. Simpson, Jim Braxton's best statistics as a professional and a dramatic improvement in the passing and field leadership of sophomore quarterback Joe Ferguson.
For much of the first half of the season, Ferguson was the leading passer in the League. While his statistics lagged in the final weeks of the campaign, Joe Ferguson established himself in our mind as a top-flight NFL quarterback, certainly capable of shouldering his share of the offensive burden.
An injury to Ferguson in the Miami game provided a look at rookie Gary Marangi, whose first pass as a pro produced a Buffalo touchdown. Marangi has a bright future with the Bills.
Receivers Ahmad Rashad and J.D. Hill had big years, leading the team in catches and receiving yards respectively. Rashad, an off-season acquisition from St. Louis, snared 36 for 433 yards and four touchdowns. Hill made 32 receptions for 572 yards and six scores.
Simpson and Braxton continue to provide us with one of the most feared rushing punches in the game. Combined 1974 statistics of 1,688 rushing yards are testimony to their double-barreled effectiveness. Simpson's speed and Braxton's power give our attack an enviable versatility.
One of our necessities is to develop depth at running back, which accounts for our choice of Penn State's Tom Donchez, Houston's Reggie Cherry, and Roland Hooks of North Carolina State in the recent college draft.
With the exception of four weeks when Donnie Green was shelved with an appendectomy, our offensive line remained the same as in 1973- Green and Dave Foley at the tackles, Reggie McKenzie and Joe DeLamielleure at guards, Mike Montler at center and Paul Seymour at tight end. As a group, they are still young and capable of further development.
Our kicking game appears sound with the return of placement specialist John Lepoldt and punter Marv Bateman. Leypoldt led us in scoring for the fourth consecutive year, hitting on 19 of 33 field goal tries last fall. Bateman, acquired as a free agent after the Houston game, had an excellent 43.9 average on 34 punts.
Changes are certain in both our punt and kickoff return departments. Both of last year's returners- kickoff specialist Wallace Francis and [punt specialist] Donnie Walker- have been traded (Francis to Atlanta, Walker to Los Angeles), creating openings for a specialist like Gil Chapman of Michigan, our seventh round pick in the draft, who did both for the Wolverines. Another newcomer, Roland Hooks of North Carolina State, showed good speed and quickness at our mini-camp. Hooks holds the N.C. State record for returns.
This is an important year for the Buffalo Bills. We have become a consistent winner, a playoff participant, a championship contender. Now, we must face the prospect of living up to our reputation."

-Lou Saban, Buffalo Bills 1975 Yearbook

1974 Buffalo Bills Preseason Depth Charts

OFFENSE
QB - Joe Ferguson 12, Gary Marangi*, Greg Hare*
RB - O.J. Simpson 32, Pete Van Valkenburg 36, Carlester Crumpler*, Don Calhoun*
RB - Jim Braxton 34, Larry Watkins 38, Steve Jones 46
WR - J.D. Hill 40, Wallace Francis 89, Ahmad Rashad 83
LT- Dave Foley 78, Halvor Hagen 76
LG - Reggie McKenzie 67, Willie Parker 61
C - Mike Montler 53, Bruce Jarvis 51
RG - Joe DeLamielleure 68, Bill Adams 60
RT - Donnie Green 74, Bob Penchion 69
TE - Paul Seymour 87, Reuben Gant*, Art Cameron*
WR - Bob Chandler 81, Ray Jarvis 80, Gary Hayman*

DEFENSE
LE - Walt Patulski 85, Don Croft 72, Dave Means*
LT - Jeff Winans 75, Jeff Yeates 62
RT - Mike Kadish 71, Steve Okoniewski 79
RE - Earl Edwards 73, Bob Kampa 70
LLB - John Skorupan 55, Bo Cornell 30, Ken Williams*
MLB - Jim Cheyunski 50, Merv Krakau 52, Fred Forsberg 57
RLB - Richard Lewis 56, Phil Croyle 54, Dave Washington 86, Doug Allen*
LCB - Robert James 20, Donnie Walker 26, Paul Hayner*
SS - Ernie Kellerman 24, Rod Kirby*, Phil Gurbada*, Gary Birch*, Ted Koy 37, Cookie Brinkman 39
FS - Tony Greene 43, Bill Cahill 22, Phil Lamm*, John Stearns*
RCB- Dwight Harrison 28, Sam Elmore*

SPECIALISTS
P - Spike Jones 11, Brian Doherty*, Mike Butler*
K - John Leypoldt 3, Sal Casola*

* Rookie

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook


OFFENSE
Quarterbacks
Joe Ferguson (Arkansas)
Gary Marangi (Boston College)*

Running Backs
O.J. Simpson (USC)
Jim Braxton (West Virginia)
Larry Watkins (Alcorn A & M)
Pete Van Valkenberg (Brighan Young)
Carlester Crumpler (East Carolina)*
Steve Jones (Duke)

Receivers
J.D. Hill (W) (Arkansas)
Bob Chandler (W) (USC)
Paul Seymour (T) (Michigan)
Ahmad Rashad (W) (Oregon)
Reuben Gant (T) (Oklahoma State)*
Wallace Francis (W) (Texas AM & N)
Ray Jarvis (W) (Norfolk State)
(W)-Wide Receiver  (T)-Tight End

Interior Linemen
Donnie Green (T) (Purdue)
Dave Foley (T) (Ohio State)
Reggie McKenzie (G) (Michigan)
Joe DeLamielleure (G) (Michigan State)
Mike Montler (C) (Colorado)
Bruce Jarvis (C) (Washington)
Bob Penchion (G-T) (Alcorn A & M)
Halvor Hagen (T) (Weber State)
Willie Parker (G) (North Texas State)
(T)-Tackle  (G)-Guard  (C)-Center

Kickers
John Leypoldt (PK)
Spike Jones (P) (Georgia)
Brian Doherty (P) (Notre Dame)*
(PK)-Place Kicker  (P)-Punter

DEFENSE
Front Linemen
Walt Patulski (E) (Notre Dame)
Earl Edwards (E) (Wichita)
Jeff Winans (T) (USC)
Mike Kadish (T) (Notre Dame)
Don Croft (E) (Texas-El Paso)
Jeff Yeates (T) (Boston College)*
Bob Kampa (E) (California)
Steve Okoniewski (T) (Montana)
(E)-End  (T)-Tackle

Linebackers
John Skorupan (O) (Penn State)
Richard Lewis (O) (Portland State)
Jim Cheyunski (M) (Syracuse)
Dave Washington (O) (Alcorn A & M)
Fred Forsberg (M-O) (Washington)
Doug Allen (O) (Penn State)*
Phil Croyle (O) (California)
(O)-Outside Linebacker  (M)-Middle Linebacker

Cornerbacks
Robert James (Fisk)
Dwight Harrison (Texas A & I)
Donnie Walker (Central Ohio)

Safeties
Ernie Kellerman (S) (Miami-Ohio)
Tony Greene (W) (Maryland)
Bill Cahill (W) (Washington)
(S)-Strong Side  (W)-Weak Side or 'Free' Safety

* Rookie

-Pro Football 1974 published by Cord Communications, Corp.


OFFENSE
QB - Joe Ferguson 12, Gary Marangi*, Greg Hare*
RB - O.J. Simpson 32, Pete Van Valkenburg 36, Carlester Crumpler*, Don Calhoun*
RB - Jim Braxton 34, Larry Watkins 38, Steve Jones 46
WR - Bob Chandler 81, Ray Jarvis 80, Ahmad Rashad 83, Gary Hayman*
LT- Dave Foley 78, Bob Penchion 69, Halvor Hagen 76
LG - Reggie McKenzie 67, Willie Parker 61
C - Bruce Jarvis 51, Mike Montler 53
RG - Joe DeLamielleure 68, Bill Adams 60
RT - Donnie Green 74, Samford Quale*
TE - Paul Seymour 87, Ted Koy 37, Cookie Brinkman 39, Reuben Gant*, Art Cameron*
WR - J.D. Hill 40, Wallace Francis 89

DEFENSE
LE - Walt Patulski 85, Don Croft 72, Dave Means*
LT - Jerry Patton 77, Jeff Winans 75
RT - Mike Kadish 71, Jeff Yeates 62, Steve Okoniewski 79
RE - Earl Edwards 73, Bob Kampa 70
LLB - John Skorupan 55, Bo Cornell 30
MLB - Jim Cheyunski 50, Fred Forsberg 57, Tim Guy*, Merv Krakau 52
RLB - Richard Lewis, Phil Croyle, Dave Washington, Doug Allen*
LCB - Robert James 20, Donnie Walker 26
LS - Tony Greene 43, Bill Cahill 22, Phil Lamm*
RS - Ernie Kellerman 24, Rod Kirby*, Ken Williams*, Phil Gurbada*, Gary Birch*
RCB- Dwight Harrison 28, Sam Elmore*

* Rookie

-Gridiron News 1974 Pro Yearbook


OFFENSE
QB - Joe Ferguson 12
RB - O.J. Simpson 32, Steve Jones 46, Pete Van Valkenburg 36
RB - Jim Braxton 34, Larry Watkins 38, Bo Cornell 30
WR - J.D. Hill 40, Wallace Francis 89
LT- Dave Foley 78, Bob Penchion 69
LG - Reggie McKenzie 67, Willie Parker 61, Bill Adams 60
C - Bruce Jarvis 51, Don Croft 72, Mike Montler 53
RG - Joe DeLamielleure 68, Willie Parker 61
RT - Donnie Green 74, Bob Penchion 69, Halvor Hagen 76
TE - Paul Seymour 87, Cookie Brinkman 39
WR - Bob Chandler 81, Ahmad Rashad 83, Ray Jarvis 81

DEFENSE
LE - Walt Patulski 85, Bob Kampa 70, Halvor Hagen 68
LT - Jeff Winans 75
RT - Mike Kadish 71, Steve Okoniewski 79
RE - Earl Edwards 73, Don Croft 72
LLB - Richard Lewis 56, Fred Forsberg 57, Ted Koy 37
MLB - Jim Cheyunski 50, Merv Krakau 52
RLB - John Skorupan 55, Fred Forsberg 57, Phil Croyle 54
LCB - Robert James 20, Donnie Walker 26, Tony Greene 43
LS - Tony Greene 43
RS - Ernie Kellerman 24, Bill Cahill 22
RCB- Dwight Harrison 28, Tony Greene 43

SPECIALISTS
P - Spike Jones 11
K - John Leypoldt 3

-1974 Football Guide, published by Snibbe Publications, Inc.

1974 Rookie Profile: Ken Williams

Linebacker
15th Round
Southwest Louisiana State
"A four-year letterman at linebacker, Williams made the 1973 All-Southland Conference postseason squad. He once made 18 unassisted tackles in a game against Trinity University. Ken wears contact lenses.
Ken's college major was computer science and he aspires to a career in the area of computer programming. Music, swimming, bowling and horseback riding are his favorite spare time pursuits."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

1974 Rookie Profile: Dave Means

Defensive End
12th Round
Southeast Missouri State
"Means played defensive tackle for the Indians. He was a first team All-Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association choice in 1973 after claiming second team honors in 1972. Considered strong and mobile for his size, Dave was an extraordinary pass rusher in college. He will get a trial at linebacker.
Dave was a physical education major with a minor in biology. Weightlifting and jogging are his hobbies."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

1974 Rookie Profile: Gary Marangi

Quarterback
3rd Round
Boston College
"Marangi was BC's starting quarterback for two seasons and finished as the Eagles' third leading passer of all time with 2,739 yards on 235 completions. He was also a running threat from the BC wishbone.
Captain of the Eagles as a senior, Gary was an All-East and All-New England selection and received the coaches award as BC's outstanding player. He played in both the East-West Shrine Game and the American Bowl.
Gary was a marketing major. Sporting events are his favorite form of entertainment."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

1974 Rookie Profile: Phil Lamm

Safety
14th Round
North Carolina
"Lamm was a three-year letterman at safety for the Tarheels. He was twice named ACC Defensive Player of the Week and was a Conference All-Academic choice two consecutive years. Phil participated in the Blue-Grey game.
A consistent Dean's List student as a political science major, Phil's career goal is a position in management, banking or sales. Tennis, water-skiing and golf are among his hobbies."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

1974 Rookie Profile: Rod Kirby

Safety
11th Round
Pittsburgh
"Kirby was an outstanding linebacker for Pittsburgh in 1973. He saw action as a defensive end in 1972 but played only six minutes all season in 1971. An All-East selection as a senior and an honorable mention All-America, Rod was tri-captain of the Panthers and the squad's Most Valuable defensive player. He appeared in the Fiesta Bowl and the America Bowl.
Rod studied health and physical education at Pittsburgh. He enjoys listening to music."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

1974 Free Agent Profile: Paul Hayner

Cornerback
Michigan State
"A starter at both corner and strong safety for the Spartans, Hayner was an All-Big Ten choice as both a junior and a senior. He was named on several preseason All-America teams and won the ABC-TV scholarship award as the outstanding performer in the Michigan State-Syracuse game.
Paul ranks fourth among MSU all-time leading interceptors; he led the Big Ten in interceptions (6) in 1972. He appeared in the East-West Shrine contest.
A physical education major, Paul hopes to coach either football, basketball or baseball. He comes from a family of nine children."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

1974 Rookie Profile: Gary Hayman

Punt Returner-Wide Receiver
5th Round
Penn State
"Hayman was the nation's leading punt returner in 1973. He logged 23 returns for 442 yards, an average of 19.2, and one touchdown. Gary led Nittany Lions pass receivers as well with 30 catches. He has played both tailback and flanker. Gary missed both the 1970 and 1971 seasons.
He's a political science major with an eye toward a law degree."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

1974 Rookie Profile: Greg Hare

Quarterback
8th Round
Ohio State
"Hare was honorable mention All-Big Ten as a junior when he guided Ohio State to the Rose Bowl. He led the Big Ten in passing percentage in 1972 with a mark of .495.
He was captain of the Buckeyes as a senior, but lost his starting job in 1973. Greg enjoyed his best day as a collegian in a 1972 victory over Wisconsin when he rolled up 241 yards of total offense and scored two touchdowns.
Greg's career interest is financial management, banking or insurance. He majored in finance at Ohio State and was a Dean's List student. The only boy in a family of six children, his father is an engineer for the B & O Railroad.
Greg likes rock music and chess."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

1974 Rookie Profile: Phil Gurbada

Safety
14th Round
Mayville (North Dakota)
"Gurbada was the Mayville captain and an All-Conference and All-District selection at strong safety. He won four football letters and two in baseball.
He's interested in teaching and social work as a career. Phil's college major was elementary education and physical education. He plays the guitar."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Sunday, September 13, 2015

1974 Rookie Profile: Reuben Gant

Tight End
1st Round
Oklahoma State
"Gant was a three-time honorable mention All-Big Eight and played both tight end and wide receiver for the Cowboys. He doubled his career totals for pass receptions and yardage in his senior when he caught 19 for 447 yards and five touchdowns.
His college coach Jim Stanley says Gant 'will be as good as he wants to be' and the Cowboy staff considered him the best downfield blocker on the offensive line. Reuben earned an invitation to the American Bowl game. He also collected two letters in basketball.
Reuben's Oklahoma State major was radio-tv, film and public relations and he looks toward a career in broadcasting. He comes from a family of eight children. His hobbies include jazz music, horseback riding and hunting."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Friday, September 11, 2015

1974 Rookie Profile: Brian Doherty

Punter
9th Round
Notre Dame
"Doherty ranked sixth among college football punters in 1973 with a 42.7 average on 39 boots. His longest punt traveled 66 yards. Notre Dame's punter for three seasons, Brian established a Notre Dame punting record with his 42.7 average as a senior as well as marks for most punts, most yardage, and least return yardage per punt. He played in the Orange and Sugar Bowl games.
Brian was a Dean's List student at the College of Arts and Letters with a major in economics. One of nine children, he has traveled throughout Europe and lived for a year in Ireland. Brian keeps an aquarium as a hobby."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

1974 Rookie Profile: Carlester Crumpler

Running Back
4th Round
East Carolina
"The all-time East Carolina and Southern Conference rushing leader, Crumpler established school and conference career records for rushing yards (2,889), carries (658) and points (222). He was twice an honorable mention All-America and was Southern Conference football player and athlete-of-the-year in 1972. Carlester was twice All-Conference, winner of four SC Player of the Week scrolls and played in the Blue-Grey game. He's a workhorse back with a college reputation for speed, balance and power.
His college major was sociology. When not playing, Carlester enjoys beef stew and soul music."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

1974 Rookie Profile: Sal Casola

Place Kicker
17th Round
Cincinnati
"A three-time letterman as a placement specialist for Cincinnati, Casola connected for a record 53-yarder in his final college game against Memphis State. He's a conventional style kicker and can kickoff into the end zone. Sal's college statistics are deceiving because of his number of attempts from long distance.
Born in Sicily, Sal moved to the U.S. in 1953 with his family and worked part-time during school in his father's two pizza shops. He likes to sail."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

1974 Rookie Profile: Art Cameron

Tight End
10th Round
Albany State (Georgia)
"Used at both tight and and halfback by Albany State, Cameron twice made the All-SIAC team as a tight end. He snared 34 passes for 734 yards and four touchdowns as a senior. His longest pass reception was for 49 yards against Savannah State. He also threw the javelin for the Albany State track team and his best throw was 200 feet.
Art concentrated on health and physical education studies and has ambitions to be a recreation counselor or administrator. Bowling, hunting and fishing are his favorite spare-time pursuits. Art is a cousin of Buffalo Braves basketball star Gar Heard."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

1974 Rookie Profile: Don Calhoun

Running Back
10th Round
Kansas State
"Kansas State's leading rusher as a junior, Calhoun finished second in ground gaining for the Wildcats last fall. His junior total of 608 yards was fourth best in KS history.
His best day was 132 yards on 16 tries against Brigham Young in 1972. A halfback as a soph, he played fullback his final two seasons. He was known at KS for his good inside power and breakaway speed. Don led the Wildcats in kickoff returns as a sophomore and as a junior and was an effective pass receiver.
Don majored in physical education and recreation. He enjoys basketball, a sport he played in high school, as a hobby."

-Buffalo Bills 1974 Yearbook