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Buffalo Bills News - February 5, 2002

Marker Buffalo's offensive improvement hinges on down-to-earth approach [5:23 AM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'Every successful version of the West Coast, from Joe Montana's 49ers to Donovan McNabb's Philadelphia Eagles, has one thing in common -- a quick-thinking, accurate-throwing quarterback. If you could hang Rob Johnson's arm from Alex Van Pelt's shoulder, you'd have the ideal quarterback for the offense. But you can't and you don't. And if you don't, you'd better find a new way to move the football. As Bills fans learned this year, the West Coast can be just as ugly as any other offense when you lack the proper point man.'

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February 4, 2002

Marker Faith and football [5:04 PM]
Holland Sentinel reports: 'Riemersma takes his responsibility as a pro athlete seriously. He believes it's his duty to let people know he is a Christian and that he plays and lives with faith as a foundation.'

Marker Ex-Bill, Raider inspires man to walk [2:21 PM]
CNN/SI reports: Villapiano, who played for Raiders from 1971-1980 and for Buffalo Bills from 1980-84, won the ring with the Raiders' 32-14 win against the Vikings in the 1977 Super Bowl.

In an impulsive act, Villapiano gave a discouraged Oellrich his Super Bowl ring to motivate him not only to resume his rehabilitation, but to double his workouts so he could walk again. Oellrich protested, but the former All-Pro insisted that he could only return the ring once he could walk. Oellrich returned the ring Sunday after taking about 10 steps with the help of a cane and going immediately back into his wheelchair.

Marker CNNSI's Phil Taylor rips Kelly's HOF bid [2:18 PM]
CNNSI reports: Hall of Fame spots should go only to the truly great.
But Kelly, the Buffalo Bills quarterback, was never even considered the best at their position in his era.

Marker Jim Kelly Memtioned in Slate's TMQ [2:18 PM]
MSN - Slate reports: How Can You Tell He's From Western Pennsylvania?

Hearing of his selection to the Hall of Fame, Jim Kelly said, "I'm going out with my dad and brothers for shots and beers."

Sentimentality note: In a hotel room in New Orleans, Kelly waited for word of whether he'd been selected with his father, five brothers, and his high-school coach from East Brady, Pa. Oh football gods, why did you deny this man a ring?

Enlightened Hall Politics:

TMQ praises the Canton loya jirga for taking Jim Kelly on the first ballot. That the Bills honked four straight Super Bowls should not prevent admiration for the fact that they were able to get into four straight meaning they are the only team ever to win four straight conference championships, which is the preferred emphasis in Buffalo. Buffalo never got the ring but may end up with seven in Canton from its Super Bowl team - Kelly and Marv Levy, already; Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith, locks; Steve Tasker, Kent Hull, and Andre Reed, likely. Thus the football gods console the vanquished.

Kelly himself deserves kudos for his grasp of Hall politics. As TMQ noted a year ago, Kelly cut his career a little short, since he might have played an extra season or two, in order to become eligible in 2002, when he would have less Canton competition. Staring at Kelly's brake lights are John Elway, Dan Marino, and Steve Young, all eligible soon and sure to monopolize Hall admission slots for quarterbacks. It was a savvy move for Kelly to make sure he got admitted before such gentlemen's names went on the ballot.

Marker Belichick's defense repeats Superbowl performance [1:17 PM]
Sporting News reports: Eleven years ago, current Patriots coach Bill Belichick capped off his run as the Giants' defensive mastermind by working with coach Bill Parcells to shock another offensive juggernaut, the 1990 Buffalo Bills. The Giants won the closest game in Super Bowl history, surviving 20-19.

The Giants relied on a ball-control conservative offense (they held the ball for a Super Bowl-record 40 minutes, 33 seconds), leaning on the strength of Belichick's unit, the cautious play of inexperienced starting QB Jeff Hostetler and the running of Ottis Anderson. Brady was in Hostetler's role in February 2002, carefully watching over Weis and Belichick's game plan. Antowain Smith provided the backfield punch for Brady, grinding out 92 yards on 18 carries.

Marker Patriots win is best off season Bills news so far [12:39 PM] reports: Having one of their AFC East opponents as the reigning Super Bowl champions is the best news the Bills have received this off-season. Benefits abound on this one, folks: The Patriots will play all next season in the spotlight -- getting better television slots and the like -- which will make their games more exciting and toss some extra attention the way of their divisional opponents.

Marker Bills' Super Bowl story one of resilience, not failure [5:17 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'From one standpoint, we will never see his like again. He was the last quarterback to call his own plays and in this high-tech era, no coaching staff will relinquish that responsibility again. His command in the huddle was legendary.'

Marker Fame finds Kelly quickly [5:16 AM]
USA Today reports: 'When Hall of Famers sign autographs, they often add a short reference to their class. Kelly knows his will be 'HOF '02.' "It's only fitting for me to go in as No. 2," he says. "But today we're No. 1, the Buffalo Bills, the fans of Buffalo and the Kelly family. Going into the Hall of Fame, we can honestly say we're No. 1."'

February 3, 2002

Marker Butler glad to see Allen, Kelly inducted [5:31 PM]
North County Times reports: '"He was the ultimate football player, that's what he was,'' Butler said.'

Marker Kelly and Kooch: One makes it, one doesn't, but both can smile [5:18 PM]
Miami Herald reports: 'I suspect Kelly was the only unanimous honoree. We'll never know. Voting totals are not announced. Even we voters, some 36 this day, don't know who is finally elected until the results are announced at a news conference.'

Marker RJ tops Jacksonville's public list to replace Brunell [3:24 PM]
Jacksonville Times-Union reports: If you trade Mark Brunell, which likely available QB would you pursue as the team's next quarterback? RJ tops list at 38% over such QBs as Jeff Blake, Charlie Batch, Ryan Leaf and Tony Banks.

Marker Jim Kelly cruises into Canton [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'He joined the ranks of the greatest players ever to play the game the same way he threw so many touchdown passes - with ease.'

Marker Hall of a choice [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Kelly played the game the way it was meant to be played, and he was one of the winningest quarterbacks ever in the process. That's why he deserved to skate into Canton, Ohio.'

Marker There's no debate over Kelly's entry into Hall [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'As it turned out, those infamous four straight Super Bowl losses are now seen in the clear light of distance as a plus, not a negative. Resilience, not a Jay Leno punch line, are what those games mean now.'

Marker Kelly headed for Canton [5:22 AM]
D and C reports: 'Among the Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Kelly ranks third in career passer rating at 84.4, trailing only Joe Montana (92.3) and Otto Graham (86.6). Only four Hall of Famers (Fran Tarkenton, Dan Fouts, Montana and Johnny Unitas) have thrown for more yards than Kelly (35,467).'

Marker More Bills on way? [5:21 AM]
D and C reports: 'Columnist Bob Matthews analyzes the chances other people associated with the Buffalo Bills have of reaching the Pro Football Hall of Fame.'

Marker Stallworth is elected to Hall of Fame [5:20 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: '"They had enough confidence in a quarterback from Western Pennsylvania to hand over an offense, to say, you know what, here it is, go for it -- the no-huddle offense, calling all my own plays. That was their job security, but they had enough confidence in me to go out there and have fun."'

Marker Kelly first quarterback from Class of 1983 to get Hall call [5:19 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Kelly's presenter at the induction ceremonies will be Bills Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy. "He was the guy who kept the Buffalo Bills together," Kelly said. "The guy who was able to rally us every single year from those Super Bowls was Marv Levy. God, bless him."'

Marker Kelly elected on his first attempt [5:18 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'He is the first former USFL player to be elected to the Hall and the first member of the great quarterback draft of 1983, though John Elway and Dan Marino surely will be voted in on first ballots after the required five years passes since retirement.'

Marker Kelly's prayers answered [5:17 AM]
Dallas Morning News reports: '"John was the first one to win the Super Bowl out that class [of 1983]," Kelly said. "At least I can say I'm the first one to make it to the Hall of Fame."'

Marker Kelly's Hall honor comes at good time [5:16 AM]
Houston Chronicle reports: 'With Houston prepared to re-enter the NFL this summer, there were memories of a long-ago era stirred Saturday when quarterback Jim Kelly became the first member of the late, great United States Football League to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.'

Marker Similarities abound between '90 Bills and this year's Rams [5:15 AM]
Fox Sports reports: 'Where Martz has quarterback Kurt Warner, the Bills had Jim Kelly. He was elected to the Hall of Fame on Saturday, and he should have been. All he did was lead these guys to four straight Super Bowls, and I don't care that they lost. They were one of the best two teams four consecutive years, and that just doesn't happen these days.'

Marker Kelly gets his just reward [12:52 AM] reports: I had believed all along that Jim Kelly was an obvious choice for the Hall's selection committee. But having twice been a part of its annual Super Bowl meeting through the years, I also knew that what might seem obvious to one person is not even a remote consideration to another. I learned to expect the unexpected.

February 2, 2002

Marker Kelly's election makes case for other Bills [10:35 PM]
ESPN reports: '"The main guy that kept the Buffalo Bills together, the guy who that was able to rally us every single year from those Super Bowls was Marv Levy -- God bless him," Kelly said. "He's the guy who allowed me to be the person that I am -- being able to go out there and take total control of an offense."'

Marker Kelly selected to Hall of Fame [6:30 PM] reports: Kelly's induction marks the third time in four years that a Bill has entered the Hall. He follows three former Bills already enshrined, O.J. Simpson (1985), Billy Shaw (1999), and Marv Levy (2001).

Marker Kelly, Stallworth Among 5 Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame [4:02 PM]
Bloomberg reports: '"I didn't look at this game as a business, I looked at it as fun," Kelly said. "I don't think there's anybody out there that enjoyed playing the quarterback position as much as I did."'

Marker Jim Kelly Heads Hall of Fame Class of 2002 [4:01 PM]
Reuters reports: 'Kelly, whose team lost all four Super Bowls, was the only one elected in his first year of eligibility, the 51st player and eighth quarterback so honored at the first opportunity.'

Marker Kelly, Stallworth, Hampton, Casper, Allen make Hall of Fame [3:13 PM]
AP reports: '"Wow!" said Kelly, the only one of the five in his first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame. "I don't think I've ever been as nervous in my life."'

Marker Kelly elected, Parcells snubbed again for Hall of Fame [3:12 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'A strong-armed passer with a linebacker's mentality, Kelly rewrote most of the Bills' passing records and led the team to the playoffs eight times in his 11 years with the team from 1986-96.'

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