Since I played for the NY Jets in '74, I thought maybe I should have a page on my website. OK, first of all, it was just for 8 weeks. Eight fantastic weeks. This experience included my first knee injury - a career ending one. I was an outside linebacker. My coach was Buddy Ryan - a player's coach. He brought out your passion for the game. Never said anything specific about it. He just has that demeanor that is contagious about playing hard. Then it hit me. He still has that youthful exuberance we had as kids playing in the back yard. Full of passion, intense to excel, 100% fun spirit. Some of the other coaches were: Coach Voris, Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Line; Sam Rutigliano, Secondary; Coach Fry, Offensive Line, Coach Shipp, Offensive Coordinator and Receivers; and Mike Holovak, Offensive Backs.
Yes, Joe Namath was there. I can remember the first practice that he was on the field. We were doing warmup starts off the ball. The defense and offense, separately on the field, break from huddles, lineup and fire off the ball. What struck me, first thing, was when Joe called the audibles. A cut above the other QBs. They were calm, distinct, audibles. Mind you, this is just warming up. It was like he was saying, after surmising the situation, "This is what we are going to do." The best way to describe it was that I felt like I was in a fog of confidence.
That was then, this is now. I am now a Buffalo Bills fan. Of course this wasn't always the case. I grew up in Syracuse and the "choices" in central NY were between the Cleveland Browns and NY Giants, I preferred the Browns. When I made the NY Jets, they obviously became "My Team". But, there's a wrinkle in that one. My heart was with Buddy Ryan - you just love the guy. Where ever he coached that was "My Team". When he retired I was on my own. (I still can't believe he did that to me!) I went with the local boys and that's how the Bills have become my team. I've enjoyed being a Bills fan since the mid-90's.