September 14, 2010
Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is known by most football fans as the quarterback who lost four straight Super Bowls. While it's true that Kelly's Buffalo Bills did lose Super Bowls XXV through XXVIII to conclude their 1990 through 1993 seasons (and give them a large hat tip for making four in a row under any circumstances), Kelly is just as much the guy who helped engineer the establishment of two powerhouse football teams.
When Kelly went to Miami in 1979, the Hurricanes were an independent afterthought at a school that was barely on the map for their sport. Kelly was the first of the great Miami quarterbacks, and his departure to the USFL just preceded the team's first national championship.
After a brief stop in the USFL (throwing for 9,842 yards and 83 touchdowns for the Houston Gamblers' run-and-shoot offense in just two seasons), Kelly went to the Buffalo Bills in 1986. The Bills had won just four games in the previous two seasons, but with a young, talented team around him, and Marv Levy coaching ‘em up, Kelly was the spark for a Bills team that made the playoffs 10 times in 12 seasons from 1988 through 1999.
Now that Kelly is 50 years old, he's got other things on his mind. In a recent interview, he told me about his mission to spread the word about prostate cancer, his "Hunter's Hope" charity and the story behind it, and all the other things he's got going on in his life. Of course, we also touched on football subjects - his thoughts on the ESPN "The U" documentary, what it was like working with Howard Schellenberger and Marv Levy, and what that four-year stretch was really like.
Click on the link below and discover why the K-Gun offense was ahead of its time, why the Redskins were actually a tougher Super Bowl opponent than the Bills, and how Kelly looks back on his legacy. I always had the impression that Kelly was a class act, and that was absolutely proven true in this interview. It was a real pleasure.
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