Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Photography of Robert L. Smith – Buffalo Bills

I first began to appreciate the photography of Robert L. Smith, when I picked up his book, A View Through the Lens of Robert L. Smith, 1960-1995.  The book covers Smith’s first 35 years as the Buffalo Bills team photographer, and is absolutely loaded with wonderful images from Ralph Wilson’s original AFL team.

Smith, whose first job with the Bills was to shoot the team’s press photos in 1960, has shot some of the game’s greatest names over the years, from Kemp and Gilchrist to Kelly and Reed, and hundreds in-between.  Among his most popular works are “The Hit Heard Round the World,” a perfectly-timed shot of Mike Stratton’s legendary hit on Keith Lincoln in the 1964 AFL Championship Game, and “Football Ballet,” in which Paul Costa makes an overhead catch of a Kemp pass that fell just beyond the hands of an outstretched Patriots defender. read more

One of my favorite programs on my favorite holiday!!

1964, 11-26 #1

Happy Thanksgiving from Tales from the American Football League!!  I am thankful for every one of my readers and members of this community.  Have a wonderful day!

Cookie Gilchrist Stakes his Claim

cookie gilchrist

6/24/62 – TIMMINS ONT. CANADA. – Carlton (Cookie) Gilchrist, 246 lb. Buffalo Bills fullback is set to jump from helicopter to stake a claim in the Ontario bush country 300 miles north of Toronto.  Gilchrist shown 6/12 hopes the prospecting will lead to a financial bonanza.  UPI TELEPHOTO

1969 Interview with Ralph Wilson

I picked up a copy of the 1969 Buffalo Bills Annual recently.  Known by other teams as a yearbook, this 48-page booklet has a lot of great information on the Bills final AFL squad.

One article that piqued my interest was an interview with owner Ralph Wilson, as his club entered into the AFL’s closing season.  The question that struck me the most was when Wilson was asked what pitfalls pro football must guard against to survive.  Could this have been a back-handed jab at Joe Namath, whose star was never brighter than after his Super Bowl III victory the previous season?  I thought Wilson’s answer about Hollywood stars becoming bigger than the industry was a great bit of insight, especially when viewed in-light of the modern NFL.  I have never understood how a head coach can maintain a leadership role when his salary is lower than many of those players who are supposed to answer to him.    I wonder how Wilson would answer that question today, or better, if he thinks that the modern NFL did a good job in not swinging “too far from stability.” read more

Hold That Line – New York Titans

ny titans defensive line

HOLD THAT LINE – The New York Titans of the new professional American Football League display their defensive linemen at the training camp in Durham, N.H.  They are, left to right in front, Jim Bryan, Sid Youngleman, Tom Saidock, and Thurlow Cooper.  In the back row, left to right, are Larry Grantham, Bob Marques, and John Dell Isola, the defensive line coach, and Roger Ellis.  They make a formidable-looking line to crack. – July 27, 1960. read more