Category Archives: Tom Sestak

The Legendary Tom Sestak

I had originally gone looking for an article about the Buffalo Bills defensive end, Tom Day, last night when I stumbled upon a great old Sports Illustrated piece on Day’s teammate, Tom Sestak.  One of two defensive tackles on the league’s All-Time Team (Houston Antwine is the other), Tom Sestak ravaged offensive lines throughout the AFL.  Sestak was that rare combination of size, speed, strength and heart.  In addition, his threshold for pain was nearly off the charts.  He was the measuring stick for his position in the 1960s.

read more

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

January 12, 1965 – AFL Eastern Division All-Star Defensive Line

1965 all-star d-line

1/12/65 – HOUSTON, TEX: A line of scrimmage view of the AFL’s East Team All-Star starting defensive line: Upper L to R: (DT) Bob Dee, Boston; (DT) Tom Sestak, Buffalo; Lower L to R: (DT) Houston Antwine, Boston; (DE) Larry Eisenhauer, Boston.  The American Football League All-Star game originally schedules for 1/16 in New Orleans Sugar Bowl was moved to Houston after a walk out of Negro players who alleged that they had been discriminated against in New Orleans.  UPI TELE

read more

A Hall of Fame Comparison – Tom Sestak

There is a feeling among AFL fans that the American Football League players are consistently overlooked for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  In truth there are many players, the bulk of whose careers were spent in the AFL, that deserve serious consideration, if not outright induction.  In an effort to spark some discussion regarding their hall of fame worthiness, I will occasionally compare AFL players to their NFL (and Hall of Fame) counterparts. The short biographies on the NFL players have been taken directly from the Pro Football Hall of Fame website.

read more

An Autographed 1965 Topps Buffalo Bills Team Set

After defeating the San Diego Chargers by a score of 20-7 in the 1964 AFL Championship Game, the Buffalo Bills made a few changes to their roster.  The most significant adjustment was trading away star running back, Cookie Gilchrist, to the Denver Broncos in exchange for fullback, Billy Joe.  With their retooling complete, the Bills began the 1965 season right where they had left off the season before.  Led by star quarterback, Jack Kemp, Buffalo moved through the league at rapid pace and finished the regular season with a 10-3-1 record.  They again faced the Chargers in the AFL Championship Game, this time shutting out the western division champs, 23-0, in San Diego’s Balboa Stadium.

read more