I recently sent a series of questions out to a handful of former AFL players in an attempt to get a few short, interesting interviews to post. I will publish them as they come trickling back to me. The first player to respond was former Buffalo Bills linebacker, Paul Guidry. Here is what he had to say about his time in the AFL!
Q – What did you enjoy the most about being a professional football player?
A – I enjoyed the fans, playing the stars I had read about and followed while in HS and College, traveling to game cities on chartered flights, and the game itself.
Q – What did you enjoy the least about being a professional football player?
A – Pre-season two a day camps and the constant meetings, practices where we pounded each other for a spot on the roster.
Q – What was the hardest collision that you were involved in during a game?
A – That would be taking on Larry Czonka head on power against power on a out block.
Q – What AFL player impressed you the most, and why?
A – Joe Namath comes to mind. Playing the Jets twice a season was always a challenge and brought the best out of you.
Q – At the time, did you personally want to merge with the NFL, or continue to have two leagues? Why?
A – Continue the two leagues because of the natural built in competition, one league against the other, AFL vs NFL and bragging rights as to what league was the best. This competition truly was a Super Bowl, and not having two teams who may have played each other during the regular season playing again for the World Championship.
Q – Which opponent (player or team) personally gave you the greatest challenge? Why?
A – There were several, Namath and the Jets, Griese and the Dolphins, Babe Parilli / Plunkett and the Patriots, Unitas and the Colts, Tarkenton and both the Vikings and Giants. Why? Just envision those teams with the talented players on them.
Q – What was the single most important moment (to you) in your career? Why?
A – End of August 1966, comes to mind, making the final cut and the 40 man roster, however, that led to my greatest moment, which was stepping on the same field to play against my childhood hero Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts, and having the gall to intercept him.
Q – Was it hard to leave the game? What do you miss the most?
A – Leaving the game was the worst of all feelings, knowing the game you have been playing since middle school was over !! Missing the camaraderie between players, friends going separate ways, the travel, the fans, being on local and national TV, the glamor, but most of all, the “GAME.”
# 59 Buffalo Bills 1966-72
# 58 Houston Oilers 1973.