|Mar. 6 - Art Monk
Mar. 13 - Billy Shaw
Mar. 20 - Len Dawson
Mar. 27 - Mel Blount
Apr. 3 - Warren Moon
Apr. 10 - Charlie Joiner
Apr. 17 - Marv Levy
Apr. 24 - Ken Houston
Pro Football Hall of Fame Presents Countdown to Canton
on Sirius NFL Radio. Listen each Friday morning from now through Enshrinement Day on August 8. Hosts Bob Papa and Randy Cross welcome a different Hall of Fame legend each Friday at 10 Eastern to talk some football. Don’t miss as these football greats share stories from their careers, to what it was like on their induction day, and a personal perspective on the Hall’s newest class
– Bob Hayes, Randall McDaniel, Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, Ralph Wilson, Jr. and Rod Woodson.
Stop by Profootballhof.com each week leading up to Bob and Randy’s interview. We’ll take a look back at that week’s featured Hall of Famer and recount his enshrinement day. The Hall’s research staff will also dig into the archives and hone in on events that helped shape the careers of these Hall of Fame legends.
This week’s guest: Billy Shaw, Class of 1999
Most speeches from past Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinements are best remembered for what is said. But, there’s one such case that what wasn’t said gained great attention. Every inductee does his best to try to thank as many people as possible in the time allotted for their speech.
Billy Shaw, the all-league guard of the Buffalo Bills, was no different as he spoke eloquently from the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s front steps on August 7, 1999. He thanked his presenter Eddie Abramoski, the Bills’ long-time trainer.
He thanked the Hall of Fame staff, the Hall’s selection committee, a high school teammate, and his high school coach. He also thanked Bills owner Ralph Wilson and Buffalo coaches Lou Saban and Joel Collier. As he continued on with the speech, he recognized his daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren. He also paid tribute to his mother, sister and brother-in-law before closing by thanking the Lord.
And with that, he stepped back from the podium and basked in the limelight as the large crowd applauded approvingly. Then, Billy walked off to pose for photos before returning to his seat on stage. So, one can only imagine how shell-shocked he was when Eric Dickerson began the next speech by pointing out a major faux pas by Shaw. Dickerson looked at Billy and let him know that he had failed to recognize his wife Patsy.
In the nervousness of the day, Shaw had indeed forgotten to mention his devoted wife of 39 years. Dickerson asked Patsy to stand and Billy kiddingly dropped to one knee to beg forgiveness for the oversight.
Leader of the herd
The American Football League’s 50th Anniversary Season will be celebrated during the 2009 NFL season. Class of 1999 enshrinee Billy Shaw is the only member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who played his entire career in the AFL.
A two-way star in college at Georgia Tech, Shaw was drafted in 1961 by the Buffalo Bills in the AFL and the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL. He chose the Bills and immediately became not only an anchor of the Bills offensive line but one of the team’s overall leaders. He served as the long-time captain of the Bills’ potent offense that ultimately helped the franchise win back-to-back AFL titles in 1964 and 1965.
Known as a great blocker for quarterbacks Daryle Lamonica and Jack Kemp as well as someone who could open holes for bruising fullback Cookie Gilchrist, Shaw helped the Bills quickly climb to the top of the AFL.
With Shaw leading the way, the Bills running attack was tops in the AFL twice as Gilchrist won rushing titles in 1962 and 1964. The Bills also racked up the most total yardage on offense during its championship season in ’64.
More on Shaw from Profootballhof.com
Billy Shaw’s HOF Bio
History of the AFL, 1960-69
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