THE PETE ROZELLE RADIO-TELEVISON AWARD
For Longtime Exceptional Contributions To Radio and Television in Professional Football
2004 Winner – Van Miller
Van Miller, the longtime “voice of the Buffalo Bills,” is the 2004 winner of the Pete Rozelle Radio and Television Award. The award which is presented by the Pro Football Hall of Fame is for longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football. Miller will be honored Saturday, August 7 at the Enshrinees Dinner, during the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend Celebration.
A veteran of 55 years of radio and television work, Miller has done it all. It is however, as the play-by-play voice of the Bills that he is best known. Although his broadcasting career began at WFCB in Dunkirk, New York, Van came to Buffalo in 1955 when the WBEN Radio and Television Network offered him a “three-month job as a summer replacement.” He took the job and stayed for 43 years.
In 1960, he was selected as the Bills' play-by-play announcer. It was the beginning of a “labor of love” that extended over 37 years – the most by any play-by-play announcer with the same team in NFL history. With the exception of a brief hiatus in the 1970s, Miller covered the Bills for their entire existence, from the lows of 2-14 seasons in 1984 and 1985 to the highs of four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the 1990s.
While the versatile Miller is best-known for his play calling of Bills games, he has also provided the play-by-play call for the NBA’s Buffalo Braves, Niagara University basketball, and the Buffalo Bisons minor league baseball team, the Buffalo Stallions of the MISL and the University of Buffalo’s football and basketball teams. In all, he has broadcast more than 2,500 sporting events. When fans recall the most memorable moments in Buffalo sports history, they usually replay a mental sound bite of one of Miller's excitable and distinctive narratives.
A member of the Western New York Sports Hall of Fame, the Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame, and the Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame, Van has twice been named the New York State TV and Radio Sportscaster of the Year. In addition to his storied radio broadcasting career, Miller is also a Buffalo television sports icon having served as a sports anchor and sports director for WBEN/WIVB-TV. Radio, however, he once confessed was his preference. “Radio is more of a challenge,” he explained. To the millions of listeners he entertained during his career, however, it didn’t sound challenging at all. It was just Van doing what he did so very well.
Related Story: Miller's Last Call Preserved at Hall
Previous Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award Winners
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1989 – Bill MacPhail
1990 – Lindsey Nelson
1991 – Ed Sabol
1992 – Chris Schenkel
1993 – Curty Gowdy
1994 – Pat Summerall
1995 – Frank Gifford
1996 – Jack Buck
1997 – Charlie Jones
1998 – Val Pinchbeck
1999 – Dick Enberg
2000 – Ray Scott
2001 – Roone Arledge
2002 – John Madden
2003 – Don Criqui