Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve Its History, Promote Its Values & Celebrate Excellence Everywhere
Share your pictures, videos, and stories from your visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on our social media. We might even feature you in one of our promotions!
Winning or losing often depends upon the mental approach of the team…I try and get myself 100 percent right mentally for every game."
(Georgia Tech)...6'2'', 258...William Lewis Shaw. . .First player to spend entire career in AFL to be elected to Hall of Fame. . .Two-way collegiate player . . . Drafted by Cowboys (NFL) and Bills (AFL). . .Chose Bills to play on offensive line. . . Equally adept at pass blocking and run blocking. . .Driving force behind offensive unit that led Buffalo to back-to-back AFL titles in 1964, 1965. . .All-AFL five times. . .Named to eight All-Star games. . . Born December 15, 1938 in Natchez, Mississippi.
In 1961, Billy Shaw, a 6-2, 258-pound All-America lineman out of Georgia Tech was drafted by both the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League and the Dallas Cowboys of the then-rival National Football League.
Shaw, who played both offense and defense at Georgia Tech, felt his size and speed were better suited to guard, where the Bills – who drafted him in the second-round – planned to use him. He heard that Dallas had planned to use him as a linebacker.
The fact that he went on to become one of the best and most-honored guards of the 1960s proves that he chose well. The stereotypical view of the AFL in the early 1960s was that of a pass-happy league. That, however, was not the case in Buffalo, where the Bills featured power running and a strong defense.
Equally adept at pass blocking and run blocking, his ability to pull out in front of runners was a perfect fit for the Bills. In fact, because Buffalo’s runners tended to be more durable than fast, he sometimes was able to stay in front of them to make blocks far downfield. Shaw’s speed, strength, and natural ability made him “the driving force of the offensive unit” according to his former offensive line coach Jerry Smith.
Especially effective on short-yardage scoring plays, Shaw would pull out from his left guard position followed by heavy-duty runners Cookie Gilchrist and Wray Carlton. Bills’ quarterback Jack Kemp or his super-sub Daryle Lamonica would follow the powerful trio of blockers – often untouched – into the end zone.
The Bills of 1962, 1963, and 1964 still rank among the best in the team record book for most rushing touchdowns scored in a season. A key member of the Bills teams that won AFL titles in 1964 and 1965, Shaw was named a first-team All-AFL selection five times (1962 through 1966) and also a second team All-AFL choice in 1962, 1968 and 1969.
He was selected to play in eight AFL All-Star Games and was named to the All-Time AFL Team. Named to pro football’s All-Decade Team of the 1960s, Shaw is the first Hall of Fame member to play his entire career in the AFL.
1964 AFL – Buffalo Bills 20, San Diego Chargers 7
Shaw started at left guard for the Bills.
1965 AFL – Buffalo Bills 23, San Diego Chargers 0
Shaw suffered a head injury on the opening kickoff that forced him to miss most of the first
1966 AFL – Kansas City Chiefs 31, Buffalo Bills 7
Shaw started at left guard for the Bills.
All-AFL: 1962 (AP) • 1963 (OL, AP, UPI, NEA, NY) • 1964 (OL, AP, UPI, NEA, NY) • 1965 (OL, AP, UPI, NEA, NY) • 1966 (OL, AP, UPI, NEA, NY)
All-AFL Second Team: 1962 (UPI) • 1968 (AP, SN) • 1969 (NEA)
(8) – 1963^, 1964^, 1965^, 1966^, 1967^, 1968^, 1969^, 1970^
^ AFL All-Star Game
Bills' records held by Shaw at the time of his retirement following the 1969 season
• [Tied for 1st] Most Seasons – 9
• [Tied for 1st] Most Consecutive Seasons – 9
Awards and Honors
• All-AFL Team
Full Name: William Lewis Shaw
Birthdate: December 15, 1938
Birthplace: Natchez, Mississippi
High School: Carr Central (Vicksburg, MS)
Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 30, 1999
Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: August 7, 1999
Presenter: Ed Abramoski, Retired Buffalo Bills' trainer
Other Members of Class of 1999: Eric Dickerson, Tom Mack, Ozzie Newsome, Lawrence Taylor
Pro Career: 9 seasons, 119 games
Drafted: 2nd round by Buffalo Bills, AFL
Uniform Number: 66