Former Bills coach Lou Saban and Bills great defensive tackle Tom Sestak are among the 2011 inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Very Good.
The Hall of Very Good was created 10 years ago by the Pro Football Researchers Association, a group formed in 1979 that now has 498 members in 11 countries. They are die-hard football fans, many of whom do credible and noteworthy research on the history of the game. The HOVG honors outstanding players and coaches who have not been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and seem unlikely to receive induction.
Besides Saban and Sestak, this year's HOVG class includes: quarterback Ken Anderson, wide receiver Cliff Branch, defensive back Bobby Dillon, safety Cliff Harris, wide receiver Harold Jackson, linebacker Andy Russell and tight end Jerry Smith.
Saban was an all-league choice as a linebacker and center for the Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference in 1948 and '49. He was head coach of the Patriots in 1960-1961, of the Buffalo Bills from 1962-1965, in Denver from 1967-1971 and back with the Bills from 1972 to the first part of the '76 season. He coached the Bills to AFL titles in '64 and '65. Of course, he is not on the Bills' Wall of Fame. His overall coaching record is 95-99-7. His Bills record is 68-45-4.
Sestak played for the Bills from 1962 to 1968. He was first-team All-AFL in '63, '64 and '65. He was named to the AFL's All-Decade team. Knee injuries hindered him from '66 on (although he still played 14 games in '66 and '67) and shortened his career. He would have had a great chance to get in the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he had stayed healthy and played, say, through '72.