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MemoraBillia: Marquise Goodwin autographed his way to health

By Tim Graham

Marquise Goodwin's recovery from a busted hand involved some unusual therapy.

The Buffalo Bills receiver and return man got the strength back by signing autographs.

Card manufacturer Panini America, as it does with dozens of rookies, sent Goodwin a box of his cards for him to sign so they could be randomly inserted into 2013 Contenders Football packs.

A member of the Bills' medical staff suggested Goodwin sign the cards as part of his recovery from a fractured right hand.

Continue reading "MemoraBillia: Marquise Goodwin autographed his way to health" »

MemoraBillia: Though Bills lead way, card industry grimaces

By Tim Graham

Turns out memorabilia speculators think the same way as NFL scouts.

When it comes to analyzing this year's rookie class, there hasn't been a lot of hope for superstardom.

Even so, there has been excitement about the Buffalo Bills' rookies.

Not only did they make EJ Manuel the first quarterback off the board, but they also obtained intriguing receivers Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Da'Rick Rogers.

Continue reading "MemoraBillia: Though Bills lead way, card industry grimaces" »

MemoraBillia exclusive: Bills WR Robert Woods Topps rookie card

By Tim Graham

First-round pick EJ Manuel is the headliner of the Buffalo Bills' draft class.

The rookie who projects as a near-lock to be an opening-day starter, though, is receiver Robert Woods. The second-round pick from USC is a polished target, and the Bills need somebody other than Stevie Johnson to run routes for whomever wins the quarterback job.

The Topps Company has allowed the Press Coverage blog to unveil the rookie cards for Woods and Manuel this morning and also has offers to win autographed items from the passing tandem.

Continue reading "MemoraBillia exclusive: Bills WR Robert Woods Topps rookie card" »

MemoraBillia exclusive: Bills QB EJ Manuel's Topps rookie card

By Tim Graham

There are all sorts of trading card companies that churn out products every year.

And when it comes to rookie cards, collectors need a checklist, a wad of cash and forensics background to track down all eleventy-six versions of their favorite young player.

There's only one Topps, however.

Continue reading "MemoraBillia exclusive: Bills QB EJ Manuel's Topps rookie card" »

MemoraBillia: Collectors should gravitate to Buffalo's rookies

By Tim Graham

When it comes to the latest sports cards, nothing drives the market like hot rookies.

For a change, the Buffalo Bills have them this year.

The Bills haven't been too relevant in the industry. The Bills have misfired on many picks, and some of their best either played positions that simply don't appeal to collectors (linemen, defensive players) or took time to develop.

Continue reading "MemoraBillia: Collectors should gravitate to Buffalo's rookies" »

MemoraBillia: Bills, Patriots kicked off AFL 52 years ago

By Tim Graham

When the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots meet this afternoon in Ralph Wilson Stadium, it will renew the oldest series in AFL history.

The Bills' first preseason game in 1960 was against the Boston Patriots at the Rockpile.

In that game -- the rare program is courtesy of Buffalo Sports Museum chief John Boutet -- the Patriots won 28-7 in front of a crowd of nearly 16,500. Running back Maurice Bassett scored the Bills' first touchdown and got cut a few days later.

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MemoraBillia: The Bills' first trip to Cleveland

By Tim Graham

CLEVELAND -- This week's installment of MemoraBillia goes waaaaaaaay back in time to the first Buffalo Bills season.

It was 1947 in the All-America Football Conference. The Bills had just switched their name from the Bisons and, as this program from the Greater Buffalo Sports Museum archives of John Boutet shows, were going to test themselves against the defending champion Cleveland Browns in Week Two at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

The Bills trailed, 27-0, at halftime and lost, 30-14. Bills halfback Chet Mutryn ran 12 times for 114 yards, but the Browns were powered by Marion Motley, Otto Graham, Dante Lavelli and Luu Groza. I'm going to assume that Paul Brown outcoached Red Dawson, too.

But I'll also assume the Bills had the Browns beat in the mascot category.

As a native Clevelander, I have no clue what this little guy on the program cover was supposed to represent. Not exactly an intimidating creature, despite the balled-up fists.

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MemoraBillia: Chiefs at Bills with Super Bowl at stake

By Tim Graham

The Bills Alumni Foundation has assembled a sensational weekend. Dozens of former Buffalo Bills and some of their notable opponents will gather for a fundraising gala at Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, a tailgating party Sunday morning at Ralph Wilson Stadium and a golf tournament Monday.

One of the guests will be legendary Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson, with whom I spoke for a story that will run in Sunday's paper.

Since I had Dawson on the line, I asked him what comes to mind when he recalls playing the Bills back in the day.

"It was beautiful War Memorial Stadium," Dawson said.

You could almost see his eyes rolling through the phone.

"Of course, there weren't any good stadiums to speak of in those AFL days. The Cotton Bowl was the best of the lot, but that was like a private showing for five or six thousand people in a 75,000-seat stadium."

Dawson has vivid memories of the 1966 Bills team.

His Chiefs and the two-time-defending-champion Bills met for the AFL title at the Rockpile on Jan. 1, 1967. The score was tied at 7 after the first quarter, but the Chiefs scored the final 24 points and advanced to the first Super Bowl.

"They were a very good football team in 1966," Dawson said. "We were fortunate to beat them. We respected them a great deal."

One play in particular had Dawson chuckling.

"A block that I threw," he said. "Mike Garrett was supposed to run a sweep to the left. He went over there and stopped and came back to the right.

"Now, I'm there. I know I'm on film. So I'm going to block somebody and make it look good. There was the big defensive end, Ron McDole. He just swatted me like I was a fly, but I at least occupied him for enough time that Mike Garrett was able to run around him and score a touchdown."

Dawson and McDole can reminisce about that play this weekend. McDole is scheduled to attend the casino's VIP reception at 6 p.m. The tailgate party is from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday at the stadium. A celebrity golf tournament will take place Monday at Hickory Stick in Lewiston.

Also scheduled to appear are Hall of Famers Anthony Munoz, Elvin Bethea and Roger Wehrli and L.C. Greenwood and Albert Lewis.

Bills alumni are expected to include Al Bemiller, Mark Brammer, Ruben Brown, Butch Byrd, Steve Christie, Hilton Crawford, Joe Cribbs, Joe DeLamielleure, Booker Edgerson, Charley Ferguson, Joe Ferguson, Will Fowler, Tony Greene, Harry Jacobs, Ken Jones, Marlon Kerner, Joe Kulbacki, Daryle Lamonica, Frank Lewis, Adam Lingner, Reggie McKenzie, Paul Maguire, Mike McBath, Pete Mills, Jeff Nixon, Marlo Perry, Lou Piccone, Andre Reed, Ed Rutkowski, Kurt Schulz, Paul Seymour, Billy Shaw, Mike Stratton, David White, Chris Williams, Jeff Wright, Marlin Briscoe, Chris Keating, Paul Guidry, Ernie Warlick, Bob Schmidt, George Flint, Butch Rolle, Roland Hooks, J.D. Hill and Leonard Smith.

Thanks once again go to friend of the Press Coverage blog Jon Boutet of the Buffalo Sports Museum for this image of the 1966 AFL Championship Game program (50 cents) and ticket stub ($10).

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MemoraBillia: Bills-Titans blast from the past

By Tim Graham

Just for fun and with the season starting today, here's a throwback Buffalo Bills program cover from the late Niagara Falls cartoonist Kevin Weil.

The game was between the Bills and the New York Titans (who would become the Jets) at War Memorial Stadium on Sept. 22, 1962.

Buffalo lost, 17-6, even though New York ran for a paltry 84 yards and netted 151 passing yards. Buffalo's only points were a touchdown pass from Warren Rabb to Elbert Dubenion. Wayne Crow, Ernie Warlick and Cookie Gilchrist rushed for 174 yards.

The image is courtesy John Boutet of the Buffalo Sports Museum.

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MemoraBillia: Buffalo continues to extend due date

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By Tim Graham

Well, Buffalo Bills fans still are waiting.

Forty years after this spiffy bumper sticker was produced, the Bills continue to seek their first NFL championship.

Twelve doesn't rhyme with due, but this vintage piece of memorabilia -- courtesy John Boutet of the Buffalo Sports Museum -- still seems appropriate to post on the verge of a season with high expectations.

When this bumper sticker was produced, the Bills were only seven years removed from their second consecutive AFL title and six years removed from their last postseason appearance.

The definition of "due" sure has changed.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | tgraham@buffnews.com


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | mgaughan@buffnews.com


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | jskurski@buffnews.com

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