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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Swing and a miss

     March 14, 1967 -- For four years, the Buffalo Bills had a small quarterback controversy. Jack Kemp was the usual starter, and no one could dispute his accomplishments. The American Football League played for 10 years, and Kemp was in five championship games.

     But he was backed up by Daryle Lamonica, who was signed out of Notre Dame and debuted for the Bills in 1963. There's usually never anyone more popular in a town than a backup quarterback, and Lamonica showed signs of ability when he won all four of his starts during his four years in Buffalo.

     As of 1967, Lamonica was sick of waiting for a shot, and a trade made sense. So Buffalo dealt Lamonica and wide receiver Glenn Bass to the Oakland Raiders for quarterback Tom Flores and wide receiver Art Powell.

     Lamonica promptly led the Raiders to a 13-1 record and an appearance in the second Super Bowl. "The Mad Bomber" started for Oakland through 1972, leading the AFL in passing yards per game twice.  He seemed to take particular delight in throwing long TD passes against the Bills.

     The Bills, meanwhile, when straight downhill. Kemp had injury and interception problems through the end of his career in 1969. Flores only completed 27 of 74 passes as a Bill, with nine interceptions. Powell went from 53 catches in Oakland to 20 in Buffalo and was essentially done with pro football a year later.

     The Bills didn't return to a championship game until the 1990 season.

--- Budd Bailey

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