(Born on December 15, 1938) -- Care to guess how many people have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame without playing a single game in the National Football League? The answer is one, and today’s his birthday.
Billy Shaw grew up in Mississippi. When his high school dropped football, his parents moved so that he could continue his athletic career. It worked, as Shaw landed at Georgia Tech.
There he became one of the all-time greats at the school. He played both offensive and defensive tackles, and was an All-American. The Cowboys and Bills both drafted him, but Dallas wanted him to move to linebacker. Buffalo thought he’d be a better fit on one of the lines, and that convinced Shaw to sign with it.
He turned out to be one of the Bills’ all-time greats. He was all-AFL four times and played in eight All-Star Games. When the AFL picked its all-time team after the 1969 season, Shaw was on it.
The guard retired after that 1969 season. It took a while for him to make it to Canton, but he was finally given that honor in 1999.
--- Budd Bailey