"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

ESPN DELIVERS WITH A GREAT 30 FOR 30

I just finished watching a terrific documentary by ESPN on the Buffalo Bills teams that advanced to four consecutive Super Bowls and failed to come away with any victories in the ultimate game of their sport. It features appearances by Jim Kelly, Scott Norwood, Darrell Talley, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Steve Tasker, Don Beebe, Frank Reich, former head coach Marv Levy and former General Manager Bill Polian. It's a well produced and poignant look back at a team that has, over time, become much more appreciated for what they accomplished. It also does a great job of characterizing the city of Buffalo as a community that embraces its team and appreciates the efforts of the Bills players.

Personally, I have some particular attachments to that Bills team. First of all, Bruce Smith played for Virginia Tech, my alma mater. Smith is also from the Tidewater area of Virginia, where I grew up. I remember, during my last year at Tech, my roommate and trainer on the football team informed me that the Hokies had recruited a kid from Norfolk that could change the face of the program. Little did I realize at the time how prophetic it was. I attended handful of games during his tenure in Blacksburg and watched him single-handedly dismantle opponents' offensive schemes. Bruce Smith went on to win the Outland Trophy as the best lineman in college football, get chosen as the first player in the NFL draft and get elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A few years ago, I got the opportunity to hear Frank Reich, who quarterbacked the biggest comebacks in both college and NFL history, speak at a luncheon in Northwest Arkansas. Reich at that time was in ministry, but has since returned to coaching. Much of his inspirational message was based on how the Bills continued to fight in face of adversity, and a lot of that same theme is apparent in the 30 for 30 episode.

The show got me thinking about the significance of what those Bills teams accomplished. They won four consecutive AFC titles, a difficult feat in and of itself. That means they not only qualified for the playoffs in each of those seasons, but they also had to navigate through a difficult postseason schedule four years in a row. Granted, they are one of only two franchises to advance to four Super Bowls without a win, the other being the Minnesota Vikings. But they are also one of only nine teams to get to four Super Bowls. The Lions, Browns, Jaguars and Texans have never even been to a single one, while the Eagles, Titans, Bengals, Panthers, Falcons and Chargers are still without a Super Bowl crown. The last time the Chiefs made the Big Game was 1970, the Jets the year before. The Dolphins haven't been since Dan Marino's rookie season in 1984, and the formerly mentioned Chargers, Falcons and Cardinals have only made one appearance.

My point here is that the Bills have been roundly criticized and even ridiculed for going 0 for four years, but that grossly diminishes their accomplishment of making it to the Super Bowl for four consecutive seasons. There are a lot of players, as pointed out in the show, that never made it to the Super Bowl. That list includes current and future Hall of Famers like Chris Carter, Dan Fouts, Eric Dickerson and Tony Gonzalez. It's easy for people that aren't in the game to take pot shots at those that are, but if you've never played the sport and experienced what it takes to excel at the highest level, then it's probably best to keep your mouth shut. I highly recommend watching the 30 for 30 episode "Four Falls" to gain a great appreciation for a very special team.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first two, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel" and "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and SmashwordsTune into www.WPFLRADIO.com at 8:40 am EST every Friday for my Beyond the Commentary segment on "Lou in the Morning" with Lou Vickery and Jonathan McMath.