Former Bills quarterback Daryle Lamonica and some of the other star performers Buffalo has faced will be featured at the Bills Alumni Foundation's annual weekend of events starting Saturday.
Among the events on the schedule of fund-raising events will be a VIP Gala at Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls at 6 p.m. Saturday, a VIP Tailgate Tent Party at Ralph Wilson Stadium from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday and the Alumni Charity Celebrity Golf Classic on Monday (10 a.m. shotgun start) at Seneca Hickory Stick in Lewiston.
"Greatest Rivals" is the theme of the celebration and the Alumni Foundation has invited Lamonica and other greats of the NFL.
Scheduled to appear are Pro Football Hall of Famers Len Dawson, Anthony Munoz, Elvin Bethea and Roger Wehrli as well as All-Pros L.C. Greenwood, Albert Lewis and Lamonica.
During its American Football League championship years, Buffalo had no bigger rival, perhaps, than Dawson, the quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs and their predecessor, the Dallas Texans.
The Bills were unbeaten against Dallas/Kansas City for eight games from 1962 through '65, but Dawson got his revenge when he led the Chiefs to a 31-7 victory over Buffalo in the 1966 AFL championship game at War Memorial Stadium. The outcome meant the Chiefs, not the Bills, had the honor of facing the NFL champion Green Bay Packers in what was to become known as Super Bowl I.
Booker Edgerson, Alumni Foundation president and cornerback on the Bills' teams of the '60s, remembers Dawson's deceptive ball handling on play-action passes.
"If a cornerback was caught looking into the backfield, more than likely he would get burned," said Edgerson, who ranks Dawson and Babe Parilli of the Boston Patriots as the trickiest ball handlers he had to face.
Deal that lives in infamy
If there was a vote for "Worst Trade in Bills History," it probably would be unanimous: The deal that sent Lamonica from Buffalo to the Oakland Raiders in 1967. It still hurts long-time Bills fans to think about it, especially the six touchdown passes Lamonica put up in the first half of the 50-21 rout of the Bills in 1969.
Greenwood was a two-time first-team All-Pro end with the Pittsburgh Steelers' famed Steel Curtain defense in 1974 and '75. He was surrounded by future Hall of Fame players - Mean Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham and Mel Blount - which may be the reason that he was a six-time finalist in Hall of Fame voting but never selected to enter the shrine in Canton, Ohio.
That's an injustice, according to Bills Hall of Fame guard Joe DeLamielleure.
"Donnie Green [Bills' right tackle on the Electric Company Line of those years] and I talk about it all the time," DeLamielleure said. "We can't believe he's not in the Hall of Fame. He had such great moves and he played hard all the time."
Few offensive linemen the Bills have faced enjoyed a career that matches that of Anthony Munoz, the fixture at left tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1980 to 1992.
The Bills ran into Munoz and the Bengals 11 times, including playoff games in 1981 and 1988. The '88 game was for the AFC championship. There were some titanic matchups between Munoz and Bills' Hall of Fame right defensive end Bruce Smith. Bruce managed 4˝ sacks against Munoz, all in three Buffalo losses.
With Bethea at defensive end in the Houston lineup, starting in 1968, Buffalo was winless in eight games against the Oilers until a 30-13 victory in Elvin's final season (1983).
A four-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time first-team All-Pro in a career that spanned 1983-98, Lewis faced star receiver Andre Reed and the Bills five times as the starting left cornerback with the Chiefs (1983-93).
Buffalo faced the-then St. Louis Cardinals only three times during Wehrli's time, winning once, on Thanksgiving Day in 1975.
Bills standouts Edgerson, Butch Byrd, DeLamielleure, Billy Shaw, Jeff Wright, Andre Reed and Joe Ferguson will be paired with each of the opposing legends at Saturday's Gala. Former Bill Paul Maguire will be the master of ceremonies.
Among the Bills Alumni expected to attend the weekend events are: Al Bemiller, Mark Brammer, Ruben Brown, Byrd, Steve Christie, Hilton Crawford, Joe Cribbs, DeLamielleure, Edgerson, Charley Ferguson, Joe Ferguson, Will Fowler, Tony Greene, Harry Jacobs, Ken Jones, Marlon Kerner, Joe Kulbacki, Lamonica, Frank Lewis, Adam Lingner, Reggie McKenzie, Maguire, Mike McBath, Pete Mills, Jeff Nixon, Marlo Perry, Lou Piccone, Reed, Ed Rutkowski, Kurt Schulz, Paul Seymour, Billy Shaw, Mike Stratton, David White, Chris Williams, Wright, Marlin Briscoe, Ron McDole, Chris Keating, Paul Guidry, Ernie Warlick, Bob Schmidt, George Flint, Butch Rolle, Roland Hooks, J.D. Hill and Leonard Smith.
The Alumni Weekend is the foundation's primary fund-raising event.
"This year we are making the American Diabetes Association our primary recipient of funds raised in 2012," Edgerson said.
The Bills Alumni Weekend of Events is open to the public. For sponsorship information, tickets or general information, call JRC Promotions at 694-7867 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.