It was during Super Bowl week in New Orleans this year when representatives from SiriusXM Satellite Radio approached Steve Tasker and Jim Kelly with an idea: How would they like to co-host a radio show about the Bills?
The two former teammates thought it was a good idea, and on Wednesday night of last week, SiriusXM aired a preview episode of “No Huddle,” on the Sirius NFL channel.
Tasker, in a phone conversation, explained that “No Huddle” will air 20 times during the NFL season, with him hosting all of them. Kelly will work 10 of them, and Andre Reed the other 10. The first show will air in late August.
On Wednesday’s preview, which originated from the Bills’ broadcast studios at One Bills Drive, Tasker and Kelly opened the show by paying tribute to the late Buffalo News sports columnist Larry Felser, who died last week at age 80.
Kelly recalled with a chuckle how he wasn’t always Felser’s biggest fan during his playing days.
“I think even when we played and I remember him coming in” the locker room, “and nobody wanted really to do an interview with Larry,” Kelly said. “There’s not many reporters that players really do like. … But as time went on and I retired I started to really get to know the guy.
“Larry, after my retirement, he was one of the main factors on why I was a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
Felser was the media person chosen to present to the voters the case for Kelly’s induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Larry Felser did that for Buffalo Bill after Buffalo Bill after Buffalo Bill,” Tasker said. “And he had a lot of clout within the voters of the Hall of Fame during his tenure there.”
Tasker sounded like he was wincing as he recalled Felser’s columns that began with “It is one of those opinionated days.”
“And you would pass that column around the locker room,” Tasker said, “and, man, some of his opinions, quite frankly we thought when we were playing that they stunk. But now I count him as one of my friends. I sought him out time and time again to talk about football. He was like an encyclopedia. I think one of the reasons nobody wanted to do an interview with him was because he was so intimidating. He knew stuff about the league nobody else knew.”
“And he also knew a lot about the players that we were hoping he didn’t know about us,” Kelly said. “After I got done playing, I got to know him more and more and I started to appreciate all the things that he knew.”
Tasker and Kelly had some really good chemistry in the opening episode, which bodes well for “No Huddle.”
Setting record straight
Tasker and Kelly, in their Sirius show, also touched upon Kelly’s appearance in the ESPN 30 for 30 film, “Elway to Marino,” an NFL Films documentary about the 1983 draft. The film airs this morning at 6:30 a.m. on ESPN2. It is also available for purchase in the iTunes store.
Kelly, of course, was drafted by the Bills that year, but chose to play for the USFL’s Houston Gamblers.
During the NFL draft, in a conversation recounted in the documentary, Kelly’s agent had asked if there were any teams for which he did not want to play.
“I don’t want to play for the Vikings,” he said. “I don’t want to play for the Packers and I SURE don’t want to play for the Buffalo Bills.”
Kelly, of course, pulled himself together after a two-year stint in the USFL to play for the Bills in a Hall of Fame career.
In his radio chat with Tasker, Kelly said that one of his comments about playing for the Bills got left on the cutting room floor of NFL Films.
Said Kelly: “They took out the part where I said that coming to Buffalo was the best move I ever made.”
Writer cries foul on Flash
Stefan Fatsis, writing in Slate.com last week, called out the Western New York Flash for letting Abby Wambach stay in the team’s match on April 21 in Maryland after the ball struck her in the head and knocked her to the ground, where she remained for several minutes. Wambach sat out Saturday night’s home opener in Rochester for what the team said were “precautionary measures” due to her head injury, but Fatsis — who attended the game against the Washington Spirit — thought Wambach should have been pulled from the field immediately.
“For every step forward in recognizing and treating brain injuries in sports, the jock culture takes a step backward,” Fatsis wrote. “The episode involving Wambach was as disturbing as any in the padded and helmeted NFL, and the message it sent to the 4,569 fans who filled the suburban soccer complex — maybe a third of them girls, including my 10-year-old daughter — was worse. Why? Because Wambach is her sport’s meal ticket. Because young athletes, including those who witnessed her collapse in a lifeless heap, want to be like her.”
NWSL commissioner Cheryl Bailey told Fatsis that the National Women’s Soccer League follows the U.S. Soccer concussion guidelines and that the league feels “very good about the protocol,” she said. “Everybody who was out there handled that appropriately.”