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Howard Simon's Blog

Bills/WGR memories

After the Bills radio rights were awarded to WGR, I contacted some of the guys who were on the broadcast crew the last time WGR was the flagship during the 4 Super Bowl seasons.  Here is what Marc Stout wrote:

Hello, from Colorado, Bills fans...or should I say Tebow-town...?
The current fervor around the Broncos #15 in this city, state, and region rivals (finally!) what I experienced from March of 1989 through July of 1995 when I worked and lived in Buffalo.
Those years, being some of the best in the history the Bills' franchise, were also some of my most memorable.
At that time WGR 55 and 97 ROCK were AM and FM sister stations, under the same roof; 
97 ROCK'S studios backed up to Virginia Place with the front door of the building on Franklin Street (...and a stone's throw from Colter Bay!).
I was the 3rd man in the booth along with Van Miller and Greg Brown during the Bills game broadcasts on WGR 55 week in and week out, and was involved in the pre and post game shows as well.
Hmmm where do I start?
Well, that's easy.  
I start with Jim Kelly.
During the regular season and the playoffs I hosted a DAILY Jim Kelly 3 minute radio show on WGR 55.  
It aired in the mornings and afternoons.
So....I spent quite a bit of time with Jim; at Rich Stadium, at visiting stadiums, and at his house in Orchard Park.
Jim was great to work with.  
We became good friends.  
His many brothers and his mom and dad, when in town from the Pittsburgh area (which was for as many games as possible!), were always accommodating.
I can't even tell you how many copies of "Armed and Dangerous" he signed for me for Bills' fans back in 1992 when the book came out.
I think I even remember giving him a ride in my Plymouth Laser (yeah, I  know...) after the team charter landed post a win over the Packers at County Stadium in Milwaukee in 1991.  
Think he was banged up a bit.
That's another thing.  
I got to travel on the team charter.  
Not sure how it is now, but back in the early 90's the Bills had a tight charter flight.  
Coaches, players, team personnel, and the WGR radio crew ONLY.
Van Miller, Greg Brown, myself, and engineer Doug Wolf were the ONLY "outsiders" on the plane.  
This was vastly different from when I traveled with the Broncos from 1995-2000.  
Denver's charter was full of sales people and others that had received the trip as a "perk".
So with the Bills I was able to mingle with the players.  
And that meant getting summoned to the back of the plane by Jim Kelly, comparing notes about Led Zeppelin with special teams coach Bruce DeHaven, chit chatting with the humble Scott Radecic, getting grief from Shane Conlan, Kent Hull (insert any player's name here) or perhaps talking movies with Mark Pike.
By the way, Will Wolford nicknamed Mark Pike "PIKE-LENBURG" because from his first days as a Bill's rookie Mark "...brought it like Karl Mecklenburg"; the famous Denver Broncos linebacker.
So many Bills stand out as great players and great friends.
I was saddened this October when Kent Hull passed on my birthday. 
Will Wolford was a true friend and one of the smartest and funniest guys on the team.
I think I remember attending a Kenny Loggins concert at Melody Fair on a Saturday night during August of 1991 (again, I think I remember...);
after the Bills had won a Friday pre-season game in which rookie Phil Hansen had been a stand-out.
Will Wolford was happy to announce Phil to everyone at the show as the "...greatest Bills rookie ever..." (he wasn't that far off, was he?)
I got to know Shane Conlan and his wife Caroline well.  
I dated a Penn State friend of Caroline's while I was in Buffalo and had some fun times with the Conlans, as well as Ray Bentley and his wife.
I ran into Ray quite a bit while he was calling Arena Football games on NBC and I was part of the Colorado Crush broadcasts from 2003-2008.  
It was always great to see Ray; the guy that we knew as the linebacker that wore the Alice Cooper paint on his face, and wrote children's books featuring "Darby the dinosaur"!
Remember Matt Darby?  
Or Brad Lamb? 
Or Mark Maddox.  
Mark Maddox; awesome dude that is still helping others in Arizona where he ended his career with the Cardinals.
Can't say enough about Don Beebe, Frank Reich, Gale Gilbert, John Fina, Adam Lingner,  and so many others.
Another player that fits the mold of over achiever and character, would be Mike Lodish.
Mike was one of my best friends back in the day and a guy that I still get a chance to speak to off and on.
Lodish was a 10th round pick of the Bills in 1990; made the team, lived at Jim Kelly's house, and eventually ended up in Denver and played in 6 Super Bowls in his career.
Mike and I saw more than a couple of Sabres games together...
Did Gale Gilbert appear in more Super Bowls than Lodish?  
After the Bills beat the Chiefs in the 1993 AFC championship game Gale was with former Seattle teammate Dave Krieg in the Bills locker room.
You may remember Cornelius Bennett knocking Joe Montana out of that game; and Krieg quarterbacking KC.
The Bills were more worried when Krieg entered the game!
Chris Hale.  
Number 26.
That dang Achilles injury...in Cleveland, right?
Pete Metzlelaars, Mark Kelso, Steve Tasker, Steve Christie, Chris Mohr, Rick "bootin" Tuten (the pumped up punter!)...the list goes on of great players and great memories.
Steve Tasker helped me out with an on field interview in 1997 when I was back in Buffalo as part of the Broncos radio team.
What a player that guy was, huh?
Glenn Parker, Jamie Mueller, and I went to see the Black Crowes and ZZ Top at the Aud like a week after one of the Super Bowl losses.
I interviewed Glenn while riding on the back of his Harley in the Rich Stadium parking lot (...not far from the Big Tree, oh by the way...).
Cliff Hicks was cool, as was the only Marvcus I have ever known, Marvcus Patton.
There was the quiet "House" Ballard and the loud Jerry Crafts...ah the "Condo" could rock it (and the dude was athletic at 6'5"/340).
As athletic was Jim Ritcher; though at 6'3/270.  
I think it was agreed that Ritcher was as tough a guy to run into as anyone...
It has been great to reconnect with O lineman John Davis on face book.
Carlton Bailey had that interception that sent the Bills to a 4th straight Super Bowl; he went to see some jazz downtown after that game.
And I will never forget my good Buffalo friend RUDY PIKUZINSKI lobbying to wear his Darryl Talley Bills jersey in warm-ups before a Blizzard NPSL game at the Aud.
To Rudy, who has Buffalo in his blood, Talley was the heart and soul of those great Bills teams.
Marc Stout

Marc has been working in Denver since leaving Buffalo in 1995.  He is currently part of the Rockies TV team on ROOT Sports.  He can also be found on Facebook.

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