Friday, December 11, 2015

Review: Legends of the Buffalo Bills (2015)

By Randy Schultz

What does Randy Schultz have in common with the movie "Star Wars?" They both have sequels.

Schultz, naturally, is the less-famous of the two. The re-release of his book, "Legends of the Buffalo Bills," doesn't come with the advertising blitz that has accompanied the latest version of the famous science-fiction series.

Schultz's original book came out in 2003. He follows a rather foolproof formula. Schultz talked to a variety of Buffalo Bills figures from the course of their history, which began in 1960. Oldtimers, naturally, love to bring up the good old days, and this gives them the opportunity to do it.

So, as Vin Scully would say, Bills fans can "pull up a chair" and enjoy their favorite moments. Schultz's battling average in terms of interviews is very, very good. About the only drawback in that sense is that other people had to do the talking about Jim Kelly, since the great quarterback apparently wasn't available. But it works out well enough.

It is sort of interesting to compare the two editions of the book. It is important to note that not a great deal happened to the Bills from 2003 to 2015 in terms of adding to the list of great teams and moments. Buffalo did not participate in a single playoff game in that time. As far as players are concerned, few of them from that era are going to pop up on the Bills' Wall of Fame. The only players from those years that could have turned up in the revised book might by Ruben Brown and Brian Moorman. Schultz did get to write new chapters on a couple of Sixties players, Ernie Warlick and Tom Day, and new owner Terry Pegula's story is offered this time around too.

The sequel's biggest drawback is that Schultz wasn't allowed to do much updating. The text and pictures are in many cases exactly the same, with the new edition staying with black and white versions of some color photos. The author had the chance to rewrite the end of a few chapters, including the deaths of such figures as Ralph Wilson and Van Miller. But there are still some obvious references from 2003 that remain in the new book. The publisher really should have allowed Schultz to do a little more rewriting in order to get the stories up to date to cut down on some confusion.

I've been a friend of Randy's since 1978 or so, and I know how much good work he does. That's why this book isn't rated. But I can say with confidence that most long-time Bills fans will enjoy the time traveling aspects of the book and hearing from the Bills' stars of yesteryear.

Learn more about this book.

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