by Scott Kindberg
February 19, 2008
Kelly Not A Member Of the Belichick Fan Club
But when the Hall of Fame quarterback watched Super Bowl XLII a couple of weeks ago, there was no doubt who he was rooting for.
And it was not New England.
“If you were to ask me this question about halfway through this season, I’d probably would (have been) pulling for the Patriots.” Kelly said during a press conference Monday night prior to the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame banquet at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club. “But the more Bill Belichick talked the more it made me pull against them."
“…I always like to see good things happen to good people, and Eli Manning was a class act, a young kid who says the right things and has been through it all. So I pulled for the New York Giants to win.”
Then Kelly, the owner of virtually all the Buffalo Bills passing records, offered another shot at the Patriots head coach.
“Bill Belichick, almost got to the point, from my standpoint, that he thought he was so much better than everybody else I don’t care about ‘Spygate,’ that doesn’t bother me. It’s just the person in general I have other issues that I know about that we don’t talk about. I like the way Eli handled himself, I like the Manning family and I wanted to see the Giants win, pure and simple.”
More than 20 years after donning a Bills uniform for the first time, Kelly’s name has popped up as a potential member of new ownership group that would succeed current owner, Ralph Wilson.
“You never know,” Kelly said, “I might be watching a Bills’ game from the booth as part owner, but that’s still a long ways away. For me, it’s just exciting for me to be in this area and make my home here.”
“(Ownership discussions) are something way down the road. My main focus is my son’s foundation (Hunter’s Hope) and what we’re doing with that. That is my main priority. Yeah, I like to go hunting and fishing and do all the great things up here. I built a nice lodge at Holiday Valley down in Ellicottville that we go to all the time. It’s just something the more people you meet, the more questions are asked about the future of the Bills and if I’m going to be a part of it, and it’s so premature. It’s just a matter, right now, for me to find out if the Bills can do it next year. I’m not worried about the ownership part of it. I’m worried about the team and who’s going to be the quarterback next year and who’s going to lead this team.”
Kelly feels comfortable with the Bills’ decision to go with Trent Edwards behind center, but he does have some sympathy for veteran J.P. Losman, who doesn’t appear to be in the team’s long term plans.
“For me, Trent has all the potential in the world,” Kelly said. “I really watched him closely this year. I know J.P.’s going through some struggling times, but, again, he had about three opportunities to show he can or cannot do it. He’s not the future quarterback of the Bills right now. It’s Trent Edwards.”
Kelly said he likes the way Edwards sits in the pocket, goes through his progressions and his decision making. The fact that the now second-year pro isn’t mobile doesn’t bother Kelly in the least.
“You look at the top quarterbacks in the league – Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Brett Favre – and what kind of quarterbacks are they? They’re pocket quarterbacks... Too many people nowadays are looking for a guy who can do it all. I’m not. If I was the owner, I’d look for a guy who can stay in the pocket, has a strong arm and has the smarts to read a defense.
Kelly said ont of the highlights of his career was the Bills’ 51–3 victory over the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1990 AFC Championship Game, a contest in which he directed a flawless no-huddle offense that exhausted their rivals from the west coast.
“That stood out in my mind because (that led to) the first Super Bowl we ever played in,” he said. “We knew that going into that game that we were going to have to play an error-free game, and we did… (All-Pro Defensive lineman) Howie Long was yelling, 'Slow the ball down', because he was getting too tired.”
Of the members of the Bills’ four Super Bowl teams, Kelly, former head coach Marv Levy and running back Thurman Thomas have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Kelly believes wide receiver Andre Reed should be there, too.
“Andre should be there, without a doubt,” he said. “He will, he’ll get in. Unfortunately for us, he should have been in a couple years ago. It’s getting harder and harder every year. …..For me, Andre should have been in the first year, first ballot, but in due time, he’ll get in there.”