January 5, 1971: Bills QB Dennis Shaw Named Rookie Of The Year

The Buffalo Bills thought they found Jack Kemp's replacement when they selected San Diego State QB Dennis Shaw at 30th overall in the 1970 NFL Draft. Following his rookie year, Shaw was named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Receiving such an award isn't necessarily an indication of great success. Shaw passed for twice as many interceptions (20) as touchdowns (10) in 1970. In his 12 starts, he led the Bills to a 3-8-1 record, was sacked 41 times, and fumbled ten times.

Shaw was in the league's top ten in completions, attempts, yards, yards per attempt, yards per completion, and completion percentage. He went 178 for 321 for 2,507 yards, and beat out the likes of Hall of Famers Mel Blount and Terry Bradshaw - plus perennial Pro Bowlers Lemar Parrish and Jake Scott - for the award.

Only four quarterbacks have received the award to date: Shaw, Ben Roethlisberger, Vince Young, and Matt Ryan. They will likely soon be joined by Rams rookie Sam Bradford. Shaw was the only QB to receive the award in the first 37 years it was given out, beginning in 1967.

Shaw played four seasons for the Bills, losing the starting job after three when the Bills selected Joe Ferguson in the third round of the 1973 draft. While Ferguson didn't win Rookie of the Year, he won nine games (more than the eight Shaw won in three seasons) and solidified himself as the Bills' QB for the rest of the decade.

Shaw played two seasons as the backup QB for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1974 and 1975 before finishing his career as a member of the 1976 New York Giants and the 1978 Kansas City Chiefs. He never took a snap for either team. His record as Bills starting QB was a dismal 8-27-2.

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