"During that off-season, Jim (Kelly) lobbied hard for us to go to that offense full-time. His rationale in his meetings with Marv Levy and offensive coordinator Ted Marchibroda was simple but right on: "If it works, why would you do anything else? If they can't stop us, don't let us stop us. Let me do it, and let's see if they can stop us."
Little nuggets of insight into the Buffalo Bills teams of the late 1980s to mid-90s, like this quote about Kelly pushing for the no-huddle, is what I was really hoping to get inundated with when I read Steve Tasker's Tales from the Buffalo Bills. That wasn't really the case, however. Co-authored by Scott Pitoniak, the book is sort of a collection of Tasker's thoughts that have been grouped together by common theme. There are some really good quotes and stories that many Bills fans didn't know; if you are like me, however, there isn't much in this book that will make you say, "Wow, I never knew that!"
The book is broken up into nine segments, but that really could have been whittled down to three. The first part is really just Tasker talking about the front office personnel, and the players on the Bills in those days. Almost everyone is either the biggest, the nicest, the strongest, the smartest, the most athletic, or "all of the above" person that Steve has ever met. The second part is Tasker's memories of big games during his career. The Pro Bowls, the comeback, and of course, the Super Bowls. I was really hoping for his insight in this segment about plays or moments, or even something that one of the team leaders said to the other players that made a difference, but I never really got that kind of stuff. The third part really saved this book for me. Tasker tells of some famous pranks that took place, and talks about how players got their nicknames. His, for example, was "Seve." I won't ruin it and tell you how he got that nickname. There is some good stuff in this book; you just have to be patient.
Was it worth it?
The price on the cover for this book is U.S.$19.95/Canadian $24.95. (I thought that the U.S. dollar was worth less then the Canadian dollar, but oh well, that isn't my problem.) $19.95 is a pretty steep price for a book, especially one that is only 171 pages. There are some good classic photos, and as I said earlier, there are some good anecdotes about the team we all love, but not enough for my liking. Tales from the Bills is pretty easy reading. I doubt there are three straight pages of print - it is broken up quite a bit. If you can get your hands on this book for about $12 or less, put it in your bathroom and when you have a "moment," this book is a great time killer. It is segmented enough that you won't get stuck on the bowl for so long that your legs go numb.
I would give Steve Tasker's Tales from the Buffalo Bills a solid C+. It was an easy read with some nice pictures. The price tag and the fact that it didn't overwhelm me with great inside stories from those Bills teams bring the grade down. It is a good book to read if you were too young to remember those teams or if you don't recall much from that time when it comes to the Bills. Worth the time, at the right price.