Jack Kemp

Buffalo Bills Quarterback

A native of Los Angeles, California., Jack Kemp was the first great quarterback of the Buffalo Bills. Kemp was the steady hand that guided the fledgling franchise through its rocky years in the American Football League (AFL).

Kemp attended Occidental College, where he obtained a degree in physical education, while earning three letters and being named All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference choice in his last two years.

After college, Kemp tried unsuccessfully to land a quarterbacking job in the National Football League. Eventually, he was signed by the “other league”, the newly formed AFL. Kemp, who played with the AFL Los Angeles and San Diego Chargers from 1960-62, came to the Buffalo Bills via waivers from San Diego. All Kemp did for Buffalo from 1962-69 was propel the Bills among the elite in AFL, a league that would merge with the NFL in 1970.

Kemp had the distinction of being the only quarterback to start at quarterback from the start of the AFL to its legal end in the AFL-NFL merger. He led his team in five of the AFL’s ten championship games, winning two of his three with the Bills.

In 1965, Kemp was awarded the AFL’s Most Valuable Player Award in a season culminated by the Bills 23-0 Championship game victory over Kemp’s old team, the San Diego Chargers.

After football, Kemp entered the political arena, where he would win a landslide victory to the United States House of Representatives, and he later became a presidential cabinet member, named in 1989 as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Kemp was inducted into the Buffalo Bills’ Wall of Fame in 1984.