Lou Saban

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Buffalo Bills Head Coach

In the early 1960s and again in the 1970s, the Buffalo Bills enjoyed two separate glory eras. The driving force behind both was Lou Saban, whose style of coaching won him the respect, love and loyalty of his players.

A former all-star linebacker with the Cleveland Browns, “Trader Lou” came to Buffalo from Boston as a head coach for the first time in 1962 and set to work building the Bills. In 1964 and 1965 the Bills went 12-2, and 10-3-1, enroute to consecutive AFL championships. He was named Coach of the Year twice, but one week after winning his second title, he quit to become head coach at Maryland.

In 1971, Saban returned to Buffalo.. inheriting a 1-13 team. During his second stint, he doubled the number of carries per game for O.J. Simpson and assembled the “Electric Company,” the offensive line that “turned on the juice.” The Bills improved to 4-9 in 1972 and soared to 9-5 in 1973, the same year Simpson became the first pro back to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season.

Saban always put a great deal of emphasis on fundamentals and on the team concept. He was also a good judge of talent and he recognized that each player had a different personality. Booker Edgerson, who played for Saban in college, in Buffalo and in Denver, paid Saban the following tribute: “He respected us and treated us as individuals.he taught us to respect each other as human beings. The players loved him, and despite our differences we came together and played as a team.”