Inside The Bills

Spielman story profiled on NFL Network

Posted by Chris Brown on October 29, 2012 – 10:07 am

Former Bills LB Chris Spielman will be featured in the NFL Network Emmy-award winning series ‘A Football Life’ Wednesday night on NFL Network.

Here’s a brief description of the Spielman documentary.

Born and raised in the shadow of the birthplace of professional football, Chris Spielman was destined to become a football player. As a Parade All-American at Massillon High School and Ohio State, and throughout his 10-year NFL career, Spielman’s life was defined by football and the hits he delivered on the field. But the hardest hit of his life, however, came when his high school sweetheart and wife Stefanie Spielman was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998 at the age of 30. The focus of his life shifted from the field to off it, and to the biggest challenge he would ever encounter.

The program airs on Oct. 31st at 8 pm ET on NFL Network.


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’96 Bills & ’12 Bills a comparison

Posted by Chris Brown on June 29, 2012 – 9:40 am

With Chris Spielman telling Buffalobills.com he sees some similarities with respect to the 2012 Bills and the team he signed up to join in free agency back in 1996 we thought we’d take a look at where that 10-6 team in ’96 finished up and what kind of season the 2012 Bills are coming off of a season ago to see if we can gauge just how similar they might be.

The ’96 defense finished 9th overall, 10th in third down defense, 14th against the run, 8th against the pass, 8th in 1st downs allowed, 5th in pass breakups and 3rd in sacks.

The ’12 Bills are coming off a 2011 season in which they finished 26th overall, 21st in third down defense, 28th against the run, 19th against the pass, 27th in first downs allowed, 20th in pass breakups and 27th in sacks.

This year’s team might look a long way off with the numbers, but one has to consider the veteran free agent additions (M. Williams, Anderson), the players coming back from injury (K. Williams, Merriman, McGee), the draft talent added (Gilmore) and the maturation of young players stepping into starting roles (A. Williams, Sheppard) along with a proven defensive coach now running the show (Wannstedt).

Roll all that together and I believe a lot of the numbers put up by the ’96 Bills are very realistic for this year’s squad, particularly the rankings for run defense (14th), pass breakups (5th) and sacks (3rd). So Spielman appears to be onto something with his assessment.  

Yes, the defensive line talent is comparable between the two clubs (Bruce Smith-Mario Williams, Ted Washington-Marcell Dareus, Phil Hansen-Kyle Williams, Bryce Paup-Mark Anderson/Shawne Merriman). That looks like the strength of both defensive units. The 2012 unit however, has more opportunistic safeties than the ’96 squad had in then rookie Matt Stevens and Kurt Schulz, who collectively logged just six INTs.


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Spielman’s choice easier than Mario’s

Posted by Chris Brown on June 29, 2012 – 8:23 am

Chris Spielman, who sees the postseason as a distinct possibility for the 2012 Bills, admitted that his decision to sign with the Bills as a free agent back in 1996 was easy. That’s why he was impressed with Mario Williams decision to do the same despite the fact that the team hasn’t been to the playoffs for quite some time.

“Money obviously was a factor, let’s not kid ourselves,” said Spielman. “But it has to be a fit too or you’ll be miserable. And if you’re miserable then you won’t live up to your commitment to your teammates and the team and the city. But he obviously saw promise and believed in what they’re doing and believed in the coaching staff.

“It was easy for me because I was coming in with a Hall of Fame quarterback in Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas, who despite being a Hall of Famer I feel was underrated. The late Kent Hull was a great player. And then on my side of the ball I was playing with guys like Bruce Smith, Ted Washington, Bryce Paup, an underrated player in Sam Rogers who was a really good player.

“(Mario) obviously likes the players and the talent and he believes that this is the place for him. Hopefully it works out for them.”


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Spielman part of Ride for Roswell

Posted by Chris Brown on June 22, 2012 – 2:52 pm

The annual Ride for Roswell event to raise money for cancer research begins this Saturday June 22nd, with opening ceremonies this evening (Friday). Buffalobills.com caught up with Spielman, who has been a major advocate for cancer research ever since his late wife Stefanie was diagnosed back in 1998.

“When Stefanie was originally diagnosed I was still playing for the Buffalo Bills,” said Spielman. “And the fans of Buffalo, the ownership, Mr. Wilson, everyone that was associated with the team was so supportive. Roswell is a great cancer hospital and we’re lucky to have it here in Western New York. I’m involved with our cancer hospital back in Columbus, Ohio and so I know how important research is. So anytime you have a chance to raise money and entrust it to the doctors, researchers and nurses, cancer takes another punch to the face.”

Spielman, who had just neck fusion surgery for a neck injury, found out a short time later that his wife was diagnosed with cancer. He ultimately chose to step away from football for a year in the final year of his contract with the Bills missing the 1998 season.

“They still have a Spielman fund at Roswell, which is I think very cool, but more than the hospital it’s the people that make up the hospital. It’s like a team. And if you can trust the people that are committed to find a cure for cancer you’re in good shape.”

Spielman will be sharing his story with those in attendance about his wife’s courageous battle with cancer. She fought through four bouts with cancer before she finally succumbed to a fifth recurrence of her breast cancer in 2009.

Spielman with a new titanium hip is not going to be able to ride the full distance, but intends to do so later this year for the Columbus, Ohio cancer hospital he and his family actively support as well.


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Sad day for Spielman family

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2009 – 9:17 am

It’s been a tough few days for the Spielman family as former Bills LB Chris Spielman’s wife Stefanie passed away Thursday evening after more than decade of fighting breast cancer.

Stefanie Spielman successfully battled four rounds of the disease and raised money for the disease through her Stefanie Spielman fund set up in 1998 not long after she was first diagnosed.

For Bills fans that remember LB Chris Spielman was playing for Buffalo at the time and announced that he would sit out the 1998 season to be at his wife’s side through her first months battling cancer. He even shaved his head in a show of support.

Stefanie Spielman’s foundation raised more than $6.5M in research funding. She was 42.


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Maybin prepping for Miami heat

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2009 – 1:48 pm

The Bills training staff usually has preparations for making sure the players are hydrated for Miami week under control, knowing the heat down there is always a factor. But Aaron Maybin has apparently taken his preparation for the heat a step further.

Maybin tweeted that for Thursday’s practice, in an effort to prepare himself for the heat in Miami Sunday, wore a few extra layers.

AaronMaybin58: I wore 4 shirts today under my equipment to get ready for this miami heat…..CRAZY!

I’ve got to say that is one approach I had never heard of before in terms of getting ready for the Miami game. Though I do recall Chris Spielman taking it the other extreme. In preparation for a game at Green Bay at the end of the season, Spielman slept in his hotel room the night before the game on top of the covers with the air conditioning on full blast with just his briefs on. He said it was in an effort to be mentally prepared for the cold weather during the game.

Spielman was a bit extreme when it came to football.


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Fan can now lobby for HOF candidates

Posted by Chris Brown on September 20, 2009 – 5:51 pm

For the first time, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is asking fans to voice their choice for who they think should be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010 with a dedicated fan forum.

At the Fans Choice Forum you can argue for the candidacy of Bills Wall of Famer Steve Tasker or three-time finalist Andre Reed. Kent Hull, Cornelius Bennett, Darryl Talley, Fred Smerlas, Chris Spielman and former head coach Chuck Knox current join Reed and Tasker on the Hall’s preliminary 2010 induction list.

The Hall wants to know what fans are thinking and it’s time for fans to speak up and be heard by casting their ballot! Almost 10,000 fans have already cast their ballot in the first 24 hours! 

Andre Reed is currently ranked #9 while Tasker is at #17, so get behind your guy and vote!

Top 10 fan’s choice as of this morning:
1. Jerry Rice
2. Emmitt Smith
3. Cris Carter
4. Shannon Sharpe
5. Charles Haley
6. Ray Guy
7. Richard Dent
8. Tim Brown
9. Andre Reed
10. Phil Simms


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Several 90′s Bills, Ralph Wilson on prelim HOF list for 2009

Posted by Chris Brown on October 28, 2008 – 8:59 pm

Bills recent Wall of Fame inductee Bruce Smith, Kent Hull, Andre Reed, Darryl Talley, Cornelius Bennett and Steve Tasker make up the list of AFC Champion 90′s Bills that are are on the preliminary list of modern-era nominees for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2009. 

Also on the list is Bills founder and owner Ralph Wilson as a contributor nominee.

Other former Bills players on the list are Fred Smerlas and those who spent parts of their career with the Bills like Larry Centers and Chris Spielman.

Former Bills head coach Chuck Knox is also a preliminary nominee.

Bruce Smith is a shoe-in as a first ballot nominee being the league’s all time leader in sacks and a four-time AFC Champion and a countless number of Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams. Reed made the list of finalists last year. We’ll see if he can make it in this time. Tasker will get consideration too.

Mr. Wilson stands a good chance I believe as more of the committee I understand is coming around to understand the magnitude of his contributions to the game.

From this preliminary list of modern-era nominees, Hall of Fame selectors will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalist nominees.  The list of 25 modern-era semifinalists will be announced later next month. The 25 modern-era semifinalists list will be reduced by a mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists. 

The final list of nominees that will be considered for election will consist of the 15 modern-era finalists and the two previously announced senior nominees, Bob Hayes and Claude Humphrey.  Hayes and Humphrey were selected this past August by the Hall of Fame’s Senior Selection Committee. 

The Class of 2009 will be selected from the list of 17 finalists (15 modern-era and two senior nominees).  The actual voting will be conducted at the Hall of Fame Selection Committee’s annual meeting, which will be held on Saturday, January 31, 2009, in Tampa, Florida the day before Super Bowl XLIII.  The election results will be announced immediately after the meeting at a press conference in the media headquarters.  While there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the ground rules provide that between four and seven new members will be selected. 

The preliminary list includes 110 players, seven coaches and 16 contributors, including former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and longtime team owners Bud Adams, Jerry Jones, Art Modell and Ralph Wilson.


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Posted in Inside the Bills