Inside The Bills

Why Bills DBs coach still thanks Kelly & Thomas

Posted by Chris Brown on February 18, 2016 – 12:45 pm

Bills secondary coach Tim McDonald is entering his second season with Buffalo on Rex Ryan’s staff. His 13-year playing career was highlighted by a Super Bowl title with the San Francisco 49ers in 1995. McDonald signed as a free agent with San Fran in 1993, a move that might not have happened were it not for a certain game the 49ers had played a season prior against the Buffalo Bills.

In 1992 the Bills and 49ers met early in the season in the now famous ‘No Punt’ game won by Buffalo 34-31. Though the Niners had a respectable defense that ranked 15th in the NFL, San Fran was 26th in pass defense and 24th in interceptions. And in a heated arms race with the Dallas Cowboys for NFC supremacy, the 49ers were looking for free agent help in the secondary.

McDonald, who was a Phoenix Cardinals free agent, was given a five-year contract offer worth big money at the time ($12.75M). McDonald believes it never would’ve happened were it not for the Bills-49ers ‘no punt’ game where the defense was non-existent.

“What got me to San Francisco as a free agent was their need for defensive help,” McDonald told “San Francisco offered me a pretty good deal because they played that game – and I talked to Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas about this – they played a game against the Buffalo Bills in 1992 and there were no punts.

“The 49ers said, ‘Hey we’ve got to get some defensive help.’ That’s what got me to San Francisco was the no punt game. I remember watching that game as soon as I got to San Francisco and I was like, ‘Holy smokes, there is no defense being played in this game.’

McDonald had a staff of big names that he played under at the time.

“George Seifert was my head coach,” he said. “Pete Carroll was the defensive coordinator for two years, then Jim Mora was my coordinator and defensive backs coach. My first year Jeff Fisher was my defensive backs coach. We had some pretty good guys.”

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