By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

No. 37: February 14, 1998The Bills trade a first-round draft pick in 1998 (Fred Taylor) and a fourth-round draft choice in 1998 (Tavian Banks) to Jacksonville for Rob Johnson.

Rob Johnson might have been the greatest one-hit wonder in NFL history. He started at quarterback on Opening Day for the Jaguars in 1997 when Mark Brunell was hurt. Johnson went 20 for 24 for 294 yards with two touchdown passes and a rushing TD. Johnson didn’t start another game that season, but he had made a point about his skills.

That’s what the Bills thought, anyway. They were trying to replace Jim Kelly, who retired in 1996. Todd Collins and Alex Van Pelt were the answer in 1997, so Buffalo looked elsewhere. The Bills gave up a first- and fourth-round pick to the Jaguars for Johnson. Just to make the situation at quarterback more interesting, Buffalo signed free agent Doug Flutie from the Canadian Football League.

Both men played in 1998, but Flutie had the better of it during that season. He was 7-3 as a starting QB in helping the Bills get back to the playoffs. A year later, Johnson started a meaningless game at the end of the season and did very well. His performance was enough for owner Ralph Wilson to call Wade Phillips and tell him that Johnson should start the upcoming playoff game over Flutie. You might have heard how that game ended -“The Music City Miracle” – and Flutie spent one more year here before he was traded to San Diego. Then Johnson was 1-7 as a starter in 2001 and he was gone by the next season.

As for that No. 1 pick, Fred Taylor ran for almost 12,000 yards that included five 1,000-yard seasons.

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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