by Paul Peck, Buffalo Sports Page

Is there any doubt?  Because I can’t think of any reason why Fred Jackson isn’t one of the most memorable, productive and admired players in Bills history.  That usually means you wind up on the Bills Wall of Fame.

Sure, the teams he was on never made the playoffs.  But that shouldn’t be the standard.  Fred can’t be blamed for bad draft picks, bad decisions and bad signings.  Despite all of that, and there was plenty of it from 2007-2014, Fred gave it all from start to finish and winds up as one of the best players in team history.

One of the Bills Best

The stats back it up.  Fred’s 5,646 career rushing yards rank third in team history, behind only Thurman Thomas and O.J. Simpson.  His 106 career games rank in the top 60 in Bills history. This is all from a long-shot Division III and Arena League player who was brought in partly as a connection to Marv Levy’s alma mater Coe College.  Fred’s hard work and determination never wavered when top draft picks Marshawn Lynch and C.J. Spiller were there as competition.  He became a leader and an inspiration.

While there wasn’t always a lot to be happy about during his tenure, Fred remains one of the most popular players outside of the Super Bowl Bills.  There was a connection with WNY unlike any other player.  Maybe it was the underdog part of his story.  To me, it was more about the production and talent.  There’s a reason Fred has the third-most rushing yards of any undrafted running back.

Many of the Wall of Famers come from the AFL Championship teams and Super Bowl teams.  Winning teams.  Those great players made those successes possible, but that success also elevated those players to that honor.

Alltime Great on Bad Teams

Much like Brian Moorman, Eric Moulds & Aaron Schobel, Jackson was an alltime great player on bad teams.  But that’s more of a reason to honor Fred with the team’s highest honor.

At his one day retirement ceremony, Fred was asked by The Buffalo News if he thinks he deserves the Wall of Fame spot.

“That was the goal when I was playing,” Jackson said. “I don’t know, I can just hope. I can see what happens. It’s not up to me but I would love to be up there.”

Wall Worthy

The Wall of Fame committee consists of team officials and local media members.  They meet once a year to determine if there’s a candidate worthy for the upcoming season.  Players like Cornelius Bennett, Moorman & Ruben Brown are under consideration.

Fred may have to wait his turn, but he shouldn’t have to wait too long.  He’s everything any Bills fan wants in a player.  He should live forever in the mecca of every Buffalo football fan.

 

Paul Peck

Paul Peck is sports broadcaster with over 25 years experience in TV and Radio. He served as sports anchor, reporter, and producer at WIVB for 24 years. In that role, he covered all four Buffalo Bills Super Bowls, the Buffalo Sabres in the Stanley Cup Finals, the NCAA Basketball Tournament and the Daytona 500. He has been the Voice of the UB Bulls Football for 17 seasons, in addition to host of Bulls Athletics TV & Radio shows. Peck also served as the sideline reporter for the Buffalo Bills Football Network, host of the bowling show "Beat The Champ" and announces college basketball for ESPN 3 and Time Warner Cable Sports Channel. He has also been the Master of Ceremonies for the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, one of the largest sports banquets in WNY.

Paul is also involved in the local business community, having been a financial advisor at AXA Advisors, and is currently the Vice President of Sports Development at VSP Graphics Group.

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