Bemiller, a member of the Bills’ two AFL championship teams in the 1960s, was selected in 1961 and never left.
Bemiller picked the Bills over the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals, who also drafted him because he believed he would have a greater chance of playing and Western New York was closer to his hometown of Hanover, Pa.
Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame
Bemiller, who was the Bills’ offensive line centre for 126 games from 1961 to 1969, died on Wednesday, the organisation confirmed. He was 84.
Bemiller attended Syracuse University as a defensive end, swimming past offensive linemen to bring down a ball carrier or quarterback.
However, Syracuse needs a centre. The coach conducted an unusual contest to choose who would be the team’s starting centre in the future. There were no weightlifting events, no sprints, and no pads. There is just one job. One exam demanded pinpoint precision. It’s a football snap.
“They had everybody come to a certain distance and said, ‘Whoever hits the doorknob is going to be the centre,'” Bemiller told The News before his 2015 induction into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. “And I guess, luckily, somebody upstairs was there with me, and I was the only one who hit the doorknob.”
The Syracuse wrestling coach first saw Bemiller. Bemiller had always wanted to play football and wrestle in college, so when a wrestling scholarship became available, he was given a football scholarship instead.
“I thought the city was great because it was like a small town where I came from,” Bemiller said. “It’s not a big, big city, and the people here were very good to us, and I enjoyed every moment of it.”
Bemiller and the starting centre at the time went out drinking one night. Bemiller can’t remember the player’s name (or maybe he’s simply trying to shield the guy from disgrace). What kind of embarrassment? Bemiller had to bring his friend home after they were out on the town that night.
“I figured from that point on, I had the job,” said Bemiller with a laugh. “I was from Pennsylvania. We’re beer drinkers, you know.”
He was forced to retire from football.
Buffalo signed John Rauch, who formerly coached the Oakland Raiders, and by 1970, Rauch had released practically every player over 30. Bemiller fell into the such group and was forced to retire from football.
His parents and one brother, Kenneth Bemiller, died before her.
Albert resigned from Flexible Foam and used his leisure time as a 4-H leader and Little League coach. He liked going to auctions, antiquing, and gardening. Spending time with his grandkids and great-grandchildren was essential to him.
A memorial ceremony will be held at Wakarusa Missionary Church on Saturday, October 2, at noon. One hour before the ceremony, there will be a visitation.
Adult & Teen Challenge of Northern Indiana, Wakarusa Missionary Church, or Spa Ministries may accept memorial gifts.
The arrangements have been left to Elkhart Cremation Services.
Other teams approached Bemiller, but he refused because his family had founded a ” doing wonderful ” nightclub in Hamburg.” He didn’t want to relocate his family and leave that company behind. In 1984, he sold the nightclub Al Bemiller’s Surfside Lounge.