Niagara Gazette

Opinion

April 29, 2013

CITY DESK: The voice of the fans

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Even though we most likely watched the game ourselves the day before, we still needed to know what players, staff and management told Felser, what he thought went right or wrong and how he believed things could or should have gone differently. 

So often you came away thinking “exactly, Larry, exactly.” 

As needed, Felser could be a harsh critic. He was a calming influence as well, reminding irate fans that seasons ebb and flow and in sports, as in life, things don’t always go as planned. 

Year after year, Felser’s words put the state of affairs at One Bills Drive in its proper perspective. He did it better than anyone else, often with genuine humor and emotion.

Having been there when the Bills were just a fledgling franchise back in the days of the American Football League, Felser introduced more modern era fans like myself to the likes of Jack Kemp and O.J. Simpson and Elbert “Golden Wheels” Dubenion. 

His work also brought us closer to the heroes of our day — the greats like Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith as well as the grunts like Darryl Talley and Ray Bentley and Leonard Smith.

One thing was clear: Felser loved football, the way Buffalo fans do — not just for the dazzling one-handed catches or the thrilling touchdown drives, but for the hard-fought goal line stances and the gritty 3-yard struggles that so often make the difference between a win and a loss.  

Reading his work taught me a great deal about the subject at hand: The game itself. 

There were other days when Felser allowed fans into his personal life, penning touching and entertaining columns about experiences with colleagues and friends as well as own family. 

It all made him real, more approachable somehow. 

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