49 Facts About Jim Kelly


Jim Kelly spent two seasons with the Houston Gamblers of the United States Football League.


Jim Kelly played college football at Miami, where he was the Offensive MVP of the 1981 Peach Bowl.


One of the six quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft, Jim Kelly was selected 14th overall by the Bills.


Jim Kelly chose to sign with the Gamblers instead and did not play for the Bills until the USFL folded in 1986.


Jim Kelly was named to five Pro Bowls and received first-team All-Pro honors in 1991.


Jim Kelly was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.


Jim Kelly was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up about 60 miles to the northeast, in East Brady.


Jim Kelly was a standout at East Brady High School and won all-state honors after passing for 3,915 yards, 44 touchdowns, and 1 interception in his career.


Jim Kelly played basketball in high school, scoring over 1,000 points with six 30-plus-point games.


Jim Kelly was offered a scholarship to play college football at Penn State University under coach Joe Paterno, but Paterno wanted Jim Kelly at linebacker, not quarterback.


Jim Kelly became an important piece in helping build the program into one of the nation's best.


Jim Kelly finished his career at Miami with 376 completions in 676 attempts for 5,228 yards and 33 touchdowns.


Jim Kelly was inducted into the university's Hall of Fame in 1992.


Jim Kelly, who disliked cold weather, listed the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, and Buffalo Bills.


Jim Kelly was pleased to see while watching the 1983 draft on television that the Bills did not select him as the 12th pick in the first round, but learned from his agent that the team had another first-round pick; the Bills chose Kelly as the 14th pick.


Jim Kelly later claimed that the USFL offered him his choice of teams because of the league's interest in signing quarterbacks.


Jim Kelly was the USFL MVP in 1984, when he set a league record with 5,219 yards passing and 44 touchdown passes.


Jim Kelly appeared on a cover of Sports Illustrated while holding a Generals' helmet, but the league collapsed before he ever fielded a snap with the Generals.


Jim Kelly threw three touchdown passes in the last Gambler drives of the game, including what turned out to be the game winner, a 39-yard strike to receiver Ricky Sanders.


The Express thought they had the game won, especially after safety Troy West picked off a Jim Kelly pass, and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown.


The Gamblers got the ball back and it just took two plays for them to score, as Jim Kelly tossed a pass to Richard Johnson that ended up being a 52-yard score.


The Gamblers defense forced a punt, and the offense scored again, this time Jim Kelly found receiver Vince Courville for a 20-yard strike.


Jim Kelly found Sanders for the go-ahead score, Sanders beating Troy West on the play.


West had picked off two Jim Kelly passes that day, but Jim Kelly ended up with the last laugh.


Jim Kelly finally joined the Bills in 1986 after the USFL folded.


Jim Kelly helped lead the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances and six divisional championships from 1988 to 1995.


Jim Kelly retired after the 1996 NFL season due to injuries.


Jim Kelly ran the Bills' "K-Gun" no-huddle offense, which was a fast-paced offense named after tight end Keith McKeller, that denied opposing defenses the opportunity to make timely substitutions.


Jim Kelly holds the 2nd all-time NFL record for most yards gained per completion in a single game, established on September 10,1995, in the Bills' game against the expansion Carolina Panthers.


Jim Kelly recorded an NFL-best 101.2 passer rating in 1990, led the league with 33 touchdown passes in 1991, and made the Pro Bowl five times.


Jim Kelly finished his 11 NFL seasons with 2,874 completions in 4,779 attempts for 35,467 yards and 237 touchdowns, with 175 interceptions, all of which are Buffalo records excluding the interceptions.


Jim Kelly was enshrined during the first year he was eligible and headlined a class that featured John Stallworth, Dan Hampton, Dave Casper, and George Allen.


Jim Kelly devoted much of his post-football life to his son, Hunter James Jim Kelly, who was diagnosed with globoid-cell leukodystrophy shortly after his birth on February 14,1997.


When Jim Kelly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002, he dedicated his speech to Hunter.


Chad Jim Kelly played college football at the Division I level for the Clemson Tigers and the Ole Miss Rebels and took part in the 2017 NFL Draft, in which he was selected last overall in the seventh round by the Denver Broncos, earning the honor of Mr Irrelevant.


Jim Kelly now plays for the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL and won the Grey Cup with them in 2022.


Casey Jim Kelly enrolled at Ole Miss, but chose to convert to tight end and play for the team as a walk-on.


Jim Kelly is a devout Christian, and has several business ventures, including Hall of Fame Life Promotions, a promotional company that is committed to donating a percentage of all of its proceeds to the Hunter's Hope Foundation.


Since 1988, Jim Kelly has run a football camp for youths between the ages of eight to 18 at the Buffalo Bills facilities.


Jim Kelly owned and operated Sport City Grill restaurant with the attached Network nightclub on the ground floor of Main Place Tower in Buffalo from 1993 to 1996.


On June 3,2013, Jim Kelly announced that he had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a form of cancer, in his upper jaw.


Jim Kelly reported to news outlets shortly after his surgery that the procedure was successful and he was now cancer-free.


On March 14,2014, after a follow-up test at the Erie County Medical Center, it was announced that Jim Kelly's cancer had recurred, and that he would begin radiation and chemotherapy treatment.


On November 1,2014, Jim Kelly announced he had contracted MRSA within his bones, three months after being declared cancer-free.


Jim Kelly announced in March 2018 that the cancer had returned.


Jim Kelly underwent surgery that month to remove the cancer and reconstruct his upper jaw.


In June 2018, it was announced that Kelly would receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2018 ESPYs.


In late June 2018, Jim Kelly returned to a New York City hospital for additional surgery.


On January 18,2019, Jill Kelly announced on Instagram that Jim was cancer free.