I was given the opportunity Wednesday to speak with Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who was in the midst of a media blitz on behalf of 'The Depend Campaign for Prostate Cancer.'
We talked about that work, which Kelly has been part of for a couple of years now, and some other series issues surrounding Kelly's Hunter's Hope Foundation.
Kelly grew up in Pennsylvania longing to one day quarterback a team to a Super Bowl title. As he led his team down the field in the final moments toward what would be a Super Bowl-deciding field-goal attempt by Scott Norwood, Kelly thought it was the perfect script.
"Everything I dreamed about as a little boy happened in that game," Kelly said. "I led the team down the field in the last two minutes with a chance to win the game."
Then, as we all know, Norwood's kick sailed wide right, Everson Walls' hands went in the air and the Giants were Super Bowl champions. Kelly was left with a Super Bowl defeat, the first of four straight for him and the Bills.
"We all had confidence in Scott," Kelly said. "When the ball went wide it hurt, of course. If it didn't hurt, you shouldn't be playing."
I had to also ask Kelly about the Giants' Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Eli Manning. Specifically, I asked him why he thought some fans in New York, and some in the media everywhere, are still unwilling to acknowledge that Eli is among the league's best quarterbacks.
Kelly said he would put Eli in the league's second tier of quarterbacks, the group directly behind Eli's brother Peyton, Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
"You look at a quarterback with the system that he's in, you look how they operate and what they do with the offense," Kelly said. "If you're trying to compare him to a Drew Brees or his brother Peyton it's unfair because their systems are totally different. I think you put Eli in more of a wide-open offense, not so much a run-oriented system I think you'd see his numbers definitely go up.
"You are only as good as the people around you and the system you have and I think Eli does well with what he's getting."
Kelly, of course, was not made available to me to reminisce about Super Bowl XXV or defend Eli. He was made available to promote early screening for prostate cancer. Find out more at dependca.com.
Kelly and his wife former their 'Hunter's Hope Foundation' in 2005 after their son, Hunter, died from Krabbe Disease.
Kelly's mission since that time has been to increase awareness around the country, and get states to test for more newborn diseases. Kelly said when his son, Hunter, was born New York only tested newborns for 11 diseases. Some states tested for 40 or more, while others tested for less than 10. Currently, Kelly said New York now tests newborns for more than 50 diseases.
He looks forward to the day when testing is standardized everywhere in the U.S.
"We're trying to make sure that all states are up to par with the amount of diseases they test for," Kelly said. " "As long as they continue to do that [set standards state-by-state] thousands and thousands of babies will continue to die and thousands more will become permanently disabled just because they were born in the wrong state," Kelly said.
Kelly's wife, Jill, has written a book entitled 'Without A Word: How A Boy's Unspoken Love Changed Everything.' Order a copy if you want to know more about the Kelly's story.