VICKSBURG FACTS: Vicksburg, the home of Pro Football Hall of Fame member and AFL legend Billy Shaw
Published 8:00 am Friday, May 19, 2023
Did you know that Vicksburg is the hometown of a Pro Football Hall of Fame member who played in the American Football League?
Billy Shaw was initially born in Natchez, but as a child, his family moved closer to Vicksburg. He first attended Jett High School in Warren County and later transferred to Carr Central High School.
After high school, Shaw went to Georgia Tech and played tackle for the football team. Shaw was recognized as a three-year letterman during his time on Georgia Tech’s team and won All-America honors. By his senior year, at 6 feet, 2 inches and 258 pounds, Shaw was drafted by two teams — the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL) and the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League (AFL).
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Shaw felt his size and speed would be put to better use as a guard instead of as a lineman so as a second-round pick, Shaw went from tackle to a guard for the Buffalo Bills, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
During his career as a professional football player, he became one of the best guards of the 1960s. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame website, the AFL was often viewed as a pass-happy league at the start of the 60s but the Bills proved that stereotype wrong with power running and a strong defense. Shaw became a valuable player due to his ability to pull out in front of runners and block on run plays as well as pass plays.
According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame website, Buffalo runners were very durable which would allow Shaw to pull out in front of runners and stay in the front to make blocks far downfield.
In each season from 1963-66, the Bills scored the most rushing touchdowns in the AFL.
Shaw was noted as a key player during those times for the Bills and helped them win the AFL titles in 1964 and 1965. He was named a first-team All-AFL selection five times from 1962 to 1966 and a second-team All-AFL choice in 1962, 1968 and 1969 according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame website.
He was chosen to play in eight AFL All-Star Games and named to the All-Time AFL team that was named to pro football’s All-Decade Team of the 60s according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame website.
In 1999, Shaw was inducted into the Hall of Fame and became the first — and so far only — member to play his entire career in the AFL, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame website.