10 Questions with Jim Kelly

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motorsports
Quarterback Jim Kelly led the Buffalo Bills to an unprecedented four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the 1990's.

Kelly was a prep standout at East Brady (PA) High School where he won all-state honors after passing for 3,915 yards and 44 TD's in his career. But Jim starred on defense of his East Brady team and was even heavily recruited as a LB by Penn State's Joe Paterno. From there Jim went to the University of Miami to quarterback the Hurricanes. He was inducted to the University of Miami Hall of Fame in 1992.

Kelly was drafted into the NFL in 1983, in the first round along with John Elway and Dan Marino, but chose to go to the the USFL, where he threw 83 touchdown passes in two seasons with the Houston Gamblers before joining the Buffalo Bills of the NFL in 1986. In 11 NFL seasons, he completed 60 percent of his passes for 35,467 yards and 237 TDs. His career passing rating of 84.4 is the sixth highest in NFL history, and he's one of only five quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for at least 3,000 yards in eight seasons, with a 101-59 regular season record and 9-8 postpostseason record as a starter.

He has appeared on General Hospital, The Late Show with David Letterman, NBC Nightly News, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey, Arsenio Hall, and even had a part in the film Necessary Roughness.

Jim came to Long Beach, California, to race in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in a 10-lap sprint to raise money for charity. SportsHollywood caught up with him at the celebrity practice at Willow Springs raceway in California on March 10, and asked a few questions.


SportsHollywood: What's the fastest you've ever driven outside of a race?

KELLY: On the Autobahn in Germany. 138.

SportsHollywood: What kind of car do you drive every day?

KELLY: A Lexus and... should I say a Toyota? No, a Lexus and a F-250 pickup.

SportsHollywood: How did you get interested in car racing?

KELLY: I've watched it ever since I was a kid, and then I became friends with some of the racers, like Dale Earnhardt. In fact, two of my best friends now are Al Unser, Jr., and Mike Skinner.

SportsHollywood: Which is a bigger dream-come-true: Becoming a famous NFL player or being able to drive over 20 mph on a street in Southern California?

KELLY: That's a tough one right there. It's pretty much a toss-up. Write that I said that with a big chuckle.

SportsHollywood: Which is scarier: Going 100 mph on a track or going 5 MPH on the 405 freeway with all the drive-by's?

KELLY: No kidding! I just rented a Mustang at the airport and I was on that freeway -- I never got over 50 mph.

SportsHollywood: If Piper Perabo crowds you, do you feel any pangs of remorse if you drive her into a ditch at 100 mph?

KELLY: Naw, naw... I'm not that kind of racer. But remember my nickname's "The Threat," here, so you never know...

SportsHollywood: Favorite sports movie?

KELLY: Caddyshack.

SportsHollywood: Is football still your favorite sport?

KELLY: Big time. There's not even a close second.

SportsHollywood: Rate the competition here: Who are your biggest threats?

KELLY: Everybody here is such a competitor. I've talked to some of the old timers here and they say this is the most competitive field ever, especially with Dara Torres. Josh Brolin is tough. Captain Kirk likes to mix it up, too.

SportsHollywood: Name five parts of a car engine:

KELLY: Hmmm.... the gearbox. Is that in the engine. Pistons. Hmmm... Oil, carburetor... how many is that? I know -- SPARK PLUGS!

(Kelly then left in order to go toss a football to fellow racers David Alan Grier and Mark Consuelos, who were begging him to throw just as hard as he did in the pros. They are still recovering in the hospital.)

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Interview by Dan Mahin and Jeff Hause

Jim Jim Kelly: NFL Quarterback
Kelly was selected in the first round of the 1983 draft after a record-setting career at the University of Miami. He played two years in the USFL before joining Buffalo before the 1986 season. One of only five quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for at least 3,000 yards in eight seasons, Kelly retired at the end of the 1996 season. Jim is the only player in NFL history to quarterback his team to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

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