Some people may have forgotten that Greg Brown has a football past.

This coming MLB season, Brown will be behind the microphone of Pittsburgh Pirates broadcasts for the 31st year.  You could never have a bad day when in Brown's presence. Never.  He's the embodiment of what's good about baseball.  If 'Moonlight' Graham had another at-bat, surely he would request Brown to describe the action. Pirates' fans sure are the lucky ones to get to see and hear Brown at work for months at a time, from the start of spring training to the beginning of fall.

But, sports fans of a certain age in Western New York can claim Brown as one of their own. Dating back to the glory years of the NFL Buffalo Bills; the four consecutive Super Bowls run in the early 1990s, it was Brown who assisted in describing the action to the team's radio audience.

Blessed with an incredible memory and highly appreciative of those who helped pave his way to the position he enjoys today in Pittsburgh, Brown truly cherishes his time as a contributor to the Buffalo Bills Radio Network.

"It was magical, almost unreal where we had been to where we ended up," recalls Brown, who was a color analyst, and also handled pre- and post-game show responsibilities during Bills' radio broadcasts from 1991-1993.  "The Bills put me on the map."

Although Brown was also juggling media duties as the play-by-play voice of minor league Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, and hosting a sports talk show on WGR (550 AM) in the "Nickel City", thanks in part to having a wonderful supporting cast of those believing in his communication skills, success was knocking on his NFL door.

During his three Super Bowl seasons in Western New York, Brown is quick to point out who allowed him to grow professionally.  Bob and Mindy Rich, former owners of the Bisons, Buffalo broadcasting icon Pete Weber, and the radio voice most associated with the Bills - Van Miller, these where Brown's "It take a village" crew that had hands in molding him into a complete professional.

"When I was starting out, the (Bills) coaches were so good to me," Brown says of his initial season calling Buffalo football .

When coming on board with Bills radio, then team general manager Bill Polian and head coach Marv Levy backed Brown's selection to the organization.  Perhaps being in the presence of Miller, who in 2004 entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame when receiving the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award ( for longtime contributions to radio & television in pro football), provided the most radio education to Brown.

Miller joined the Bills during their inaugural season in 1960, and with the exception  of a few seasons away from the team's broadcasts in the 1970s, the Dunkirk, New York native remained the lead radio voice of the Bills through the 2003 season.

Today, Brown is well-known for coined phrases "Raise the Jolly Roger", for when the Pirates score a victory, and "Clear the deck, cannonball coming", an alert to his audience when a Pittsburgh home run is imminent.  From his past, football and baseball fans in Western New York remember stories being told by Brown, in real-time, of some of the games' greatest names.

In everyone's story, there is a beginning, middle, and end. For his first-rate work with the Pirates, it was in Buffalo where Brown cut his professional teeth.  For the Bills' Super Bowl games in 1992-1994, Brown had a press box view second to no one.

Kristine Bellino, WIBX

Don Laible is a freelance sportswriter from the Mohawk Valley, now living in Florida. He has reported on professional baseball and hockey for print, radio, and on the web since the 1980's. His columns are featured weekly at Don can be contacted via email at 

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