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Fans to vote on all-time team Balloting part of 50th season

Jim Kelly or Jack Kemp?

Elbert Dubenion or Andre Reed?

And even, Thurman or O.J.?

Starting immediately, Buffalo Bills fans will get to weigh in on those sports-bar debates, by casting their votes for the Bills 50th Season All-Time Team.

On Monday, the Bills unveiled their plans for celebrating their upcoming 50th season, revealing a new 50th-year logo and announcing plans for the all-time team to be voted on by fans.

"We're just so excited about our 50th season," said Andy Major, the team's executive director of marketing. "It's a great tradition, and there's great history here, with the AFC championships, the four Super Bowl appearances and Mr. [Ralph C.] Wilson's election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"The stars have aligned for 2009," Major added.

Fans already may vote for the 11 offensive positions by visiting the team's Web site at www.buffalobills.com.

"They can also vote for a punter and kicker, and after some arm-twisting, a special-teams player," former special-teams ace Steve Tasker quipped at Monday's press conference in the Van Miller Club.

On March 25, voting will begin for the defensive team and head coach.

Voting for the team, sponsored by Tops Markets, will end April 19, with the all-time team to be announced at a draft-day party for season-ticket holders April 25. All-time team members will be introduced during this year's first regular-season game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Major explained that the voting will be interactive, with fans seeing a short video on each position before voting. Fans may vote more than once but must go through the whole registration process each time.

The Bills, who began playing in 1960 in the old American Football League, have created a 50th-season logo that includes standing and charging Buffalo logos, the years 1960 and 2009, the number 50 and the Tops corporate logo.

Following the press conference, Tasker talked about the special connection between the Bills franchise and its fans.

"The thing about this franchise that makes it so different is Buffalo," Tasker said. "You don't get anybody in Buffalo who didn't grow up here. Not only are you a Bills fan, but so are your parents, your aunts and uncles and cousins, your classmates, your teachers, the principal . . . It's more than just a club. It's part of the everyday life of being a Bills fan."

e-mail: gwarner@buffnews.com

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