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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Pete Gogolak

     (Born April 18, 1942) -- We're used to place-kickers lining up at an angle in professional football and kicking the ball "soccer-style."

     Kids, this wasn't always the case.

     Gogolak was born in Budapest, Hungary, and his family came to the United States from there. He went to Cornell University, and took his soccer experience along when he tried out for football. There, he kicked a 41-yard field goal in 1961, thus making kicking history.

     After graduating in 1964, Gogolak joined the Buffalo Bills and quickly earned a spot on the roster. There he made pro football history as its first sidewinder kicker.

     But Gogolak wasn't done making an impact on his new game. After two good years with the Bills, he accepted an offer from the National Football League's New York Giants. The two leagues had never raided each other's players before that, and the signing smashed the gentleman's agreement that was in place. The AFL considered it an act of war, and the battle was on ... briefly.

     Eventually, sanity prevailed and the AFL and NFL merged into one league. Gogolak stayed with the Giants, and became the team's all-time leading scorer. He was placed on the team's Ring of Honor in 2010.

--- Budd Bailey

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