Bruce Smith put down a lot of quarterbacks throughout his NFL career, and now the Buffalo Bills legend is paying respects to all of them through a viral Halloween display.
The Hall of Famer has decorated the lawn of his Virginia Beach home with an array of tombstones, each bearing the name of a quarterback he brought to the turf at some point during his 19-year career. The tombstones — 76 in all — are now earning the Hall of Famer some national attention.
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Smith Trolls Quarterback Victims
As WAVY reported, Smith was inspired to create his quarterback graveyard after a golfing buddy told him about a similar tribute created by Cleveland Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett.
“We showed Bruce, and we were like, ‘Man, we should do something like this,’” Smith’s golf partner, Paul Holley, told WAVY.
While Smith had a specialty of getting to the quarterback, he lacked a bit on the artistic end, so he got in contact with a Virginia Beach artist named Sam Clayman. It took the artist two weekends of working 16-hour days to create all 76 tombstones, but the result has earned some big praise. A number of news outlets have showcased the Halloween display, which fill the lawn outside Smith’s home.
The names written on each tombstone give a glimpse at Smith’s incredible career, with sacks against Joe Montana all the way up to Rex Grossman. Even Buffalo Bills teammate Frank Reich is on there.
Smith’s Connection to New Bills Quarterback
The graveyard also showed off the one-degree-of-separation connection that Smith has to current Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Smith ended his career with four years on the Washington Football Team, known then as the Redskins, and during that time managed to sack a short-lived Giants quarterback named Jesse Palmer. Though Palmer’s career would only last two seasons and eight appearances, he found a second life as a quarterback coach and helped Allen work through some of the deficiencies of his early career.
Allen said that Palmer helped him to become more calm and focused on the field.
“Just trying not to be a hero,” Allen said, via Peter King of NBC Sports. “Trust in the guys on the field with me, trust in the play calls, and not try to do too much and I think that’s something that I kind of had in my rookie year was trying to play hero-ball and it’s something I’ve been working on. I’ve got an extreme amount of trust in the guys on the field with me, with coach Dabs [offensive coordinator Brian Daboll], and the relationship we have with calling plays and us going out and executing. So I’m in a really good spot mentally with that and I feel like I’m getting better every day with that.”
Smith has had a more direct impact on some other current Bills players. He dropped in on Bills training camp this summer and spent some time working with the team’s defensive linemen. Smith later said he liked what he saw of the group.
“I think this defense is going to be vastly improved from last year,” Smith said, via Syracuse.com. “From my perspective I see a lot of great things unfolding before our very eyes. Eric Washington is doing a great job working with this defensive line.”