John “Pops” Davis takes a lot of pride in going to the big game four times in a row. However, for John Davis and his teammates on the Buffalo Bills they never came away with the Super Bowl. Davis was an Ed Block Recipient in 1993, an award he told us you didn’t want to receive as a player. Davis joined the “Ed Block CourageCast” to talk about winning the award, playing on those four super bowl teams and more. Here is a sample of that conversation (some comments have been edited for clarity)
Q: In 1993 you received the award as a member of the Buffalo Bills. What did receiving the Ed Block Courage Award mean to you?
JD: “Well we talked earlier, it’s an award you don’t really want to win. At the time that I got hurt they pretty much said my chances of coming back were kind of slim to none. But after I made my mind up and determined that I was going to get back out on the football field. Bud Carpenter and Ed Abramoski, our trainers came up to me one day after practice and said they had voted me to be part of this great group of guys and it’s a real honor, it was a real honor, and I really enjoyed my time up there with the festivities. Met a lot of great people and the trophy is sitting downstairs in my wife office, still to this day it’s something I treasure very much.”
Q: How important were your athletic trainers to you throughout your playing career?
JD: Yeah, they were the main reason I made it back because I blew out my whole knee. Ralph Wilson came into the hospital, wrote me a personal note and said he was behind me and he couldn’t wait for me to get back out of there, which meant a lot. From the first day I started rehabbing, I had surgery the Monday after Thanksgiving, went back to my hometown in North Georgia and stayed until the playoffs started. I couldn’t really do anything as they say you are trying to heal up from the surgery but I got back up there and we started on a plan. I didn’t really start working out until April or May, might have been March. They allowed me to come back home and do my workouts. When I went back up to minicamp, they were, you know I worked my butt off, but they were impressed with how much I had improved. You know walked in their in-training camp and they were happy with the progress. I think the thing that Dave and Bud helped me out more mentally than anything else. You know because you get back out there and you put those pads on it doesn’t matter who you are you’re still wondering don’t hit my knee, just stay five yards away from my knee until that initial contact happens.
Q: What was that like every year going to the biggest game and not coming out on top?
JD: Well, the two I was most invested in were the 1st and the 4th one. The Giants in Tampa, and Dallas in Atlanta. I played sparing out in Pasadena and I was on gortev and we all know what that is. It was very hard, The New York Giants we felt we legitimately dominated and I’m proud to say that was probably one of my best games and I played a lot against Lawrence Taylor and Jeff Howard at nose guard. You can’t get mad at Scott Norwood cause Scott Norwood won games for us that season to get us to that point. When you see the FG slide right its just like everything just drains out of you, the emotions are so intense, it’s just like oh my god did this really happen. You just gather yourselves up and go back out the next year and do it, you go back the next year and do it then you get to Atlanta against Dallas.
We are beating them at halftime. We are actually beating them bad on the field., we are dominating them before we go into halftime. Then bless his heart Thurman comes out and fumbles on the first play of the third quarter and the momentum completely shifted and it’s like all the air went out of us and we just couldn’t get our footing again. But, you know if we had won the first one I bet we wouldn’t have gone to the next three. I think, I am prouder about going to all four and the thing I’m most proud of is you had the sports reporters dogging us saying we shouldn’t be there blah, blah, blah and we weren’t really that good. You really have to go back to look at how many hall of famers, how many players on those teams were in the hall of fame. We were pretty good, and I don’t care what anybody says and we were pretty good for about 5 years. Then that last year, not the 94 season, you just look at the team picture from 1993-1994 and we are all grey, wrinkled, I mean we played five seasons in 4 years and we couldn’t do it anymore. I think we were just physically tired.
For the full interview: https://edblock.org/ed-block-couragecast-ep14/