A Novel by Ray Bentley
In the world of sports, football is still king. From Pop Warner up through the pros, people just can’t seem to get enough of their gridiron gods. Nowhere is this truer than in Buffalo, New York, where the fans are desperate for a winner. The Buffalo Blizzard of the North American Football Association (NAFA) have teased and tortured their fan base for well beyond a decade. Long past is the franchise’s heyday in the mid- to late-‘90s when they lost four consecutive Mega Bowls. However, this just may be the year (2015).
Jack Driftwood, a 17-year NAFA veteran (all with the Blizzard), is back for number 18 and one last shot at Mega Bowl glory. But the Blizzard haven’t been to the playoffs since Driftwood’s rookie year when they lost in a blowout in Mega Bowl 33.
Blizzard General Manager Donald Allen Fegel Jr, through a series of shrewd moves and backroom dealings, has brought the franchise back from the dead and into contention.
Team owner Gerald Wainscott III is no spring chicken, and he has recruited his daughter Gerry to take over the franchise when he is gone. Gerry’s arrival throws a wrench into the lives of both Driftwood and Fegel, but for entirely different reasons.
Driftwood and Fegel clash on and off the field in a truly no-holds-barred fight to the finish. Yet they each desire one thing above all: A Mega Bowl victory for the city of Buffalo.
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About the Author
Ray Bentley was born and raised in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. He graduated from Hudsonville High School in 1979 and attended Central Michigan University on a full-ride football scholarship. While at Central Michigan, Ray majored in English and accomplished many feats on the football field. He broke the all-time career tackles record while playing linebacker for the Chippewas and still holds the record for most tackles in a single season. He was the first defensive player ever to receive of the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year award in 1982.
After leaving Central Michigan, Ray began his professional football career in the USFL, winning the league’s inaugural championship in1983 with the Michigan Panthers and playing in the title game with the Oakland Invaders in 1985. In 1986, Ray signed with the Buffalo Bills of the NFL. He played in Buffalo for six seasons, including the first two of the four historic consecutive Super Bowl appearances. After suffering a knee injury with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1992, Ray retired from professional football after a 10-year career.
Once retired, Ray began a media career hosting a local morning radio show in Grand Rapids and working Mid-American Conference football games on television as a game-analyst. He expanded that role into play-by-play and called games for the NFL on FOX. In 2000, he became the Head Coach and General Manager of the Buffalo Destroyers, an Arena Football League team. After resigning in 2003, he made his way back to television, becoming the lead analyst on NBC’s coverage of Arena Football. He also began working for ABC and ESPN covering college football games, the job he still holds today. Ray also worked Buffalo Bill’s preseason telecasts as their play-by-play announcer for seven years ending after the 2014 season.
In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Ray wrote and published seven children’s books. Ray is the father of five children with his wife of 33 years, Jodi, and the grandfather of two boys. He currently resides in New Hampshire just down the street from those grandsons.