|Height:||188 cm (6' 3'')|
|Birth Day:||February 14, 1960|
|Birth Place:||Pittsburgh, United States|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|188 cm (6' 3'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
He averaged 23 points and 20 rebounds as a senior on East Brady High School's basketball team in Pennsylvania.
Because of fellow quarterback John Elway's well-publicized reluctance to play for the Baltimore Colts, which chose him in the 1983 NFL Draft, Kelly's agent asked whether there were any teams he would not play for. Kelly, who disliked cold weather, listed the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, and Buffalo Bills. He was pleased to see while watching the 1983 draft on television that the Bills did not select him as the 12th pick in the first round, but learned from his agent that the team had another first-round pick; the Bills chose Kelly as the 14th pick. Although Kelly at the time stated that he had expected the Bills to choose him, he later said, "You have to say those things ... I cried. (Laughs) I didn't really literally cry. I just had tears. I'm like, 'You got to be kidding me.'"
In two seasons in Houston leading offensive coach Mouse Davis's run-and-shoot offense, Kelly threw for 9,842 yards and 83 touchdowns, completing 63% with an average of 8.53 yards per attempt with 45 interceptions. He was the USFL MVP in 1984, when he set a league record with 5,219 yards passing and 44 touchdown passes. Kelly's USFL records eclipsed those of fellow league quarterbacks Doug Williams and Steve Young. When the Houston Gamblers folded, Kelly went to the New Jersey Generals and was slated as their starting quarterback. Kelly appeared on a cover of Sports Illustrated while holding a Generals' helmet, but the league collapsed before he ever fielded a snap with the Generals. Kelly remained on good terms with Generals owner Donald Trump, who provided his family with lodging during Kelly's later health issues.
The Houston Gamblers led by Kelly, took on the Los Angeles Express quarterbacked by Steve Young, on February 24, 1985. The game was supposed to be televised by ABC, but they opted to cover Doug Flutie's debut with the New Jersey Generals instead. Only cameramen that worked for both teams were on hand to record the game. Houston raced out to an early lead, but the Express mounted a comeback that led to them being ahead 33–14 with just under ten minutes left in the game. Kelly lead the Gamblers on a comeback that would see them pull off a 34–33 win, and in the end, Kelly threw for 574 yards.
Kelly finally joined the Bills (who had retained his NFL rights) in 1986 after the USFL folded. He helped lead the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances (Super Bowl XXV–Super Bowl XXVIII) and six divisional championships from 1988 to 1995. Buffalo made the playoffs in eight of Kelly's 11 seasons as their starting quarterback. Kelly's primary 'go-to' wide receiver with the Bills, Andre Reed, ranks among the NFL's all-time leaders in several receiving categories. Kelly and Reed connected for 65 touchdowns during their career together trailing only the tandems of Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison (112), Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, (87), Steve Young and Jerry Rice (85), Dan Marino and Mark Clayton (79), Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne (69), and Drew Brees and Marques Colston (68) for touchdowns by an NFL quarterback and receiver tandem. Kelly, along with Andre Reed, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, and Scott Norwood, was the subject of the 30 for 30 film—Four Falls of Buffalo.
Since 1988, Kelly has run a football camp for youths between the ages of eight to 18 at the Buffalo Bills facilities. It started with 325 campers in its first year, growing to over 500 campers a year. This camp provides teaching from experienced coaches and previous players from all over the country. Kelly also participates in various drills with the participants.
Kelly was offered a scholarship to play college football at Penn State University under coach Joe Paterno, but Paterno wanted Kelly at linebacker, not quarterback. He went on to play for the University of Miami, where he played an important role in helping build the program into one of the nation's best. Kelly finished his career at Miami with 376 completions in 676 attempts for 5,228 yards and 33 touchdowns. He was inducted into the university's hall of fame in 1992.
Kelly holds the 2nd all-time NFL record for most yards gained per completion in a single game (44), established on September 10, 1995 in the Bills' game against the expansion Carolina Panthers. He recorded an NFL-best 101.2 passer rating in 1990, led the league with 33 touchdown passes in 1991, and made the Pro Bowl five times (1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, and 1992).
Kelly resides in East Aurora, New York, with his wife Jill and their daughters, Erin and Camryn. Kelly devoted much of his post-football life to his son, Hunter James Kelly, who was diagnosed with globoid-cell leukodystrophy (Krabbe disease) shortly after his birth on February 14, 1997 (which was Kelly's 37th birthday). Hunter died as a result of this disease on August 5, 2005, at the age of 8.
Including his time in the NFL and USFL, he finished with over 45,000 passing yards and 320 touchdowns. In 2001, the Buffalo Bills retired his number 12 jersey.
On August 3, 2002, Kelly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was enshrined during the first year he was eligible and headlined a class that also featured John Stallworth, Dan Hampton, Dave Casper, and George Allen. Fellow Hall of Fame member and former head coach Marv Levy was Kelly's presenter at the ceremony.
To honor his son, Kelly established a non-profit organization in 1997: Hunter's Hope. Kelly's advocacy on behalf of Krabbe patients has increased national awareness of the disease. He and his wife Jill founded the annual Hunter's Day of Hope, which is held on February 14, the birthdays of both Jim and Hunter Kelly. The Hunter James Kelly Research Institute was founded at the University at Buffalo in 2004, where neuroscientists and clinicians are studying myelin and its diseases. When Kelly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002, he dedicated his speech to Hunter. "It's been written that the trademark of my career was toughness," he said as he choked back tears. "The toughest person I ever met in my life was my hero, my soldier, my son, Hunter. I love you, buddy."
Kelly is a devout Christian, and has several business ventures, including Hall of Fame Life Promotions, a promotional company that is committed to donating a percentage of all of its proceeds to the Hunter's Hope Foundation. In 2011, Kelly founded Jim Kelly Inc. a company which produces the MyFanClip line of all purpose clips which bear sports team logos and other insignia. MyFanClip has licensing agreements with the NFL, MLB, NHL and NASCAR. Proceeds also benefit the Hunter's Hope Foundation.
On June 3, 2013, Kelly announced that he had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a form of cancer, in his upper jaw. He underwent surgery at a Buffalo hospital on June 7. Kelly reported to news outlets shortly after his surgery that the procedure was successful and he was now cancer-free. On March 14, 2014, after a follow-up test at the Erie County Medical Center, it was announced that Kelly's cancer had recurred, and that he would begin radiation and chemotherapy treatment. It was announced on August 20, 2014 that doctors could no longer find evidence of cancer.
On November 1, 2014, Kelly announced he had contracted MRSA within his bones, three months after being declared cancer-free. A few weeks after the announcement, Kelly said he was MRSA-free.
Two of Kelly's nephews, both the sons of his younger brother Kevin, have also played quarterback. Chad Kelly played college football at the Division I level for the Clemson Tigers and the Ole Miss Rebels and took part in the 2017 NFL Draft, in which he was selected last overall in the seventh round by the Denver Broncos, earning the honor of Mr. Irrelevant. Casey Kelly, Chad's younger brother, played quarterback for national powerhouse Mallard Creek High School and graduated in 2019. Casey Kelly also enrolled at Ole Miss, but chose to convert to tight end and play for the team as a walk-on.
Kelly's father, Joe Kelly, died on August 21, 2017; his mother died in 1996.
Kelly announced in March 2018 that the cancer had returned. He underwent surgery that month to remove the cancer and reconstruct his upper jaw. In June 2018, it was announced that Kelly would receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2018 ESPYs. In late June 2018 Kelly returned to a New York City hospital for additional surgery.
On January 18, 2019, Jill Kelly announced on Instagram that Jim was cancer free.
Currently, Jim Kelly is 61 years, 8 months and 7 days old. Jim Kelly will celebrate 62nd birthday on a Monday 14th of February 2022.
Find out about Jim Kelly birthday activities in timeline view here.