Interview with Buffalo GM Mark Ricotta by Dorian Gray

Hello folks! This is another in a series of interviews with our USAFL GMs, again giving you a clear picture of what the people are like that sit in the big chairs on teams throughout this league.

This month, we have another one of the true USAFL legends for our next cheesy interview. You may know him as the GM who finally won another Sundby Cup last season, which he counts among only 33 that he has won so far, so he obviously needs to work harder. That's right, our next subject is none other than the GM of the Buffalo Billls, Mark Ricotta.

The following are excerpts from our interview.

How did you get interested in football?

I’ll answer unoriginally – basically the same way Todd did. We had season tickets for the Bills in the late 70's and early 80's. I was 7 years old, I think when we started going. But then we stopped, and luckily didn’t have to go during the 2-14 seasons of the early 80’s! Then I went to games here and there over the years. But for a while before I moved to Arizona, I always tried to go to at least one game a season, but typically more.

How did you get into FBPro?

What's FBPro? No seriously, I actually have never played the game. I remember when Todd first bought the game and I thought it was cool. I mean, at the time there was, what, Tecmo bowl? But nothing like this. However, I wasn’t very interested in it. Although the fact that Todd played it non-stop may have had a hand in that. When would I have been able to play!? But I believe I was away at college (The U!!) when he got his first game, so I had minimal exposure to it when I was home during the summer.

What was your greatest thrill(s) as a GM?

My greatest thrill, hands-down, was the run my Buffalo teams went on the 2060’s and 2070’s. They went to 9 consecutive Cup games, taking home 7 Sundby Cups. And the next one was always more exciting than the previous. It was actually 11 AFC Titles in 13 seasons, which is pretty wild. That was a very exciting time for me.

Why did you pick this team as your USAFL team?

I’m a Bills fan, through and through. I grew up in Niagara Falls watching the Bills every Sunday. Fast forward to 2001 and Todd used to always tell me about this on-line sim league he was in and how great it was. So I checked it out and we decided I would become Todd’s AGM to get more exposure to the league and learn the system. Todd was the Buffalo GM at the time. Then by the 2120 season, I guess he decided I was ready, so he took over the GB franchise. Which is pretty amazing, really. He’s as big a fan as I am of the NFL Bills, maybe more so. We spun the PageOne story as a fraternal dispute that led to Todd’s leaving the team. Makes me laugh when I think of it.

Who are some of your favorite players in the history of your team?

QB Sonny Vail. DL Clarke Wilson. QB Mark Stegall. RB Reuben Block. DL Berkeley Grimsley. LB Cary Blair. QB Cedric Ebert. RB Benjamin Strickland. DL Coleman Sites. QB Morgan Capper. QB Eugene Aldridge.

Do you have any other interests you'd like to tell us about?

Well, I am a drummer as you probably know by now. I started playing in 1982 when I was 10, but I just recently bought a new drum kit, and I’m loving it. I sold my previous set about 7 or 8 years ago and was playing an electronic kit after that. It was great when I was living in a condo, cuz I could put headphones on, but nothing compares to the real thing. So I’ve been itching to go back to an acoustic set and I finally pulled the trigger. I’m very consumed by it right now, actually. I had been away from it for a long time and it’s invigorating for me to be back into it. And there are so many more resources available at your fingertips now than back in the 80’s! So I’m learning some new things, which is always good.

We hope that you have enjoyed the conversation with Mark. Stay tuned for other interviews as our interview series of USAFL GMs continues!