The photo above is an artist's rendering of the updated sign honoring Erie native and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Fred Biletnikoff. Erie resident Jim Zbach created the design, which was approved by the Erie School Board. The sign will replace the current version of the sign that marks Biletnikoff Field, the Erie High School practice field.
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About Fred Biletnikoff* Fred Biletnikoff, 76, played for the Raiders from 1965 to 1978 and lives in California, where his Biletnikoff Foundation is based. The fan favorite known as “Freddie B.” remains with the team’s front office as a Raider alumni along with other Raider greats, quarterback Jim Plunkett and center Jim Otto.
Biletnikoff was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and is recognized as one of the greatest wide receivers to play in the NFL, where he was the most valuable player in Super Bowl XI, in 1977; and in college, where he starred for Florida State University. The annual honor given to the best wide receiver in the top level of college football is named the Fred Biletnikoff Award.
“The greatest sports figure from this region and one of the greatest Raiders of all time,” is how Zbach described Biletnikoff. “This has to be celebrated, proclaimed boldly and done so professionally.”
About the New Sign* The front of the new sign, facing Peach Street, features a large image of Biletnikoff catching a pass as a Raider, along with the words, “Biletnikoff Field” and “Home of the Erie Royals,” with the Royals logo. Smaller signs along the sides of the front of the installation — the current brick foundation will remain — detail Biletnikoff’s accomplishments and provide information about the sign committee.
The back of the sign, facing the practice field, features an image from a photograph of Biletnikoff as a Raider, signaling No. 1 with his right index finger. That image is meant to inspire the players on the practice field, to let them know that they can “be the best that they can be,” said Kissell, 76.
All information on this page was collected from an article published by the Erie Times-News.