BOZEMAN — Playing under Sonny Holland and then Sonny Lubick, Montana State Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jon Borchardt blocked his way into the NFL.
“It was pretty special," Borchardt said of being drafted. "I remember the day and it was ... a culmination of a lot of great things.”
Borchardt was expecting to go in the top three rounds and finally heard his name called in the third round, pick No. 62 overall, by the Buffalo Bills in the 1979 NFL Draft.
“I remember it not being much of a big deal at all," he said. "I remember going to class, taking a test, coming back in the afternoon and getting a phone call from the Buffalo Bills saying, 'Hey, congratulations, you’ve been selected in the third round.'”
His memories of playing in Buffalo were much better than his initial impression of the city, which doesn’t look much like it does now. However, he enjoyed his time with the Bills and their passionate fans.
“The fans there were just absolutely amazing," Borchardt said. "We had some great teams and great games and so on and so forth. It was very nice.”
The NFL guard played with the Bills from 1979-84 before he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks where he finished his career in 1987.
“My favorite part was playing against tremendous athletes and just being able to frustrate them to no end,” he said.
The Bobcat Hall of Famer recalled his time playing for Holland, the legendary MSU coach who sold Borchardt on coming to Bozeman.
“Sonny Holland is just a special person in my life, because he really cemented my commitment to Montana State," said Borchardt. "He was such a slow talker, I was like, 'This guy talks slower than I do.' I said, 'I like this guy, he’s very sincere and genuine.'”
Borchardt’s fondest memory as a Bobcat is winning a national title in 1976, but he remembers Holland’s hatred for the Montana Grizzlies, and he said that the rivalry was more intense back then than it is now.
“Sonny just absolutely hated the Grizzlies with a passion and he let it be known that we could be 1-10, but as long as that one (win) was against the Grizzlies, you had a pretty good season,” said Borchardt.
Borchardt is now an insurance agent in Portland, Oregon, and he has a pretty good line to hook in customers.
“Now I can tell people not only did I protect franchise quarterbacks, but I protect you and your family,” he said.