Sunday, January 12, 2020

Heads Up Quads #23 - I finally caught the whale!

I've mentioned a few times in my quest for Heads Up Quads completion that the toughest card to get would likely be the Patriots quad.  At one point I even questioned its existence.  After adding a few cards to the set at Christmas though, I decided to put out an all call on the Blowout card forums to see what I could find.  And surprisingly, less than a week later, this white whale is finally mine!

Many thanks to the Blowout user who dug through his collection of Patriots to pass this beauty on to me.  So without further adieu, let's see who wins this epic card:
Tom Brady, among numerous other accolades, is one of just two active players in this set (Which isn't too crazy considering this set is from 2002).  The other active player is Drew Brees, who actually was on two different cards in the set.  Both guys have spent their time since 2002 developing Hall of Fame resumes and winning Super Bowls, so it's no real surprise that they're both still hanging around, even if Brady's star feels a little duller these days than Brees'.

Brady gets tons said about him in the world these days, so I'll spend the rest of my front of card chatter on Drew Bledsoe.  Whereas Brady is the clear cut #1 QB of all time in New England, Bledsoe was becoming that guy before Brady came around.  In just nine seasons in New England, Bledsoe had already set the mark for most passing yards in Patriot history and was within 16 TD of the passing lead (Steve Grogan held the mark of 182 at the time).  I think it's fair to argue now whether Bledsoe or Grogan would sit at 2nd to Brady, but had Brady not come around, it's pretty safe to assume that Bledsoe would've been seen as the best QB in Patriots history.  Alternative histories are pretty neat.

Instead, the Patriots traded him to the Bills for a 2003 1st round pick.  The Bills received three solid seasons of a productive passer, including a Pro Bowl trip for Bledsoe in 2002.  The Patriots used that pick and others to move up a spot in the 2003 draft and select Ty Warren, who was never super good in New England but did hang around for eight seasons with two Super Bowl wins.  Pretty fair trade overall all things considered.

After three years in Buffalo, Bledsoe signed in Dallas (Under old Pats coach Bill Parcells) to be the Cowboys QB of the present and future.  Year one went pretty good, but year two was so rough that Bledsoe was benched for Tony Romo and Romo never looked back.  Bledsoe retired at the end of the year, putting an end to his 14 year NFL career.

The back of the card:
Troy Brown spent 15 years in New England, and is understandably remembered as a Patriots favorite.  While his career stats aren't the kind that really get you into Canton (One 1,000 yard season with his only Pro Bowl coming during that same season), he won three Super Bowls during his time in New England and finished his career first in team receptions (He's now 3rd behind Wes Welker and Julian Edelman).  He also returned kicks and punts, played a bunch of defense in 2004 (With three regular season interceptions), and even acted as the team's emergency QB from time to time.  Finishing 181st in career receiving yards may not seem like much (Especially since I recently diminished the efforts of Ike Hilliard, who finished 179th in yards), but Brown will always be one of the most fondly remembered Patriots by true fans.

And then we have Patrick Pass.  Wikipedia tells me that Pass actually spent his college summers in the Marlins' minor league ranks before deciding to stick with football full time.  A 7th round draft pick in 2000, I remember Pass as a guy who was constantly shifting between roles, be it RB, FB, or returner.  As with most guys of that era, he won three Super Bowls with the Pats over his seven years in town.  He spent one additional game with the Giants in 2007 before retiring with the Patriots a year later.

So who wins the card?  It's Brady obviously, but Troy Brown deserves an honorable mention for being the man.  This card is awesome and I'm so glad I finally have it!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

A closer look at the 2000 New England Patriots Draft

So I mentioned the other day after getting a J.R. Redmond card that I wanted to look at the 2000 New England Patriots draft class.  I'm sure I'm not the first to do so (Although people typically probably compare him to other quarterbacks from the class), but it's crazy seeing Tom Brady drafted so low on a card like this:
So I figured I'd take a quick look at the guys on this card.  Because why not?

Round 2, Pick 46: Adrian Klemm
The most interesting part of this draft, to me anyways, is that the Patriots didn't have a first round pick because they traded it, along with 4th and 5th round picks, for Bill Belechick.  That's absolutely wild, and I can't believe I don't remember it.  But that's why the Pats didn't have a first round pick here.

As for Klemm, he got to celebrate a lot of success for a guy for a guy who didn't play a lot.  He played in 42 games over five seasons (He missed all of 2001) with just 18 starts.  In fact, his most starts was eight, which happened in his final season with the Packers in 2005.  However, since he spent four years in New England, he won three Super Bowls.  Good for Klemm!

I also found it sketchy that Klemm never had an NFL trading card.  I know he was an offensive lineman but c'mon!

Round 3, Pick 76: J.R. Redmond
Redmond is the guy who I collect, and the guy whose card led to this analysis, so I'm biased.  And honestly, he never did a whole lot at the NFL level...all three of his regular season touchdowns occured during his rookie season, before two iffy seasons in New England and two in Oakland.  However, Redmond will always be memorable to me for his role in the first Super Bowl the Patriots won.  He caught three passes on the final drive of the snow bowl AFC Championship game, and then also was a major part of the final drive of the Patriots Super Bowl win over the Rams (Part One).  So stats might say otherwise, but Redmond was the man.

* Round 4, Pick 127: Greg (Robinson) Randall
I learned something else today!  That 2000 NFL Draft was the first to use compensatory picks, and the Patriots received four due to four guys lost in free agency.  Those guys were Todd Collins, Tom Tupa, Mark Wheeler, and Dave Wohlabaugh.  I don't know who Mark Wheeler was, but otherwise those are three pretty big dudes to lose for a team.  And because of some complicated formula, the Patriots got four extra draft picks.  Good times!

Randall was the first one picked, and played 51 games (39 started) across four full NFL seasons.  One was with the Texans and he dabbled on practice squads in 2004 and 2005 but Randall actually was pretty good in the Patriots Super Bowl year.  He started all 19 games that seasons and helped the Pats move from 26th to 12th in rushing.  He also obviously earned that Super Bowl ring, so good stuff Greg.

Round 5, Pick 141: Dave Stachelski
Stachelski had one reception for five yards over nine games with the Saints in 2000-2001.  But he ever so much more important than that.

Scott Pioli (Patriots VP of Personnel) put a picture of Stachelski on his desk to remind himself that he wasn't a draft genius since Stachelski was picked before Brady.  Basically Dave Stachelski was literally the picture boy for humility in New England for several years.

Why they picked him...I don't know.  Boise redshirted him for a year.  Then he played three years due to injuries.  Then he moved to defensive end but missed six games with injury.  Then he moved back to TE and had 31 catches for 453 yards.  So all told...really one season that was decent and a bunch of injuries.  Who saw potential there?

One last fun note - he shares Tom Brady's 2000 Fleer Tradition rookie card.  So that's cool.

Round 5, Pick 161: Jeff Marriott
If Stachelski seems like a guy who shouldn't have been picked before Brady, then Marriott  His ceathlete page says a ton, but I can't find evidence that he actually ever played in a regular season NFL game.  Offensive line, defensive line, anything.  Guys picked within 20 picks of him include Kabeer Gbaja-Biamilia, Dante Hall, Marc Bulger, and Neil Rackers.  Hmmmm.

Round 6, Pick 187: Antwan Harris
Finally a guy that actually played for the Patriots!  52 games over four years with only two starts, but man did Harris make some big plays.  In the first Rams Super Bowl, he forced a Ricky Proehl fumble that led to the Pats only offensive touchdown.  The game before that, he took a lateral from Troy Brown on a blocked field goal and scored a touchdown to help beat the Steelers.  Harris didn't do a lot in the regular season, but man did he show up during some key moments for the Patriots.  He was a part of all three of those early Patriot Super Bowls like Klemm, so good for him!

* Round 6, Pick 199: Tom Brady
I'm not gonna talk about him because I did this whole post because of him.  But I always thought it was cool that Brady just barely made it under 200. 

Also, as I learned today, Brady was a compensatory pick.  So whether it be Tom Tupa or Todd Collins or...dare I say...Mark of these dudes brough Brady to New England, which is wild.  I like to think it was Tom Tupa because he was always the man like that.

* Round 6, Pick 201: David Nugent
I could've stopped at Harris, because this was mainly an exercise in Brady, but I want to keep this ish going, so LET'S GO! 

Nugent played three years in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl with those 2001 Patriots (As most dudes on this list did as long as they actually played for the Patriots!).  He played 15 games with one start with the Patriots, and then played 9 games with the Ravens in 2002.  I'm sure he'd call the Super Bowl win his best moment, but it's actually kind of cool that Nugent was allocated by the Raiders to the Rhein Fire in 2004 and was named 1st Team All Europe after picking up six sacks.  So maybe that was his best time?  Who knows?

Round 7, Pick 226: Casey Tisdale
Another guy who never played for the Patriots.  He did play for the Scottish Claymores in 2001...he had 18 tackles and 5 special team tackles!  But yeah...not much here.

* Round 7, Pick 239: Patrick Pass
I mentioned I love FBs in a recent post, so I LOVED Patrick Pass.  He played eight seasons, seven in New England and one with the Giants, so he won three Super Bowls obviously.  He bounced back and forth between FB and RB and played a ton of special teams, so he was always a guy I rooted for.  He's also on my number one white whale card, which is the 2002 Pacific Heads Up Quads card featuring Tom Brady, Drew Bledsoe, Troy Brown, and Patrick Pass.  I NEED IT!

Undrafted: Lonie Paxton
So those are all the drafted guys, but I figured I'd throw in the undrafted Lonie Paxton as well.  He was one of the best long snappers in NFL history during his time with the Patriots, and his snow angels following the Raiders playoff game in 2001 will be remembered for a long time by Patriots faithful.  He played 12 seasons overall, including three with the Broncos where he was briefly the second highest paid long snapper in the NFL.  He also married a former Patriots cheerleader, so good for Paxton!  He's a local hero and I think well deserved!

In a redraft that ignores everyone else, what's the new order?
Because yeah...I wanna do this.
1. Tom Brady
2. J.R. Redmond
3. Greg Robinson Randall
4. Lonie Paxton
5. Antwun Harris
6. Patrick Pass
7. Adrian Klemm
8. David Nugent
9. Dave Stachelski
10. Casey Tisdale
11. Jeff Marriott

Monday, January 6, 2020

Heads Up Quads #23 - Giants!

Back to the quads!  This is actually one of two Giant quads in the set, and I'm really curious how they decided which teams got multiple cards.  I know the Giants were in the Super Bowl, so that could be part of it, but the Ravens only got one card in the set.  That being said, there's an all Fullback card in the set, so who knows? 

Card front:
Ron Dixon is on this card because of the 2000 playoffs.  He scored a kickoff return touchdown against the Eagles in the divisional round, and then also scored one in the Super Bowl (The only points for the Giants in a 34-7 loss).  His career was sadly just three years long, as he then tore his PCL and never fully recovered.  But the two touchdowns in a single playoff is an NFL record, so that's pretty freaking cool.

Jonathan Carter's career was one year longer than Dixon's, but pretty similar otherwise.  They were both speed guys and returners (Carter was drafted a year later).  He really didn't do much of anything in the NFL, but I do remember him being crazy fast in Madden 04 (My all time favorite video game), so he was on my team a lot as a KR/WR4.  Very solid dude.

The back:
Ike Hilliard was a first round pick (7th overall) in 1997, which is wild to think about.  He was definitely a pretty solid WR, but a first round pick?  He played 12 seasons overall, finishing 116th all time in career receptions and 179th all time in yards gained.  He also never quite gained 1,000 yards in a season, with 996 in 1999.  So certainly not the best WR of all time.  I did look at his playoff stats though, and the guy was a huge part of getting the Giants to that 2000 Super Bowl.  In the 2000 NFC Championship Game, he went for 10 catches, 155 yards, and 2 touchdowns in a 41-0 win.  It's kind of wild that a Vikings offense including Daunte Culpepper, Robert Smith, Randy Moss, and Cris Carter was shutout by the Giants, but the Giants were kind of a buzzsaw at that time, so good figure.

Jason Sehorn is a guy I mostly knew for marrying Angie Harmon.  He's not married to her anymore, which is fine, but that means I need to look more at his career for analysis.  Nine years played, one with the Rams, the rest with the Giants.  He was pretty good overall, including 96-97 where he had 13 interceptions and 183 tackles over two years.  He was injured a lot too though, and only made the full 16 games in three seasons, with only one season where he started all 16 games.  So I honestly feel like the guy was always a little disappointing.  Maybe Angie Harmon agreed (Heyo!)?

So who wins the card?  This one is a hard one for me.  I'm honestly between Hilliard and Dixon.  Hilliard has the longevity but never really shone despite his high draft status.  Dixon was only around three years (The least of anyone on the card), but had one set of playoffs where he really went off and was a star.  Now granted, Hilliard did well against the Eagles in those same playoffs, but Dixon's returns happened in a few different games and in closer games, so I'm giving the card to Dixon.  This is easily my most debatable pick on one of these cards, so feel free to disagree.  But Ron Dixon, I think you deserved this one dude.  Kick returners forever!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Christmas Rarity

So I mentioned that I got a bunch of cards for Christmas.  In between Heads Up posts, I'll post those cards.  The least rare card here is /100, but they were all pretty cheap.  Because that's how I roll!

First up, we have a Seneca I already own.  But it's glorious:
As I mentioned a few days ago...I don't typically chase jersey numbered cards.  But when it's Christmas...let the 15/15 rain down!

I also got this platinum Thad Lewis card:
 Which is #'d /10.  Super duper rare!

There were a few rare Ben Gay cards on COMC so I asked for those too.  There's a Premiere Date /36:
 And one of the earliest National Treasure cards:
 Which is /50:
I've never really talked about it since, but I'm pretty sad that my interview with Ben Gay never happened.  He had commented a while ago about telling his story, and we emailed back and forth a bit to discuss an interview, but it ended up falling through.  So close.  Ah well.

This next rarity was TOTALLY unexpected.  I thought it was just an Edge Tech Preview card, something weird and poorly labeled.  And COMC agreed.
 But I checked the back at home...and that serial numbering?
This is actually a Supreme GOLD card.  Had no idea it was even serial numbered when I asked for it.  So...happy ending!

Final two cards are both of J.R. Redmond.  First is a Spectrum Green:
 Which is /25:
Someday I'll look at the back of this card more in depth...that 2000 draft class is a hoot.

The other card is Infinity Purple:
 This one's /15.  Super rare!

I love picking up cards that have less than 100 copies of them in the world!  Yay Christmas!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Heads Up Quads #15 - Colts!

As part of my Christmas goodies, I got a few Heads Up Quads cards.  One was this Colts quad, a quad of players who were all pretty good, although rarely good enough to beat my hometown Pats!

Let's see who I consider the best player on the card, starting with the front:
"Edge" is up for Hall of Fame honors currently, and I get it to a point.  He's 13th all time in rushing, has most Colts RB records, and is in the 10,000 yard club.  But that's where I'm like...hmmm.  In 11 years, he only crossed 1,000 yards seven times.  His career highs were almost entirely in his first two years of play, including two of his four Pro Bowl trips.  He also had a pretty quiet final four years with the Cardinals and Seahawks, which technically included two 1,000 yard seasons, but a pretty low yards per carry.  So personally...I don't get it.  Lesean McCoy has a decent chance of catching Edge in yards before he retires and I don't see McCoy as a Hall of Famer, so...go figure.

Marvin Harrison probably shot a guy.  He's also a Hall of Famer though, and is definitely one of the best receivers of all time.  He ended his career 5th in receptions and 9th in yards, and Michael Thomas just beat his record for receptions in a season.  Unlike Edge, I can see Harrison as a Hall of Famer - eight pro bowls, three first team all pros, 1,000 yard seasons in eight straight seasons.  And he won a Super Bowl with Peyton.  I forgot that Edge left the year before they won for that's a bummer.

The back of the card:
Who puts Peyton on the back of a card?  I get that Edge and Harrison were similarly good at this point, but Peyton was the QB.  Weird.  14 Pro Bowls all told as well as seven first team all pro selections and two Super Bowl wins.  There are only four seasons where he DIDN'T make a Pro Bowl, which include the season he entirely missed, his rookie season, and his final season.  So...not too shabby.  And you know, the guy finished pretty high on most quarterback leaderboards...

Guy number four is Marcus Pollard, who I loved to follow as a kid.  I've mentioned in the past that I loved watching returners/special teamers as a kid, but a close second was FB/TE types.  I mean guys like Rob Konrad, Ben Coates, Kevin Turner, they were great.  So I remember following Pollard a bit.  Looking at the stats, he did...okay.  13 years, 4,280 yards, 40 touchdowns.  Not too bad really I guess, but obviously not all time great type stuff.  He had career highs of 739 yards and 8 touchdowns the year this card was made, so I guess I get why he's on here.  Who would've thought this card could have three potential Hall of Famers on it in the first place though?

So who wins the card?  I mean it's Peyton obviously.  I'd put Edge second, and Pollard third because, as far as I know, he was never involved in any murder schemes.  Harrison was really good...but also a really bad dude.  So he's 4th for me.