Thursday, July 24, 2014

Good Things Come in Fours

Once again on Ebay I found a little multi-card PC lot (yahoo!).  

This time it was Michael Bishop, and it featured four cards, two of which I needed.  Two were his base Contenders auto, but the other two were fairly rare cards that I've never personally seen before.  So I snagged the auction as quick as I could, and man do these cards look fantastic in person.

First Bishop's Sage Platinum Auto:
Usually all the Sage autos are just a regular finish, but this one has a sort of holographic quality to it that really looks great in person.  Of course my scanner just really focused on the autograph (this one is 4/50) but I love that they upgraded the image for this lowered numbered parallel.

The back's just like the other Sage auto backs:
It did make me wonder about that Hick guy though.  Turns out it's Eric Hickson, who ran for 2500+ yards and 26 touchdowns during his four year Kansas State career.  The Buccaneers signed him as an UFA and he spent some time on their practice squad before being released.  He then played for the Miami Tropic of the Spring Football League before being drafted by the Birmingham Bolts of the XFL.  He was a 43rd round pick and one of only three RB on the roster (along with James Bostic and Curtis Alexander) but he never accumulated any stats so I'm not sure that he ever actually played for the Bolts after being drafted.

This next card is the one that sealed the auction for me...it's the Trophy Collection edition, /20:
Specificially 4/20 (lol, now there would be a serial #'d collection to start).  But I just LOVE the little Trophy stamp here with the numbering, and the tint change to make all the lettering/stamping green.  I think it really works well here.

And then the back:
Lots of empty space, but I can dig it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I traded for more of Jay's Junk

Jaybarkerfan is a guy I came to know mostly through my Listia days, and since then we've traded now and then, always with fantastic results.  He recently let me know that he had a Shyrone Stith I needed, and when I asked what he wanted in return he basically said whatever.

So I sent whatever.

And he sent me a beautiful Stith:
It's #'d 8/99, and it's a little hard to tell in the scan but there's a diagonal stripe across the middle of the card that reads Hobby LTD over and over.  It looks fantastic in person and captures the light especially well.
Here's the back, which features all of Stith's counting stats.  He did play one game with the Colts in 2001, but he didn't accrue any stats during that season.  Shame shame.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Too Many Marlins!

Dennis, he of the Too Many blogs, semi-recently had a contest where you could win cards for taking cards.  I like cards, so I offered to take his Marlins, Bengals, and Browns (latter two for trade bait locally, Marlins for funzies).  That won me a prize and I got more cards, this time in 2014 Upper Deck football form.  A pretty sweet contest and a pretty sweet prize - here were some of my favorites!

First we have some gold serial numbered cards:
Emiliooooooo

 
I remember when I used to collect serial numbered cards - that was a good time.  I think if I ever won the lottery I'd probably start again, it's just so expensive and never ending to chase any and every card with a print run.  I could always narrow it down to specific print runs or print runs over or under a certain number...but what's the fun in that?

It would be cool to do a 1986/xxxx collection though...

I also got a lot of youngster Marlins in this package...like a Mike Stanton card.
We switched printers a while back, and this new one scans and crops on its own (I used to crop every image individually).  It's nice because it's fast, but it chews up all my borders.  So now someday I need to figure that out so poor Mike doesn't lose his borders.  At least he didn't lose his name like Tom Koehler here:

I really dig this Adrian Gonzalez Prospects card...always forget he started as a Marlin since he's bounced around so much.

And finally some nice early Miguel Cabrera cards...dude is such a beast.

Now on to the prize stuff!  I won a 2014 Upper Deck 50-150 set (basically all the rookies) and an Andrew Luck subset.  Good stuff all, but here are some of the highlights.

Jace Amaro, who could become the next Gronk in New York:

Tom Savage...who could very well be Houston's QB of the future (I love backup QBs haha).

Teddy Bridgewater, who IS Minnesota's QB of the future.

Jimmy Garoppolo, aka the guy who will hold the clipboard while Tom Brady plays another 27 seasons.

Blake Bortles, your #1 draft pick (good luck man, you'll need it in Jacksonville).

And last but DEFINITELY not least, Johnny Football himself.  Awesome card.

A lot of these cards are going into the non-PC binder, and the Bengals/Browns should turn into cool stuff from my LCS when I trade them in, so I appreciate all the goodies Dennis!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What's a Buccaneers favorite month? July (yeah I don't get it either)

Happy July everyone!  Or as I like to call it, my favorite month because I don't have to work (yay teachers) and it's the month of my birth.  Good combination those two.

Anyways, I figured this would be a good time to share a Buccaneers quad I got from a guy on Blowout.  He said he had just found it and it could be mine for $2 shipped.  That's cheap as poop, so  said sure, and it was mine a few days later.  It's somewhat unique for this set in that it actually showcases a defensive player, so let's get to it!

Warren Sapp is obviously the unique guy here, since he played DT.  We see him on ESPN all the time these days, but it really is crazy to look at how good of a player Sapp was after being picked 12th in the 1995 draft.  He was actually the fourth defensive player selected, behind DEs Kevin Carter, Mike Mamula, and Derrick Alexander.  Those other guys were okay, but Sapp (and fellow first round Buccaneer pick Derrick Brooks) are far and away the two best players in the 1995 draft class.  Sapp had just 3 sacks in 8 starts as a rookie, but then exploded over the next five seasons with 9, 10.5, 7, 12.5, and 16.5 sacks from the DT position.  DTs are typically more run stuffers and space occupiers, so to have multiple double digit sack years from that position is crazy impressive for Sapp.

From 2001 on Sapp wasn't quite as awesome as in his dominant years, with 6 sacks the year this card is based on and only 12.5 over the next two, but Sapp was still good enough for 7 straight Pro Bowl nominations and four placements on the All Pro team.  He left Tampa Bay for Oakland in 2004, and though Sapp was sort of a shell of himself for 3 of those 4 years, he did add a fourth double digit sack season in 2006 at the age of 34.  That's an incredible feat for a DT in his 12th year in the league, but for Sapp it was just another notch on the HOF belt.

Aaron Stecker is a weird choice for this card - Warrick Dunn was actually Tampa's RB in 2001, but he was sort of on his way out for Michael Pittman so I guess Pacific went with the previous year's backup RB instead.  Stecker was undrafted in the NFL, probably due to his transfer from Wisconsin to Western Illinois after Ron Dayne unseated Stecker as the Badgers starting RB.  The Bears grabbed Stecker undrafted in 1999 and let him go, but Tampa liked him enough to pick him up in 2000 and make him their kick returner/change of pace back.  He spent four years in Tampa Bay with just two starts, with his two highlights being a Super Bowl win in 2002 and being named the offensive MVP of NFL Europe in 2000.

Stecker moved on the New Orleans following the 2003 season and he spent the best five years of his career there.  Stecker started 14 games over those five seasons, contributing 9 total touchdowns and over 2,000 offensive yards along with some of the best kick return numbers of his career.  2008 wasn't a great year for Stecker though, and so after the season he was released by the Saints.  Stecker made one more go at it in 9 games with the 2009 Falcons, but after that his NFL career was done.

Keyshawn Johnson was such a beast, and he was at his most beastly during his Tampa Bay years.  He was the first pic on the 1996 draft by the Jets (a fact I often forget, I figured he was like mid first round), but he's the not the most valuable WR to be drafted that year.  His career stats actually lag behind fellow draftees Terrell Owens and Marvin Harrison, and they are pretty much identical to those of 2nd round pick Mushin Muhammad.  Which is no real bash against Keyshawn - this was just a crazy good year for WR, with guys like Eric Moulds, Amani Toomer, Terry Glenn, Joe Horn, and Eddie Kennison all finishing within 2,500 yards of Keyshawn.  Johnson had a dominant first five years for the Jets, with 8+ touchdowns in 4 of 5 years and two seasons of 1,000+ yards despite being the clear focus of a struggling Jets offense for much of that time.  Frustration led to Johnson asking out of New York, and in 2000 the team obliged as they sent him to Tampa Bay for two first round picks.

Johnson was dominant in Tampa Bay, with two 1,000 yard seasons over four years including his career best 106 catch/1,266 yard 2001 (where he somehow only caught one touchdown all year).  This performance earned Johnson his third and final Pro Bowl nod.  He won a Super Bowl with the team in 2002, but in 2003 played just 10 games due to issues with Jon Gruden, and so once again he was traded to another team, this time to the Dallas Cowboys for Joey Galloway.  Johnson then spent two seasons in Dallas and one in Carolina where he had 70, 71, and 70 catches respectively, but wasn't able to cross 1,000 yards or make any Pro Bowls before hanging up his cleats in 2006.  He is currently ranked 29th all time in receptions and 34th in receiving yards.

Finally we have Mike Alstott, one of the only FB ever to tote the ball on his own about as often as he blocked for others.  Alstott was a 2nd round pick in 1996 by the Buccaneers, and despite his FB designation he actually ranks third in rushing yards and touchdowns for his class, behind Eddie George and Stephen Davis but ahead of Karim Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Biakabutuka.  Alstott's first seven years in the league are seven of the finest you'll ever see for a "running fullback," and he was sent to 6 Pro Bowls and awarded three All Pro nominations for his efforts.  He scored a ton of touchdowns in his time in Tampa but he was more than just a touchdown vulture, as he actually had three seasons of 35 plus receptions (including a career high 65 in his rookie season) and two seasons of 200+ carries (including 242 for 949 yards in his career best 1999 campaign).  Alstott's later career was marked with concussion issues, and its concussions that eventually forced him to retire, but he's still remembered today as one of the brusing-est FBs to ever play the game.  And dang did he play it well.

Who wins the card?  I think it's got to come down to Sapp and Alstott, who are both two of the best to ever play their position (Keyshawn is top 50 to ever play WR but I don't think I'd go top 25 with him).  While Alstott was an absolute beast, Sapp is a Hall of Famer, so my choice here is Sapp.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Star Quarterbacks Quad (and Tim Couch)

This is the last of the quads that I picked up from the two four count Ebay lots.  It's the most valuable of them all because it has Brett Favre on it.  I'm always surprised the value stays up on cards like this even when it's paired with a much crappier player like the guy we'll see below.
Tim Couch, as we all know now, was the first pick of the 1999 draft by the "expansion" Browns.  They chose Couch to reignite their franchise, though we now though they could have also chosen Donovan McNabb or Daunte Culpepper (maybe Aaron Brooks counts too since he was technically better).  Heck, Shaun King and Brock Huard could've been better were they given more opportunities.  About the only consolation the Browns have is that they didn't chose Cade McNown or Akili Smith, who were each, inarguably, even worse than Couch.  So there's that.

Couch started 14 of 16 games in his rookie season, and did okay with 15 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.  But he was sacked a league leading 56 times, which is impressive since he started 2 games less than most QBs.  The next season Couch only made it through 7 games before facing injury, and by then it was clear that he wasn't going to be able to do much behind the Browns awful offensive line.  In 2001 Couch did improve a lot, and then in 2002 he was even better as he was able to lead the Browns to a 9-7 record (8-6 in his starts) and their only playoff appearance since returning to the league.  Unfortunately for Couch, he was hurt in the season finale, and backup Kelly Holcomb's fantastic showing in the 33-36 playoff loss pretty much cemented Couch's fate with the team.  The next season Couch only started 8 games, and those would be the last 8 games Couch would play in the NFL.

As for his legacy, I don't like to think of Couch as the "#1 draft bust" that many consider him.  Ryan Leaf was worse, Dam McGwire was worse, Todd Marinovich was worse, David Klinger was worse, I'd argue JaMarcus Russell was worse, and you could make an argument that Brady Quinn was worse than Tim Couch.  Blaine Gabbert is also definitely worse than Couch was.  That being said, Couch still wasn't the best pick, and I'm sure the Browns wish they had had a mobile QB like McNabb or Culpepper behind that sieve of a line instead of Couch.

Brett Favre is a freakin' legend.  I'd assume you all know that, but here's a few things I didn't know:
- Favre was a 2nd round draft pick in 1991.  Atlanta actually had two picks they used before Favre, one on DB Bruce Pickens and one on WR Mike Pritchard.  They played a combined 5 and a half seasons in Atlanta, which is still 4 and a half more than Favre did, but isn't great.
- Favre is one of only two QB in his class to throw more TD than INT.  The other is Craig Erickson, who threw 41 TD and 38 INT (this was an awful QB draft class, Scott Zolak and Browning Nagle are your potential third best QB overall).  You then have to go to RB to find other positive guys, with Harvey Williams (2:0), Jon Vaughn (1:0), and Ricky Watters (1:0) all in the positives.
- K John Kasay was the last remaining member of the 1991 draft class, as he outlasted Favre by one year.
- Favre threw four passes for those 1991 Falcons.  Two were interceptions.  He was also sacked once.
- I mentioned how Donovan McNabb rarely threw interceptions a few posts back.  Favre pretty much always did.  We all know he's the career leader in picks, but did you know he never threw less than 13 in a season as a Packer, including a career high of 29 in 2005.  That's why his 33 touchdown, 7 interception 2009 with the Vikings was such a revelation at the time.  The next year he threw 19 interceptions though, so things balanced out.

I've talked about both these QBs prior to their appearance on this card, so here's just a few notes about their placement with these particular players.
- I like McNabb being on a card with Couch...kind of rubs it in for the Cleveland coaching staff.
- I like McNabb being with Favre...Mr. no INT vs. the all time INT leader.
- I like that Brees even got a card in this set., let alone two  At the time everyone thought Doug Flutie would be the starting QB...but Brees took the job by storm and started all 16 games in his sophomore year.
- I love the color variations on the card.  Two shades of green, a dark blue, and then Cleveland brown.  So nice.

Who wins the card? Favre should win, but I'm giving it to Brees.  Brees lost on the Chargers card to LT and Favre will have another chance to win on the Packers card.  Brees has also been a lot more efficient than Favre over the course of his career, and I give respect points for that.