So I recently had a freeish weekend due to an impending snow day, and decided to use it to try to make my own custom card. I've always wanted to make my own but I never felt like I had the time or the expertise, but now that I had some time I decided to work on getting the expertise...why not, right?
I wanted to do a 2002 Heads Up Quads custom, which is a lot of work since it's a lot of players on one card, but also wasn't a ton of work since I had the Seneca scans from the custom work I had done. So after cropping Seneca out and fixing some of the areas that left behind, I was left with this template:
I had to fix some of the colors and corners below the G and above the y, and I didn't do enough on the blue to the right of the top box but eh that was okay with me. Solid template, and though I may tweak it a bit I'm sure I'll use this template a lot in the future if/when I make future customs in the set!
Next I had to decide who I wanted to focus on, and I decided on Madden defensive backs that I liked. I made an initial list of 6 guys who stood out, and removed two based on quality of pictures available - Clarence Love and Earthwind Moreland. I guess I already have customs of them both anyways thanks to Condition Poor, but they also didn't have good pics for portrait type cards. If I make something more action focused in the future though, they'll definitely have a part in it!
The four guys I came up with were Michael Stone, Lamont Brightful, Kywin Supernaw (because he has a custom but he needs a jersey card) and Will Demps. All CB or S types who I frequently played with in Madden back in the day. I found some pictures, cropped them up, did some erase shading, wrote their names, and found logos. And after I did all that, I was left with these two picture files:
The Fins logo and Pats logo didn't shrink as well as I hoped, but overall I still like them. I really like the way Stone looks, and I think Brightful is kind of neat with his kick return pose.
I LOVE how sharp Supernaw looks, and I think his shading was decent. As for Demps, it's kinda funny how his point mimics that of Brightful - that was sort of a weird happy accident that I noticed before printing the card.
And oh yeah, as for printing the card...I decided to go for it. Now...I don't have any good photo paper, so I did it on plain and ordinary printer paper, which was definitely a big no-no. But I was excited to go for it and decided that if I really hated it I could always re-print down the line. So here's my attempt at a printed jersey card for the first time:
Side one actually isn't that bad. I kept the jerseys simple, and I dug fairly deep into the white dummy card that I used as a middle so the jerseys fit well. The big downside was that I didn't realize the glue I was using would seep through some fabric, so on Stone's where you see a dark blue spot that's glue. Maybe it'll be less noticeable when it dries? Doubtful, but a man can hope haha.
As for the players, Stone was a 2nd round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2001 who played 4 years in the desert before his final three years in New England, Houston, and New York (Giants). Football Reference lists Stone as playing in 37 games over 4 years with only 5 total tackles to his credit, while NFL.com gives him a better but still low 27 total tackles. Stone outdid both totals in his one year in New England, with 46 total tackles in 13 games which included 3 starts, but he then pretty much flamed out of the league. I just remember him being fast and tall in Madden, so he was an easy guy to turn into like a 95 rating and he would get interceptions all day long.
Brightful was pretty much drafted as a kick returner, and that's what he did for two years in Baltimore, one year in Miami, and one year in New York (Giants again). He actually holds the Division 1AA record for kick return average (minimum 65 attempts) so his future looked bright. In his 2002 rookie year, he had a 95 yard punt return for a TD that led the league and overall had 16.1 yards per punt return, which is a fabulous average. His kick return average was just 20.6 though, and left something to be desired. In 2003 he led the league with 45 punt returns, but his average fell to 7.8 yards per return and his kick return average bumped up to only 24.7 yards per return. The Ravens felt that was replaceable, but the Dolphins decided to take a chance on Brightful and signed him for 2004. In only his 2nd game as a Dolphin, Brightful had three fumbles on returns, and Miami cut him before the ensuing week. And that would be Brightful's last meaningful time in the NFL - such is life as a returner in the NFL.
As for the players, Supernaw played in 17 career NFL games with three starts before injuries caused him to retire early. He had 24 total tackles in a career that was spent entirely with the Detroit Lions.
Demps was signed as an undrafted free agent by Brightful's 2002 Baltimore Ravens, and immediately made an impact with 53 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception and 7 passes defended in 10 starts that year. Not bad AT ALL for an undrafted rookie. He spent the next three years in Baltimore with mixed success, mostly due to a few injuries that put him out for extended periods of time. In 2006 the New York Giants signed Demps, and he had his best year statistically with 100 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 7 passes defended. But the Giants let him go after the season where he was signed by the Texans. In year one (2007) Demps started the last 8 games of the season and contributed 52 tackles with 5 passes defended. And somehow, some way, those stats were good enough to make him a Pro Bowl alternate (though he didn't end up officially making the team). The next year Demps fought injury and was only able to play 9 games (5 starts), and after the Texans released him following the season he called it a career. Not a bad one though, and certainly the best one of anyone on this card IMHO.
Who wins the card? All these careers were brief, but Demps probably had the most success during his, so I'll give this one to Demps.