Hébert, Bobby “The Cajun Cannon”

Cards: Fleer 1990, ProSet 1989, Stadium Club 1992, Action Packed 1992
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o Home
Sent: 10/15   Received: 11/1  (17 days)

I don’t know what it is about small town Louisiana, but it seems to be the cornucopia of NFL quarterback talent and Bobby Hébert (pronounced A-bear,) is another great example of that- born in Cut Off, LA. Nicknamed the “Cajun Cannon”, he’d be recruited to go to Northwestern State- Louisiana in Natchitoches and would be taken in the 3rd round (34th pick) of the upstart USFL’s initial draft in 1983 by the Michigan Panthers. Things would be rough there as Bobby would initially compete with 13 quarterbacks at one point during that initial training camp but once things settled down Hébert would establish himself as one of the elite players of the young league throwing to future Minnesota Viking Anthony Carter. That year Bobby would win the USFL Championship and he would take home the MVP honors beating the Philadelphia Stars. Along with those honors Hébert would win player of the year honors and was voted the most outstanding quarterback of the league (3568 yards  and 27 touchdowns). The team again made the playoffs in 1984 but with injuries plaguing the defensive line, they’d be knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. In 1985, with the league experiencing financial issues, the Panthers found themselves merged with the Oakland Invaders, however they would return to the championship game losing in the end to the Philadelphia Stars. In the end, Bobby would finish as the league’s career leading passer with over 10,000 yards.

After the USFL folded, Bobby was a man without a team- but he wouldn’t have to look long as former Stars coach Jim Mora who was stockpiling former USFL players and brought him into camp with the Saints. Hébert and Mora would go head to head over the next animated 7 seasons for the team, as Bobby was always struggling to garner the respect he deserved with Dave Wilson, John Fourcade, or Steve Walsh (after an acrimonious holdout in 1990,) always looking over his shoulder during his tenure there with the Saints. Bobby in fact would guide the Saints to their first playoff appearance and their first divisional title under his clock management sporting a 49-26 career record as starting quarterback of the Saints. After a great 1992 season, free agency dawned and Hébert signed with the rival Atlanta Falcons in 1993 where he’d see his lone ProBowl appearance. He’d play there for the next 4 seasons, with 1994 and 1995 being primarily mopup duty. In 1996 he replaced Jeff George and started the majority of the season under coach June Jones, retiring after the season ended.

Bobby after retiring from the sport has done a lot of sports radio commentary, conducting fireworks shows, and was the Grand Marshall for the Mardi Gras parade in 2007- apparently being quite the man of the party. Bobby played for the rival Saints when I was a big fan of the Rams in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I always respected him and felt that Jim Mora restricted Bobby because of Mora’s offensive philosophy. He didn’t force the ball or make many turnovers and was a great clock manager. I even had his Starting Lineup figure. Strangely, the pronunciation of Bobby’s last name would even be a topic of conversation on an episode of Seinfeld.

Hébert for some reason in many of his photos is always pitching the ball out or rolling back from center on his cards. While they were dynamic looking poses, I had to struggle to locate a good selection of different looks. I like to ask questions of many of the players that I try to get autographs from, and I was really excited to get a response from Bobby. He wrote that his greatest memory was “Definitely winning the USFL championship and the MVP honors!” He gleefully signed all 4 of my cards and both sides of my Action Packed 1992 card in 17 days. Below are Bobby’s NFL statistics.

G/Gs 122/100       Att 3121      Comp 1839     Yds  21683     Pct 58.9    Td 135     Int 124     Rat 78.0