Williams, Aeneas

Cards: Action Packed Rookies 1991, Pro Set 1991
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o Home
Sent:  5/11   Received:  5/23  (12 days)

Aeneas Williams was drafted out of tiny Southern in the 3rd round of the NFL draft in 1991 by the then Phoenix Cardinals. A ball hawk in college, the knock on him was that he played inferior talent at the I-AA school, where in his senior graduate season, he finished with 11 picks. Williams would shock the NFL by becoming one of the leagues elite corners but would not win the RotY award in 1991 (losing to Leonard Russell, NE) despite tying for the league lead in interceptions. Over his 10 seasons with the Cardinals franchise Williams would make 46 interceptions, before leaving the team in 2001. He is considered one of the great finds of the NFL draft during the 1990s. Unfortunately during this time period, the team would only make the playoffs once, however he’d make it count with 3 picks in 2 playoff game appearances. Aeneas would be traded to the St. Louis Rams on draft day in 2001, where he’d provide the defensive stability in the secondary for the Rams that they needed to allow them to return to the Super Bowl in 2002. During this time Aeneas would be converted to free safety, and he’d remain with the franchise through 2004 and then retire. At the time of his retirement he was ranked second all-time with 9 interceptions returned for touchdowns (since surpassed).

Widely regarded as one of the greatest defensive backs during the 1990s, Aeneas has received multiple awards since retirement. He was named to the All Time team of the 1990s, enshrined in the Cardinals Ring of Honor and was an 8 time Pro Bowl selection over his career. Aeneas also tied an NFL record with a 104 yard fumble return in 2000. Williams also presented the Cardinals with the NFC Conference Championship Trophy in 2009. After watching Aeneas during the draft in 2011 announce the Cardinals second round draft choice, I dug up the envelope that I had sitting on my desk from 2010 for him and decided to send off for him. Currently Williams lives in the St. Louis area where he is a minister in a congregation.  He is considered a voracious TTM signer and he signed these cards in 12 days. A Hall of Fame semi-finalist in 2010, it is an absolute shame that Aeneas has not been inducted despite having more career interceptions than recent inductees Deion Sanders and Darrell Green.

As Tecmo Bowl made its way to the Genesis and Super Nintendo, Williams was well rewarded by the Tecmo gods, but he does not appear in Tecmo Super Bowl on the Nintendo, as it was finished before the 1991 season began. Instead the secondary consists of  Jay Taylor and Cedric Mack at cornerback.

I loved the Action Packed series, especially the Rookies set from 1991. Maybe it was because Action Packed was a relatively smaller set it was easier to collect, but I would always go into the 7-11 after school and buy a pack of cards with my nachos. The embossed players, rounded corners, college statistics, and simple designed layout, really screamed at me. Action Packed also had a good scouting department, frequently pinning impact rookies in their team uniforms. You also never got a head shot or a sideline stretch shot of a player. It was truly “action packed”. The Pro Set 1991 card wasn’t bad either, and I’d consider this to be the height of the company’s card designs, before they came crashing back down to Earth with their abysmal Pro Set 1992 series 2 cards.  Good framing, color and a nice emphasis on the round of the draft are the hallmarks of this card, really delivering as much information about Williams without cluttering the page.

Williams was kind enough to inscribe the card with a passage from the Bible from Romans 10:9- If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

G/Gs  211/207     Tac 677      Sac 3.0     Fum 8    Int 55      Yds 807     Avg  14.6    Td  9    Lg  65