Zendejas, Tony “The Z”

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Cards: Score Supplemental 1989, ProSet 1989, ProSet 1990, Fleer 1990, Action Packed 1992
Acquired: TTM 2013, C/o Home
Sent: 10/31            Received:  12/13     (43 days)

The Zendejas clan has had an impactful history on the league during the 80s and 90s, as Tony has been one of four members of the family (Max, Louis, and Joaquin) to play in NFL. Of Mexican descent, Tony eventually landed at the University of Nevada at Reno. After setting records at the school he was picked up by the Los Angeles Express of the USFL in 1983.  He’d play in the league until its implosion, and be drafted by the Washington Redskins in the USFL Supplemental Draft in 1985.

The Redskins immediately turned around and traded his rights to the Houston Oilers, who had inconsistency at the position with Florian Kempf over the past 2 previous seasons.  The Z took the starting job and quickly established himself as one of the best kickers in the league.  Zendejas stayed with the Oilers for the next 5 seasons through short lived Hugh Campbell era, the Jerry Glanville years, and briefly into the Jack Pardee era. Things were looking good until Tony cracked his fibia against the Saints during the 1990 season- a year in which he was off to a surprisingly slow start. After completing his rehab and being given a clean bill of health, the Oilers left him surprisingly exposed in free agency.  Z signed with the Los Angeles Rams (,replacing longtime barefooted kicker and franchise leading scorer, Mike Lansford). The Oilers in the meantime were left in the lurch and opened the job to a competition between Teddy Garcia and Ian Howfield. While the Oilers struggled all season at kicker, Tony ironically went on to hit 17-17 field goals that year. An unusually strong and accurate kicker from over 50 yards, it was obvious the Oilers and myself had been spoiled by Zendejas’ ability. Tony remained with the Rams through 1994 and then play with both the Falcons and 49ers as an injury replacement retiring after the 1995 season. Zendejas is most notable for sharing the NFL record for consecutive completed field goals of greater than 50 yards with 11.

G 149     XPA 327    XPM 316      PCT 96.6%     FGA  252   FGM  186     PCT 73.8%     LG 54   PTS  874