All posts by Lee Bolton

Tupa, Tom ‘Two Point Tupa’

pset90_ttupapset91_ttupa
Cards: Proset 1990, Proset 1991, Fleer 1990
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent:  4/7      Received: 4/15    (8 days)

Tom Tupa was selected in the 3rd round of the 1988 draft by the then Phoenix Cardinals out of Ohio State. Unbeknownst to even the Cardinals, the franchise was at the beginning of a long search to find an answer at quarterback to replace long time quarterback Neil Lomax– whose career quickly declined after 1988, due to injury and an arthritic hip. After Lomax’s sudden departure left Phoenix in a lurch in 1989, the Cardinals staffed a platoon at quarterback with Gary Hogeboom, Timm Rosenbach, and Tom sharing the workload. Tom threw for 973 yards and 3 TDs- to 9 interceptions, while suiting up for 14 contests.  He also got to showcase his impressive skills as a punter filling in for injured starter Rich Camarillo in a pinch. After not seeing any playtime in 1990, Tom spent one final season in Phoenix. He’d win 4 games in 11 starts and throw for a career high 2053 yards and 6 TDs.

1991 led to a short stay in Indianapolis for Tom. Afterwards he bolted for Cleveland. He spent the next three seasons with the Browns. It’d be in 1994 that Tom finally made a rare positional move from quarterback to punter. One could also argue at this point, that Tom had become the best emergency quarterback in the NFL. In 1996, Tupa signed with the New England Patriots and punted for them through the 1998 season.

In 1999, Tom had his finest season as a pro playing for the New York Jets. He’d earn Pro Bowl and All Pro Honors after the season punting 81 times for 3659 yards. Tupa played for the Jets through the 2001 season, before playing for the Buccaneers for 2002 and 2003.  His final season came in 2004 with the Redskins – a year in which Tom set career highs for punts (103) and yards (4544), earning him an invitation as a Pro Bowl alternate.

In a small bit of trivia, Tom is known as ‘Two Point Tupa’, for scoring the league’s first 2 point conversion, and repeating it two more times later in the season.

Tom as of 2016 was a coach at a local high school in Ohio. He signed these 3 cards for me in a bit over a week. ProSet had a major soft spot for Tom and I wasn’t really sure why, covering him in their 1990 and 1991 entries. Notably Score and Topps didn’t make early first or second year cards of Tom.  Fleer 1990 was the company’s first foray back into the football card market in many years. The set was novel looking enough, with nice action shots, but the design of the card itself did not age well with the abstract metal football logo, and the random team helmet just sort of haphazardly thrown on there.

G/GS 220/13     ATT 504      COMP 259       YDS  3430       PCT  51.5%
TD 12       INT  25       RAT 60.5
RUSH 53      YDS 187     AVG 3.5     TD 1       LG   17
P  873      YDS  37862      AVG  43.4        LG  73

Gaffney, Jabar

Card: SPX 2002 Rated Rookies (229/650)
Acquired: 2017, EBay
Failure: 2011, C/o The Washington Redskins

Jabar Gaffney was a talent who left it all on the field for the Florida Gators back in 2000 and 2001. In both years he had almost 1200 yards and over 10 TDs receiving.  He declared for the 2002 NFL draft and was selected at the top of round 2 by the Houston Texans expansion squad. It was expected that Gaffney would become young quarterback David Carr‘s preferred target as they’d grow together as an up and coming talent. Among receivers looking back, his selection was a fair one. He’d finish 2nd in total WR yardage in an otherwise lackluster class.

Jabar caught only 1 TD  his rookie season, in a week 6 snoozer against the Buffalo Bills. The following week he’d record his first and only professional TD throw against the Cleveland Browns. In total that rookie year, Jabar had 483 yards on 41 catches.  Later in 2004 Gaffney had his best season as a Texan with 632 yards on 41 receptions.  In 2005, the Texans experimented with utilizing Gaffney as more of an inline receiver. He’d make 55 receptions, but as David Carr regressed, so did the Texans record.  The entire team from the front office down was fired and a new regime was brought in.  Jabar was a free agent.

Gaffney found a home with the Philadelphia Eagles, but was a surprise cut before the beginning of the season.
He’d then sign with New England where he’d play for the Patriots over the next 3 seasons. In 2007 he’d have a career high 5 TD receptions.  Jabar then signed with the Denver Broncos in 2009. In two seasons with the franchise he’d post near career highs in receptions (54, 65) and yards (732, 875). He’d be headhunted by the Redskins for 2011, again posting career highs in receptions (68) and yards (947) and tied his career high with 5 TDs.  Jabar returned to the Patriots, but was cut shortly there after.  He later signed with the Dolphins, but ran into legal trouble.  Miami cut him and Gaffney was unable to resuscitate his career.

In 2016 he was arrested in Jacksonville for marijuana. Gaffney has attempted to remain low key otherwise, despite some run ins with the law.

G/Gs 158/103     Rec 447    Yds 5690    Avg 12.7    Td 24   Lg 69

Laurinaitis, James


Cards: Upper Deck Star Rookies 2009, Score 2009, Adrenalyn 2010
Acquired:  TTM 2016, C/o The New Orleans Saints
Sent:  5/23  Received: 6/8   (15 days)

A three-time AP All-American, James Laurinaitis was the most recognized and decorated player in the 2009 draft. He was easily viewed by many as the safest selection, and boasted 366 career tackles and 9 picks while playing linebacker for the Ohio State Buckeyes. With a rare combination of size and athleticism, Laurinaitis earned the 2006 Bronko Nagurski Award and then the Lott Trophy in 2008 as the nation’s best defensive player. He was selected by the St. Louis Rams near the top of the second round at pick 35.

He quickly asserted himself as the leader in the middle of the Rams defense and was named to many All-Rookie teams after putting up a line of 120 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 interceptions in 2009.  During that rookie campaign James notched a single game career high 16 tackles against the Cardinals. As a consistent force in the middle Laurinaitis put up 100+ combined tackles for seven straight seasons. His best season came in perhaps 2011 or 2012 when James had 142 combined tackles.

In 2016, he joined the New Orleans Saints as a Free Agent. During that off season he signed these 3 cards for me.  He switched to inside linebacker, and had 17 tackles through 3 games, but injured his quad. In November he was released by the Saints and had some tryouts with the Chiefs and Lions, but later opted to retire in early 2017.

G/GS 117/116       TAC   663         SAC  16.5          FUM   9
INT 10        YDS 74      AVG  7.4      TD  0       LG   21