Category Archives: AAF

Allen, Eric

Card: Action Packed 1990
Acquired: In Person 2019, San Antonio Commanders v San Diego Fleet

Eric played for Arizona State from 1984 to 1987, posting 16 career interceptions and 2 TDs. He had a dominant Senior year in ’87, putting up 8 interceptions for 185 yards and 2 TDs. Selected by Buddy Ryan’s Eagles in the 2nd round of the 1988 Draft, Eric was immediately slotted in at right cornerback, where he payed dividends with 65 tackles and 5 interceptions his rookie year. He’d earn his only First Team AP nomination in 1989 when he recorded 8 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, and 48 tackles. Arguably Allen had his best year in 1993, when he had 6 interceptions for 201 yards and count em, 4 TDs- including a 94 yard long. He also had 3 forced fumbles 2 sacks and 64 tackles.

Eric joined the New Orleans Saints in 1995. He played there for three seasons starting 48 games, and recording 160 tackles, and 5 interceptions. In 1998, Allen signed with the Oakland Raiders, where he experienced a renaissance of sorts, first with an injury shortened 10 game campaign, but not before he added 5 more interceptions to his resume. In 2000, Eric had another fine season for the books, with 6 picks for 145 yards and 3 TDs, a sack, 14 pass deflections, and 68 tackles. He’d retire after the 2001 season and go into the broadcast booth at ESPN as an analyst, and then later for college football Pac 12 games.

Despite the NFL making adjustments to defensive passing rules over the years, Eric Allen continued to shadow his opponent’s #1 receiver. He is the only player in the history of the league to return 3 or more interceptions for a TD in a season- twice, and the 6 time Pro Bowler was inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame, and named to the Eagles 75th Anniversary squad.

I had found out that Eric was wanting to cut his teeth coaching in the AAF and he hooked up to work with Mike Martz’s San Diego Fleet as a defensive backs coach. Before the second half of the game began, he tried sneaking by me in the end zone, so I called him out. In my trademark style I said to Eric, “Hey Eric, just because you shaved your mustache doesn’t mean you can go incognito.” He smiled wryly and did a slight detour and came back to me. We talked briefly about the Fogbowl, and reminisced about those crazy times. For a DB of Eric’s HoF quality, I was surprised that more people didn’t take part or ask for his autograph, but still I was happy to add him on this card.

Great autograph on a good looking card. It’s too bad that the artifact noise of the photo transferred to the card during production.

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Pressley, Jhurell

Card: Topps AAF 2019, Topps AAF 2019 Certified
Acquired: IP 2019, San Antonio Commanders v Arizona Hotshots. EBay 2019.

Jhurell was very high on my list for the game to try and get. His card is quite exciting looking and he was one of the league leaders in rushing. It helped that I had the seats in the visitors endzone, but he proved to be no problem- as soon as he saw his card of course. Jhurell removed his custom mouthpiece, which had gold vampire teeth in it and came over excitedly. It clued me in that for most of the Hotshots this was the first time they’d seen their cards.

Jhurell Pressley was not drafted coming out of New Mexico in 2016. Over his 4 years with the Lobos, he compiled 2,725 career yards on 394 carries (6.9 ypc) while scoring 35 TDs, and catching 18 passes (202 yards). His best year at NM came in 2014 when he compiled a whopping 1083 yards on 114 carries. – That’s right- 9.4 yards per carry!

He’d sign with the Minnesota Vikings and then see time on and off the rosters and practice squads of the Packers, Falcons, Jaguars, and Giants.

Jhurell joined the Arizona Hotshots in 2019 and led the league in rushing finishing with 430 yards on 96 carries, 1 TD and a 36 yard long scamper. He also caught 11 passes for 86 yards and 2 TDs including a 30 yard scamper.

After the league folded Jhurell was selected in the 3rd round of the XFL 2020 Draft by the Washington Defenders.

Bercovici, Mike (2)

Cards: Topps AAF 2019, Panini 2016, Topps AAF Certified 2019
Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o Home, EBay
Sent: 5/10 Received: 6/29 (50 days)
See Also: Mike Bercovici

Mike’s career continued after his release from the Cardinals. In 2018, he signed with the fledgling Alliance of American Football. (I recognized the name immediately when he was assigned to the Arizona Hotshots thanks in part to the league’s territorial allocation.) Later in the year- perhaps out of the fact that some teams were unfairly blessed with an abundance at quarterback, the AAF decided to hold a Pick or Protect draft, to balance out the rosters a bit.

Mike was taken at the top of Round 2 by the San Diego Fleet, where it was planned he’d grow under the tutelage of offensive mastermind Mike Martz, and behind overall #1 pick Josh Johnson. This didn’t happen because almost immediately after the draft, Josh signed with the NFL Washington Redskins. Moving ahead with Berco at starting quarterback allowed the Fleet to plan around him however and prepare him for the rigors of the AAF season.

I didn’t get Mike’s autograph before the first game in league history, even though they were practicing only a few feet from me. I didn’t realize how he’d be a poster boy for the league in the league’s brief highlight film.

 “Hey, whatever this league needs to get people excited, if that’s what it takes, then I’ll take the bullet.”

-Mike Bercovici (on ‘the hit’)

The Commanders ended up beating the Fleet on opening night in San Antonio, punctuated by 6 sacks and 2 interceptions. One of those sacks, LB Shaan Washington came across the line and almost decapitated Mike Bercovici from his blindside. The crowd was dead silent fora brief second as we looked around, and then erupted into a gladiator-like rousing applause at the fact that there was no flag. I thought that perhaps he suffered a concussion, but at some point during that game, Berco was sat for Philip Nelson.

Mike regained the starting position a few games later after Nelson went down with an injury. He’d complete 22 or 43 passes (304 yards) with a TD, leading the Fleet to the game winning drive over the Stallions 27-25. In fact he’d throw for 300 yards in the next two games as well, against the Iron (311 yards) and the Hotshots (310 yards).

Despite Mike’s struggles, he was quite lovable as a quarterback. He finished with 5 TDs to 9 picks, on 51% completions with 1,311 yards. His numbers are actually all the more impressive because he only started 4 games. The league folded after Week 8, and Mike decided to hang up his cleats and go into coaching.

He currently works as a graduate assistant at Arizona State.

I really wanted Mike’s autograph on these cards of his, and after a bit of digging, missing on an address, and a little help from Mark’s Signing Bonus, I was able to track him down on these great cards of his. I liked Berco and I had high hopes that he’d make a great ambassador of the league as the AAF moved forward.

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