Category Archives: Arena

Banks, Carl

plinep92 bankspset90 banks
Cards: ProSet 1990, ProSet 1990 SBXXI, ProLine 1992
Acquired: TTM 2014, C/o Work
Sent: 11/17  Received: 12/8   (21 days)

Carl Banks played for the New York Giants on a stellar defense. He was a quiet, but noticeable force at outside linebacker that punctuated his career with hard hits and turnovers.  Frequently leading the Giants in tackles, Banks was a consensus All-American while playing at Michigan State, where he recorded 284 tackles over his 4 years for the Spartans. He’d be taken in the first round by the Giants during the 1984 draft.  His best season came in 1987 when he earned AP and Pro Bowl Honors,  with 9 sacks, 101 tackles, and 2 FF in just 12 games.  In 1988, Banks intercepted a pass in the 4th quarter and returned it for the game winning TD against the Falcons.  Later again in 1989, he posted a single season franchise high 7 forced fumbles.

pset90 banks sbBanks was frequently overshadowed by Lawrence Taylor on defense, but Carl had a habit of showing up most when it counted. In Superbowl XXI, he had a team high 10 tackles in a 39-20 win over the Broncos, earning Carl a nomination for the Super Bowl 25th Anniversary Team.

In 1993, he jumped ship for the Washington Redskins, and then a final 2 seasons in Cleveland for his former defensive coordinator (now coach) Bill Belichick, retiring after the 1995 season.

Carl loves doing radio- something that goes back to his playing days with the Giants. Banks was also part owner of a New Jersey Red Dogs in the Arena Football League, and briefly worked for the Jets in 1997. Otherwise, Banks has received numerous accolades from the Giants, including induction into the team’s Ring of Honor, and a member of the Giants’ All-Decade 80s team.

Carl had some amazing cards once the newer players got involved in the business. This ProSet 1990 card is among one of my favorites showing him in action stripping the ball carrier of the rock. I didn’t really like the ProLine series of cards. Most of the cards did not have a football shot, rather they focused on the player’s real lives, interests, and family. Still the subset of portraits, illustrated by Merv Corning (who worked on the Pro Set 1990 SuperBowl MVP subset) is just exquisite, and I am very impressed by the interaction that he uses to activate the white space on the page.

G/Gs 173/151      TAC  826        SAC  39.5           FUM   N/A
INT 3     YDS  21        AVG   7.0         TD   1          LG  15T

 

Swann, Eric

aprks91 eswannCards: Action Packed Rookies 1991, GameDay 1992
Acquired: 2016, Paid Signing

Eric Swann does not sign through the mail. When I saw this affordable signing, it was a no brainer to go ahead and send out two of my favorite cards.

Swann took a unique route to the pro level. Academically ineligible he was unable to begin college at NC State. Instead he enrolled in JC at Wake Technical, but left soon thereafter to join the semi professional football Bay State Titans in 1990.  During his single season with the Titans, Swann rocked the league with 72 total tackles, 11 sacks, 4 blocked field goals, and 4 forced fumbles playing at both defensive end and tackle.

The Arizona Cardinals fell in love with Swann’s unusual combination of size (6’3″, 311), strength (bench press of 400+ lbs), and speed (4.98 40). They’d select Eric with the 6th pick of the first round during the 1991 draft. He’d be the first non-college player chosen in the first round since Emil Sitko was selected by the Rams in 1946.

gday92 eswannSwann’s rookie season was slowed by injuries. Shortly after taking the field in minicamp, he blew out his knee and had to have arthroscopic surgery.  He’d see action in 12 games though, starting 3, and record 4 sacks to go along with 22 tackles.  Swann over the next few years solidified his role on the Cardinal defense, recording a career high 70 tackles in 1992, and 7 sacks in 1994.  Eric also recorded a safety in 3 straight seasons from 1992 to 1994.

1995 marked the first time in some 30 years that a defensive lineman from the Cardinals was named to the Pro Bowl, as Eric recorded the first of his two nominations, with 45 tackles, a career high 8.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble. A 1996 followup yielded another 3 fumble recoveries, 5 sacks, and 60 tackles.  Although Swann had an equally dominant 1997 campaign with 7.5 sacks and 52 tackles, he did not see any further Pro Bowls. Eric played for the Cardinals through the 1999 season, joining the Panthers for a final season in 2000.  At the time of his departure from the deserts of Arizona, Swann was the most decorated and feared lineman to play for the Cardinals.

Swann briefly popped up on the football radar again in 2007 playing for the Hudson Valley Saints, and later the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League in 2008.  He was also inducted into the Semi-Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

G/Gs 126/87        Tac 386          Sac 46.5         Fum 6
Int 2          Yds  42         Avg 21.0          Td  1         Lg 42t

White, Markee “Kee”

tntufl11 mwhiteCard: TNT UFL 2011
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o Home
Sent:  9/7/11  Received: 7/1/16  (1759 days)

Jy Bond deserves an assist for this one. The original plan was for me to attend the Colonials game against the Mountain Lions in early October, but with the NFL Lockout ending, the league scuttling the operations in Hartford, and rearranging their schedule, this was obviously out of the question. Among one of the cards I was most proud of was this high resolution shot* of Markee White making an understated tall grab. I knew this one would be awesome to get an autograph on.

After hooking Jy up with his player card design, I moved forward with sending him a set of physical trading cards based off of the design early in August. During the exchange he also offered to hook me up with other members of the squad he knew.

I immediately asked for Markee and he hooked me up with him via Facebook. I was surprised to realize that Kee played at Texas State- roughly 35 miles to the South of Austin, where I was from. Bobcat stadium also was the home of the San Antonio Riders during the early ’90s.  We exchanged pleasantries and worked out virtually the same deal I had with Jy and went from there.

It took him a while to respond, as he was hustling for a job, but in the end this one turned into a white elephant. Eventually irony interceded, and I happened to be at an Arena Football game in 2014 between the San Antonio Talons and Los Angeles Kiss, and it just so happened that he was on the Kiss. I attempted to flag him down after the game after I had made my way to the front of the visiting endzone, but he had already made his way through the crowd to the exit.  He responded to my email on facebook, and again promised to mail me one out. I waited another year and a half and asked him again. Kee struck me as being a man of his word. That’s why it always bothered me I had never gotten a response from but, but lo after some  1700+  days, -the longest I’ve ever waited for an autograph, I got this sweet custom card signed.

Markee finally got a gig after the UFL fiasco of 2010. A member of the disbanded Hartford Colonials, – the UFL left him out to dry following the season. Kee rounded the wagons and headed to the CFL for a season, playing for the Calgary Stampeders in 2012.  He returned to the AFL again in 2012 playing for the Arizona Rattlers, and then was traded in the offseason to the Jacksonville Sharks in 2013. Markee was again traded in 2014 to the Kiss, where he made a fearsome combo with Donovan Morgan at receiver. He was again traded, this time to the Philadelphia Soul, where he made an immediate impact catching an electrifying one handed grab against the Predators, in a must win game on ESPN.  Markee finished the game with 5 catches for 64 yards and 3 TDs.  Between the two teams White finished the 2014 season with 85 receptions for 855 yards and 13 TDs.  He returned to the Rattlers in 2015 and was having a career year with 16 TDs on just 57 receptions, but broke his back against the Spokane Shock.  A metal rod had to be inserted, and although the doctors have said Kee can return to football after rehab, it is unclear as to when or if he will return.

Disclaimer: The photos and logos remain the properties of their respective parties. The designs, bios, and presentations, I do claim ownership over. I am not affiliated with the United Football League or any of its member teams and these are classified as ‘mock up’ demonstration cards. Not for resale.
*CREDIT: photo taken by Mike D’Avino from Sportspagemagazine.com.