Category Archives: College Football HoF

Nelson, Darrin

pset89 nelson Tsco89 dnelsonCards: ProSet 1989 Update, Score 1990, ProSet 1989, Score 1989
Acquired: 2012, Canton Acquisition. 2016, TTM C/o Home
Sent:  5/19    Received: 6/1  (12 days)

Darrin Nelson is most well known for briefly holding up the Herschel Walker trade in 1989. The Cowboys were dealt Issiac Holt, Jessie Solomon, Alex Stewart, and David Howard, along with Nelson and a slew of draft choices. Unwilling to report to the Cowboys, Darrin was traded to the San Diego Chargers.  This set off a flurry of trades at the bell, that eventually resulted in then backup Detroit Lions RB Paul Palmer being shipped to Dallas.

sco90 dnelsonWhile Nelson was back home in California, I guess  you could say his heart was still in Minnesota.  He’d return to the Vikings in 1991 where he finished out his career.

pset89 dnelsonThe Vikings first round choice (#7 overall) in 1982, Nelson was a dynamic rusher and receiver- somewhat of a rarity during the heyday of the ground game.  During his time at Stanford from 1977-1981, he accomplished a feat that nobody had ever done before in rushing for over 1,000 yards and catching at least 50 passes.  He did it not only his Freshman year, but repeated it again his Sophomore year and again in his Senior year.

During his time in the NFL  Nelson distinguished himself as a jack of all trades, rushing, receiving, and returning.  In 1986, Darrin had 1,386 yards from scrimmage and 7 TDs, and lead the NFL with a 4.9 yards per carry average in 1987.  In 2014, Darrin was named to the College Football Hall of Fame.  As of 2016, Darrin works in the external relations department at UCLA. A solid signer through the mail, Darrin not only signed 3 cards for me, he read my letter and noted that I had enjoyed playing Tecmo Bowl as him back in the 80s.

 

 

 

G  152       Rush 1020       Yds  4442      Avg  4.4       TD 18      Lg 72T
Rec  286       Yds 2559       Avg  8.9     TD 5     Lg 68TKR 163         Yds 3659       Avg 22.4    TD 0    Lg 53
PR    42      Yds 357      Avg 8.5      TD 0      Lg 35

George, Eddie

pp96 egeorgeCards: Press Pass 1996, Topps 1997
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Work
Sent: 2/16     Received:  6/27    (132 days)

Eddie George took Ohio State by storm. In 3 years with the college, he ran up to second place on the school’s vaunted rushing list including a school record 1,927 yards and 24 TDs in 1995. In 1996, Eddie George was the last 1st round Houston Oiler draft pick- ever.

It was a bitter moment of the franchise’s history.  Bud Adams, ever looking to shine his coffers, had gambled and lost with the city of Houston. After getting a stadium tax placed on businesses in Houston for luxury boxes at the Astrodome, he decided that he wanted a new stadium instead. Laughably he also called it, the Bud Dome in his proposal. With the Astros and Rockets not interested, Bud put it to the city leaders instead. Call it bad timing, but the city wasn’t interested. It also didn’t help that the salary cap hamstrung the team, and most of its talent was fleeced. After flirting and failing with a few suitors, Nashville stepped up to the plate. Desperate, but sensing a good deal, Adams signed. He intended to keep the franchise in Houston for a few years, but after making the announcement- fans stayed away in droves to show their displeasure.

Eddie in the meantime was declared the starting tailback coming out of camp and proceed to nab Rookie of the Year Honors in 1996 after rushing for 1,336 yards, 8 TDs, and a career long 76 yard gallop.

to97 egeorge FMThe following year in 1997, Bud accelerated his plans to move to Tennessee, finding a temporary home in Memphis while the stadium was being constructed in Nashville. Memphis itself was not happy about the situation. Memphis and Nashville have never had a great relationship, and on top of it, Memphis had long sought an NFL franchise of its own, so why should Nashville get it? Attendance improved, but only slightly, as the franchise changed from the Houston Oilers- to the Tennessee Oilers.

George continued his punishing running style, earning his first of four consecutive Pro Bowl berths, with 1,399 yards and 6 TDs on 357 carries.  At the time of the Oilers departure from Houston and transition to the Titans, I was going through a very tough time in my life.  It was probably good that I couldn’t focus on the heartbreak of the team leaving the city as I was dealing with a bad relationship of my own. Still I was able to watch George’s smothering effort against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, as the Oilers punished the Cowboys 27-14 behind a great defensive performance and 34 carries for 110 yards from Eddie.  (The Topps Finest Matters card above regales this tale with a certain amount of pride or Cowboy hate.)  Anyway, unhappy with the situation in Memphis, Bud again moved his vagabond team to Nashville, to play at Vanderbilt Stadium in 1998.  Finally in 1999, the Oilers changed their name to the Titans and settled in Bud’s dream Roman Colosseum by the river.

George logged three more Pro Bowl berths during his career, culminating in 2000 with his first and only AP nomination, when he led the NFL in carries with 403. That season he also rushed for a career high 1,509 yards, 14 TDs, and 50 receptions.  He played for the Titans through 2003,  finishing his career in Dallas in 2004. Like many greats, George’s time in Dallas is largely an afterthought as he is remembered by and large as a Titan, but the season there in Dallas allowed him to break the 10k career rushing yardage mark.

Eddie personified durability. Over his career he started 136/141 games in 9 seasons, and did not miss a single start until 2004. Of note, Eddie holds the NFL record for most consecutive seasons with 300 or more carries, at 8.  Eddie is the all-time leading rusher for the Tennessee Titans with 9073 yards and holds many of the franchise’s records. (He played only one season for the HOUSTON Oilers.) George also was the last Oiler that I’d get a jersey of.  It was one of the many pieces of personal things I’d lose after a hasty move out from an ugly breakup in 1998.

The Oilers leaving, coupled with discovering girls, graduating high school, escalating card prices for garbage product, and getting a job, culminated in a perfect storm, with me eschewing the football card market all together.  I happened to be stumbling around Toys ‘R Us one day somewhere during those more blurred years and decided out of the blue to pick up a blister pack of Press Pass 1996. Included was the whole set, but more importantly, the Eddie George Ohio State card that survived all those years.

George has had his jersey retired by Ohio State and in 2011 was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He enjoys television- all forms really, as he has contributed as a fan on the sidelines of Ohio State games, as a commentator and color commentator, and as an actor, in reality, mainstream, sports, and musical productions.

I had long sought Eddie, but his nasty price tag prevented me from taking a shot. Recently a few friends were able to track him down c/o the Ambassador Theater in NYC and got an autograph. Eddie has gone headfirst into acting and was on Broadway in the Musical Chicago.  I got my stuff there before the show closed in February, but his responses slowed to a trickle. Luckily a few months later he came back to his mail and signed my two cards- a big coup for me.

Remember kids: “Always strike while the iron is hot.”

G/GS 141/136
RUSH  2865    YDS 10441     AVG 3.6     TD 68      LG  76t
REC  268      YDS 2227      AVG 8.3     TD  10      LG   54

LeVias, Jerry

to71 jlevias to70 jlevias

Cards: Topps 1970, Topps 1971
Acquired: TTM 2015, C/o Home
Sent:   12/30/15   Received: 1/7/16    (8 days)

Jerry LeVias went on to play in the AFL and NFL, but is also recognized as a pioneer, breaking segregation in the SWC, playing for the SMU Mustangs.  It was not easy for Jerry, as he faced constant harassment.  LeVias made them pay though as he was a 3 time All-SWC selection from 1966-1968. His best year came in 1968 when he caught 80 passes for 1131 yards and 8 touchdowns.  Jerry finished his career at SMU with 155 receptions for 2275 yards and 22 TDs.

In 1969 Jerry was drafted by the Houston Oilers and led the NFL his rookie season in all purpose yards with 1946 yards, and punt returns with 35 for 292 yards. He also chipped in a career high 42 receptions for 696 yards and 5 TDs, including a league leading long 86 yard TD.  Jerry’s 1946 yards consisted of nearly half the team’s total yardage. He’d earn a Pro Bowl trip after the season and Rookie of the Year honors.   In 1970, he finished with 1377 yards from scrimmage, but Jerry was already preparing himself for life after football.

LeVias was traded to the San Diego Chargers in 1971.  He’d have his final season with over a 1000 all purpose yards, but the constant pounding his small frame (5’8″, 165) was taking its toll. Jerry retired after the 1974 season.

As of 2015 Jerry serves as a Houston Texans Ambassador. He’s been honored with inductions into the Gulf Coast Hall of Fame,  College Football Hall of Fame, and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.  A few years ago I went to the Kickoff at Kemah in Houston during a tropical storm. An early rumor placed LeVias at the Texans event, but in the end it was three other ambassadors. I decided to go ahead and shoot some cards out to him instead. Luckily he signed these two classic Topps cards.

G/Gs  70/35     Rec 144    Yds 2139    Avg 14.9    Td 14    Lg 86T
Rush 19   Yds 161   Avg 8.5    Td 0    Lg 38
KR  94      Yds 2213    Avg 23.5    Td 0    Lg 87
PR 35       Yds 687       Avg 7.8       Td 0    Lg 46