Category Archives: Pro Football HoF

Jurgensen, Sonny

Cards: Topps 1970, Crown Royale 2012
Acquired: 2018, C/o Home*
Sent: 10/20   Received: 11/6  (17 days)
* Donation enclosed

Sonny Jurgensen is the original gunslinger. I remember the first time I saw archival footage of him sauntering up to the line, surveying the defense, and showing off that pot belly like he didn’t care. He then cannon armed the ball down the sidelines for a TD. It was a pretty amazing feat to see. 

When Jurgensen played college ball back in… 1954, he played both quarterback and defensive back for the Duke Blue Devils. Because this was the stone age of offenses, Jurgensen’s college numbers were pretty ugly (77/156, 1119 yards, 6 TD passes to 16 interceptions). He’d be selected in the 4th round of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Sonny didn’t get a chance to start until 1961 as he was backup to Norm Van Brocklin. Regardless, he took the league by storm setting NFL records for passing yards (3723) and passing TDs (32). He wouldn’t be so successful in 1962, and after a injury riddled 1963 and losing records in both seasons, Sonny was traded to the Washington Redskins, in exchange for two players.

Thus began the second stanza of his playing career. Jurgensen played for the Redskins for the next 11 seasons. He snapped the passing record that he set previously in 1961 again in 1967 with 3747 yards, while missing tying his TD record that year by just one TD pass. Still he’d set another NFL record with 508 pass attempts. All this was more amazing in the fact that he accomplished all of these feats during the notorious ‘dead ball era’. Sonny also shared the Redskins’ deep hatred for the Dallas Cowboys and led the Redskins to Super Bowl VII. He’d retire after the 1974 season- at the age of 40. 

Amazingly enough it wasn’t until 1983 that Sonny was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In the meantime however the state of North Carolina has recognized him in a variety of capacities. Sonny briefly also did color commentary on TV and the radio. 

Sonny signed these two cards for me for a nominal fee. I really loved the Topps 1970, even though it was a reused press image from another card. His Crown Royale Living Legends card, really lends itself to being autographed. I like the design and look, and there’s plenty of space to be played with to put the autograph on. The image of Sonny going back to pass is an oft used illustration, but at any larger sizes I’m not really fond of it. There’s just something off about it. 

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Maynard, Don

Cards: Topps 1970, Upper Deck Legends 1997
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home*
Sent:  8/4   Received: 8/20    (16 days)
* Donation enclosed of $10 per flat

Don Maynard is considered the best receiver in Jets history, one of the best receivers in AFL history, and one of the best receivers in NFL history.  At the time of Maynard’s retirement he held the NFL record for career receptions and yards. He was the first player to crack the 10k barrier in receiving yards. An amazing feat considering it was still during an era where the passing game had not fully developed yet. Don epitomized consistency and longevity. (Oddly enough he never led the league in catches at any time but his sheer numbers made up for it en force.) 

Maynard was originally drafted by the New York Giants in 1957, but only played one lone season for them before bolting North to play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL. He’d return shortly thereafter to the fledgling AFL in 1960- becoming the first signee of the then New York Titans (later Jets). Over the next 10 seasons in the AFL he’d be named to the All-AFL team 4 times. In the final season before the AFL NFL merger, he’d help the Jets win Super Bowl III and notably graced the cover of the big game’s program guide as well. 

Don joined the Rams in 73, but ultimately ended up on the St. Louis Cardinals for a lone season, retiring after a bout with the WFL playing for the Shreveport Steamer/ Houston Texans. 

Maynard played college ball for Rice, and later Texas Western (UTEP). He was a proven runningback and defensive back, but was unpolished gold at receiver. His number has been retired by the Jets,  got his gold jacket along the way, and has been a Grand Marshall for UTEP at one of their parades. He lives outside of the El Paso area, in relative anonymity. 

I had been wanting Don for sometime but I thought he was out of reach. I really liked these cards of his and always wanted to get them signed so I went ahead and took a shot with a small donation. In the end I also had a Pro Set Super Bowl III card that I opted to send to Matt Snell instead (because he should’ve been MVP). Still the Topps 1970 is iconic, while the Upper Deck Legends 1997 hits all the marks for perfection. 

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Newsome, Ozzie (2)

Cards: ProSet 1991 Legends, Upper Deck Legends 1997, Action Packed 1990
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent:  Received:   (days)
See Also: Ozzie Newsome

When I first restarted the TTM hobby about 10 years ago, I truly didn’t know what to expect. I just thought I’d hit some of the most memorable players that I remembered. Ozzie was a thorn in the side of the Oilers ‘back then’, and while I only had the pleasure of witnessing the tail end of his career, Ozzie had earned my respect by the end of it all. I had a lot of cards of his, and when I started collecting again, I just fired the first two out I could find, not knowing that there were so many other cards out there in the dark corners of the web.

Ozzie has a lot of good cards. The ProSet 1991 Legends card was a gimme. I had to do that since this was a really nice Merv Corning illustration. I didn’t really respect these cards back then but now, being there and seeing the hard work involved, I really like how this one turned out. The autograph- well that’s another thing.

The Upper Deck 1997 Legends card was a set need. I had no clue he was in this set until much later. It’s a great card and photo. Each being immaculate. The backs of these cards- well they leave much to be desired and are stuffed with a bit too much busy information.  Again the autograph is just sorta… there… but I really can’t complain can I?

The 3rd entry is possibly my favorite of the bunch is Ozzie’s Action Packed 1990 entry. It is just a beautifully framed action shot, and it is one of these rare straight on photos, so you see him making the grab from the view of a quarterback. I had to get it signed and it was the first one on the list after I got him the last time.

His 1991 Action Packed card just barely missed the cut. Again, another amazing shot. Also I saw his Upper Deck 2011 College Legends card, but it was a bit too late to send that one out. Still I am happy that he spent the time to autograph these three cards for me- or did he?

Ozzie has been dogged on and off for a few years as a stamper. These are not stamped. If they were, pooling would occur on the cards, and be extremely obvious on the Action Packed one. When I opened the return envelope I was just entirely too suspicious. Something was just off about the autographs. After tediously overlaying them up in Photoshop, all of the signatures nearly matched. There were just some very small differences between the autographs, but the height, weight, angle, and length from card to card were consistent. While there were distinct difference between all the autographs, I just had a hard time believing that he could nail them so closely without consciously knowing he was.

Later when I discussed this was others on a message board, they informed me that Ozzie’s autograph has changed over the year due to a possible health issue. He went back to apparently hand signing after it happened- and he hand signs everything. The other collectors presented similar signatures that had passed JSA and other authentication benchmarks, so I guess I can not look these gift horses in the mouth.