Category Archives: Heisman Trophy Winner

Dayne, Ron ‘Great Dayne’

Card: Upper Deck College Legends 2011
Acquired: 2018, C/o 33dayne.com*
* Fee required

Ron Dayne ran into the college record books with 7,125 career yards rushing for Wisconsin over a 4 year period from 1996 to 1999. In both 1996 and 1999 he cracked the 2,000 yard plateau for the Badgers. During his senior season Ron ran 337 times for 2,034 yards and 20 TDs, culminating in him winning the Heisman Trophy and wresting the rushing record from Ricky Williams. Ron was selected in the 1st round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the New York Giants.

With Gary Brown on the way out in New York, the Giants were looking to shore up their woeful backfield which had a woeful combined 1408 yards rushing. Ron was a good fit for the team. With the emergence of Tiki Barber at runningback at a hair above 1,000 yards, Ron took on more of a fullback/ short yardage/ bam back role for the Giants. He’d start 4 games and rush for 770 yards on 228 carries and 5 TDs as NY made it to the Super Bowl. Fans dubbed Ron ‘Thunder’ and Barber ‘Lightning’ based on their 1 2 punch in the backfield- however this was the high point in his early career. 

Ron really never found his footing in New York as a starting back. During 2001 he’d start 7 games, and there was always the concern about his yards per carry which hung consistently around 3.4 yards per carry. Injuries were also an issue, as it seemed unfairly that the idea of running players into the ground before they made it to the pros became popularized after Dayne was drafted. His stats dropped every season in New York until he was released after the 2004 season. 

Ron signed with the Denver Broncos in 2005, eager for a fresh start, but after a dubious start, he finished with only 270 yards and a TD in 10 games. On the bright side, he had a career high 5.1 yards per carry- but it’d be his only season playing for the Broncos as he’d be unceremoniously cut in camp.

Ron was snapped up by the Texans looking for veteran help at the runningback position to pair alongside Vernand Morency and rookie Wali Lundy after Domanick Davis was shelved on IR. Ron had previously played under offensive coordinator (now coach of the Texans) Gary Kubiak in Denver so this made a good fit. In 11 games (6 starts) Ron would have a renaissance of sorts with the Texans, rumbling for 612 yards and 5 TDs (4.1 YPC). He’d return in 2007 to Houston, and start a career high 8 games filling in for Ahman Green, rushing 194 times for a career high 773 yards and 6 TDs (4.0 YPC), and helping the young franchise reach an 8-8 record.  

Dayne lives in Wisconsin. I got his autograph through his website via jumping through hoops and paying a fee. I had always wanted to get his autograph for a variety of reasons, (Heisman Winner, College All-Time Cumulative Leading Rusher, he played for the Texans) and this great card. I couldn’t get a scan to do the bottom portion justice but based on the photo area alone, it’s a nice piece. 

On a side note, I was told by a Texans player that Dayne loved to play cards on plane flights (and was an easy mark).

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96/2898337223.82861
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573406.0021

Hornung, Paul ‘Golden Boy’


Card: Upper Deck Legends 1997
Acquired: TTM 2018 C/o Home
Sent:  3/12  Received:  3/23   (11 days)
* Donation Enclosed


While at Notre Dame from 1954 to 1956, Paul Hornung played quarterback for the Fightin’ Irish.  Over 3 years he threw for 1696 yards on 110 of 233 passes, with 12 TDs to 23 interceptions. A gifted runner, Hornung had 209 carries for 1051 yards and 6 TDs. Now during those years, passing was still in the stone age, so those totals were actually pretty substantial. Despite playing for a losing team in ’56, Hornung rushed for 420 yards and 6 TDs, while passing for 917 yards and 3 TDs, earning him the 1956 Heisman Trophy Award.

Paul was the first overall pick of the Green Bay Packers during the 1957 Amateur Football Draft.  The Packers liked Hornung’s rushing style so they converted him to a ‘back. Now the reason I use the eponymous term ‘back’ is because Paul saw time at fullback, halfback, – something called ‘L-back’ and heck, he even did some kicking duties over the next 10 seasons. Arguably his best year came in 1960, a year in which he led the league with 13 rushing TDs, 15 total touchdowns, 41 extra points, and 15 field goals. While he did not play in Super Bowl I, Paul culminated his career by earning the first Super Bowl ring.  His number was unofficially retired in 1967 by the Packers.

The Golden Boy culminated his career by being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.  He is the only player to win the Heisman, be selected overall number 1 in the NFL draft, and win a Super Bowl, in the history of the sport.

All around high marks for this solid looking card. Upper Deck really hit the nail on the head in 1997 with this set. It did it all and it became an instant classic. This overall impressive photo of Hornung is only complimented by his autograph- something that I got lucky on getting in such pristine condition. Not only does Hornung’s autograph tend to get rushed and sloppy looking from what I’ve seen, he sent this one back in my unsealed SASE. Still for a mere $10 getting a Hall of Famer, a number one overall pick, AND a Heisman winner on a card is a bargain.

G/Gs 104/90   Rush 893   Yds 3711    Avg 4.2    TD 50   LG 72
Rec 130    Yds 1480    Avg 11.4    TD 12   LG 83
Att 55    Cpd 24    Yds 383   Pct 43.6    Td 5    Int 4    Rat 67.5
XPA 194    XPM 190    FGA  140   FGM 66    PCT 47.1    LG 52

Sims, Billy ‘Kung Fu’ (2)

to81 sims apCard: Topps 1981
Acquired: 2015, Future Considerations
See Also: Billy Sims


Lance picked up this Billy Sims card for me in exchange for all the autographs I randomly drop him. He also gave me an autographed Sports Illustrated with Keshawn Johnson on it as well. The autograph is actually certified on the back with a hologram- for what it is worth. Not much to say about this card. It’s Topps, so it’s a lazy photo. The design itself is not all that exciting, but I guess it was for that era.

It wasn’t all roses for a while with Billy. He really wanted to make a comeback in 1988, but the Lions only expressed a cursory interest. He’s fought back from the brink of financial disaster, even selling his Heisman. Despite that, Billy’s BBQ branded chain continues to fare well. He has quite a few locations in Oklahoma and opened stops in Michigan as well. In 2007 the University of Oklahoma erected a statue in his name as well, and he remains a celebrated hometown hero of Hooks, Tx where they have named a road after him.