Category Archives: NFL

Polamalu, Troy

Cards: Upper Deck 2009, Score 2010
Acquired: In Person 2018, AAF San Antonio Commanders Season Ticket Holders Party

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to even come close to picking up one of the greatest modern day NFL safeties and Pittsburgh Steeler legends Troy Polamalu- but here we are. I mean again, like in the past, one of the greatest pieces of advice that I can give a fellow collector, is: When you go to in person events, plan ahead by bringing cards of who you know will be there- and who you think might be there.

The second piece of advice I can give you is do your research and participate in the discourse of knowledge about the subject you are interested in. In this case, I participated heavily on the AAF boards and was made aware of the fact that a bold tapestry of many former players line the league’s offices with experience and knowledge. I thought maybe, just maybe since this was a big event, that the league would send down one of the player personnel to the celebration.  I packed a box of cards for the players, and the executives and made my way to the event.

When the event began, Troy was seated on stage with the players and executives. I immediately recognized him based on his flowing mane. – Sure who wouldn’t right? I slipped out some cards and calmly bode my time. After the event concluded I waited in the picture line and kindly asked him for an autograph or two.  I think Troy was both surprised and impressed that somebody had some cards of him at the event. His eyes lit up briefly and he smiled as he signed. I exchanged pleasantries with him about the new league and how excited I was, and then wished him luck.  I’m not much for photos or selfies. The autograph was enough for me to regale in memory about.

Over a 12 year career, Troy Polamalu established himself as one of the greatest strong safeties to ever play the game. Drafted in the first round of 2003 by the Pittsburgh Steelers out of USC, Troy was a headhunter in the secondary, who had a nose for the ball with 46 career takeaways (32 interceptions, 14 forced fumbles), and 770 combined tackles.  Polamalu was named to the Pro Bowl 8 times, All-Pro in 4 seasons, NFL Defensive Player of the year (2010), and won two Super Bowl Championships. He’d also earn honors as a member of the Steelers All-Time Team, and the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. 

Troy retired after the 2014 season and decided to focus on his family. In 2018, he was named the head of player relations for the fledgling Alliance of American Football, however that folded during 2019.

Late in the AAF season, the league brought out Topps cards of Troy, but with these two signed, I’m happy to close the books right where they are without the executive card signed.

G/GSTACSACFUMINTYDSAVGTDLG
158/14277012.0143239812.4349

Northrup II, Reggie

Card: Topps 2019 AAF (1/1)
Acquired: Box Breaker 2019

After Reggie was not selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, he’d be briefly on the training camp and practice squads of the Washington Redskins and Los Angeles Rams through mid-2017. He’d join the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL and start 3 games, notching 22 tackles before heading down to join the AAF.

Reggie played and started in all 8 games for the Orlando Apollos. He finished with 62 total tackles and a sack on the season for Orlando in 2019- placing him 7th in the league.

A well designed 1/1 card here, I was really impressed by the look of the certified autographs from the Topps 2019 AAF set. Too bad the AAF didn’t last beyond 8 games thanks to terrible investors who pulled out the rug from under the league. Reggie felt the same as well and as of this post is one of the chief plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit drawn by the players of the league against the Alliance.

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8/8621.00
INTYDSAVGTDLG
00-.-0-.-

Hooker, Malik

Card: Sage 2017
Acquired: 2018, Box Breaker

Malik Hooker came on strong and fast during his 2016 campaign playing for Ohio State. He tallied 74 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, .5 sacks, and 7 interceptions for 181 yards, and count ’em 3… that’s 3 TDs. A Consensus All-American that year, he declared for the 2017 NFL Draft.

The 2017 Draft was an interesting one, as it was laden was defensive talent, especially in the secondary. Still Malik’s raw talent, range, and instincts carried him high into the first round, where he was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the 15th overall pick. Despite fighting nagging injuries early in the year, Malik managed to record an interception in 3 straight contests, and tallied 22 total tackles, in 6 games before blowing out both his ACL and MCL. Rehabilitation went well for Hooker and he finished ahead of schedule for 2018.

Malik ended up starting 14 contests for the Colts in 18. He’d add another 44 tackles, 4 pass deflections, and 2 interceptions.