Cards: Upper Deck 2006, Score Select 2008, Adrenalyn 2009 Acquired: In Person, 2018 See Also: Cedric Griffin
Wow, so I went out to this unbearably hot event at Del Valley stadium to get Cedric Griffin and Aaron Ross in the middle of July. That’s dedication. Anyway, it was a really good and encouraging camp for the kids. There were some great speeches from the players, and they were more than happy to provide autographs to anyone and everyone.
I patiently waited until the end. A kid kept backing up nervously, so I told him to go ahead and get Cedric’s autograph before me. Cedric and the kid looked at me and laughed. It was his son.
Cedric told me that he loved every moment of the NFL experience and cheerfully penned these 3 cards for me in no time flat.
I previously had gotten Griffin on a card or two a few years ago. I gave away the Adrenalyn card -even though I really liked it, so I had always wanted to get Cedric again on a few more cards including the Upper Deck 2006 rookie debut- which I seem to have carved out a small niche in collecting. I don’t like that particular card. It appears that somebody Photoshopped the background very poorly. The Score Select 2008 is an okay card, but the chrome is a bit garish. Thankfully, Cedric’s bold silver autograph makes up for the design descrepancies on each card.
Cards: Topps 1970, Pro Set SuperBowl III Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Work Sent: 7/16 Received: 7/24 (8 days)
Matt Snell played for the New York Jets from 1964 to 1972 during the wildcatting days of the AFL NFL rivalry, when the leagues used to poach each other’s talent. Matt was drafted out of Ohio State where he had a prestigious career playing fullback, halfback, and defensive end.
The quandary was, who to play for, as both the New York Jets (AFL) and the New York Giants (NFL) had selected Matt. Matt in the end was offered substantially more to play fullback for the Jets than the Giants so he joined the AFL, where he literally ran away with Rookie of the Year Honors in the young league and captured a Pro Bowl berth. In 14 contests he’d rush for 948 yards and 5 TDs on 215 carries. He’d also be a threat out of the backfield catching 56 passes for 393 yards and a TD, and lead the league in touches that year with a combined 278. Snell had equally impressive campaigns in 1965 (763 yards rushing, 1027 yards from scrimmage) and 1966 (644 yards rushing, 48 receptions, 990 yards from scrimmage, 8 total touchdowns), earning a Pro Bowl nomination in the latter. In 1967, Matt played in only 7 games due to a knee injury, but he quickly returned to form in 1968 with 747 yards on the ground and a career high 6 TDs rushing. He’d have another exemplary season in 69 with 695 yards rushing as well, earning both Pro Bowl and All-AFL Honors.
His crowning moment came in the final game before the AFL-NFL merger-Super Bowl III. After Joe Namath made his ‘guarantee’, the Jets had to figure out a way to come through on it against the vaunted Baltimore Colts. Snell ran for 121 yards on 30 carries, and the Jets only TD- good enough to help the Jets win the Super Bowl 16-7. Despite Snell’s record setting performance the MVP honor would be bestowed upon Namath.
Matt played for the Jets for 3 more injury riddled seasons, retiring after the 1972 season. Since his playing days, Snell shrewdly invested his money in different ventures. He has been named into the Jets’ Ring of Honor and Ohio State All-Century Team.
I almost went for Don Maynard on this Super Bowl III card strictly because he’s on the image, but then I remembered how Snell didn’t get the MVP and would make a better selection for the card. I really like Snell’s Topps 1970 card. It is a bit funny because you can see his watch clearly in the snapshot. Matt is great to the TTM community and responded in no time flat to my request.
Card: Upper Deck 2009, Score 2009 Acquired: In Person 2019, San Antonio Commanders v San Diego Fleet Failure: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Hines Ward played 14 seasons in the NFL from 1998-2011. After posting decent numbers for the Georgia Bulldogs (144 receptions for 1965 yards and 11 TDs) over his college career, Ward was selected in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although he didn’t find immediate success, by 2001 Hines was really starting to round out as a marquee receiver, posting his first (of 4) 1,000 yard campaigns, and first (of 4) Pro Bowl appearances. In 2002, he’d have a career high 112 receptions for 1329 yards and 12 TDs. Hines won Super Bowl XL MVP honors after catching 5 passes for 123 yards and a TD. Despite legendary names in the Steelers wide receiver corps, Hines finished at the top of most of the team’s charts before retiring.
He’s dabbled here and there in sports commentary and as a celebrity judge, but it was when he was given the opportunity to be involved with the AAF that he has really seemed to jump out there.
After getting lucky with Troy Polamalu at the San Antonio Commanders team reveal, I stocked up on other executives for the inaugural game. The ticketing office hit a snafu with me on my tickets and offered me a floor pregame pass during the season. I asked to get on the field for the opening game- but I was told that the league was expecting a lot of executives for the event. I took this as a good omen. Sure I could’ve kicked myself for not packing a card of Kurt Warner who was broadcasting the game, but I was happy as it was just to get Hines.
Standing in the front row of the endzone, nobody noticed Hines. I waited until he got a good, close distance to me and called him over. He hesitated for a moment and then told his guest he was going to sign some autographs. I think he signed for two reasons. One, he had made it so long without somebody recognizing him wandering around the stadium, so I had to be a fan. Two, Hines is all on board with the league and its mantra. He is genuinely excited to share the vision of the league with fans.
Later when I posted the autograph to one of the message boards on Facebook, I found out that I was lucky to not only get two autographs out of him- but that I also got his full signature.
If I hadn’t gotten another autograph for the rest of the evening I would’ve still been tickled pink about it, as I learned firsthand that he can be a erratic signer back in 2016. This Upper Deck 2009 was amazing, and the photo is a rare treat. Hines put the autograph to the canvas perfectly! It compliments the image well and makes it feel even more exciting. The 2009 Score was a set need. I wanted the 2010 Score, but I thought just getting two autographs from Hines was greedy enough.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.