Category Archives: NFL

Alm, Jeff (1968-1993)

Card: ProSet 1990, Score Supplemental 1990
Acquired: In Person 1992, Highland Mall

In 1992 the Oilers were doing a media and fan blitz outside of their normal home territory and were appearing at a local mall sending in coach Jim Eddy, Jeff Alm and Al Smith. It was one of my first memorable face to face interactions with players and Al and Jeff cracked jokes with me while they set up the tables in front of the food court. Al signed my Pro Set 1991 and then jokingly told me I could have probably carried in the table for them. Jeff signed my cards and firmly shook my hand and smiled, thanking me for hanging in there and being a fan and I gave him some encouraging words for the season. We also joked that Jim Eddy (the defensive coordinator) would be upset because I did not have his card. (He didn’t have one.)

Jeff Alm was drafted in the second round of the 1990 draft by the Houston Oilers out of Notre Dame to play defensive tackle. The man mountain checked in at a whopping 6″6′ and 284 .  In 1992 Alm began to have more playing time on the line, playing in 14 games, collecting 35 tackles, 1 sack and 2 forced fumbles. After a prolonged holdout in 1993, Alm signed and played but had sustained a painful hairline fracture in his leg. He was placed on injured reserve and was upset about the lack of playing time. His childhood friend Sean Lynch came to visit him in Houston to cheer him up. He and jeff had a close relationship, like siblings- and loved to compete with each other in interests like car stereos. On December 13th, Jeff and Sean had a night out on the town. On the way home Alm was driving recklessly on the 610 and sideswiped the guardrail. Sean was thrown from the car and killed. When Jeff emerged from the wreckage of the vehicle, he was so overcome that he grabbed a shotgun from the back of his car, and took his own life.  Both were drunk at the time of the accident, and although Alm’s was signifigantly lower, he was on a muscle relaxant that amplified the effects of the alcohol. The Oilers would wear a memorial sticker with his number on it for the remainder of the season. I remember I was working at Best Buy when I heard the news, late in the evening. I was shocked to hear that Jeff had passed on, and it was all over the TVs in the video department. (Alm remains a rarety in the NFL- that is a player who commits suicide while he was still on an active roster.) Since those days, horrible urban legends have emerged about Jeff, but based on the coroner’s report and on the scene services, those claims have no merit and are substantiated as being untrue. Jeff’s only injury was a gunshot wound and neither of them had clothes that were removed. Below are Jeff’s statistics.

G/Gs  44/8     Tac N/a     Sac  2.5     Fum 2      Int  0  Yds  0   Avg -.-  Td 0

Elway, John

Cards: Upper Deck 1991 team checklist, Upper Deck 1991, Score 1990, SkyBox 1992, ActionPacked 1991
Acquired: In person 1993, CGA Youth Golf Tournament.

John Elway was a lot different than the other players at the tournament. While we were waiting for him to golf, he stopped, approached us and said, “If I sign all of your cards, will you leave me alone?” Wow man- how do you expect me to react? Josh and the other guys who were with me sheepishly said, “Sure John.” Of course I would throw in the barb of, “Good luck winning the SuperBowl this season!”, After he’d sign all 5 of my cards- (even though I was only gunning for two signatures tops). This was a memory that really stuck in my mind because he wasn’t gracious at all about his status, and in a way I’ve always held it against him.

In 1983, the consensus #1 draft choice from Stanford refused to play for the Baltimore Colts who in turn traded John Elway to the Denver Broncos where he’d become the face of the franchise. (The trade was executed for Chris Hinton, Mark Hermann, and Denver’s first round pick of the 1984 draft.) Elway would start 11 games that season under coach Dan Reeves play action offense and have a lackluster start with 7 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. John would display his innate ability to scramble early on with a 5.2 yard per carry average. By 1987, Elway had moved into the upper echelon of quarterbacking. He’d be named NFL Offensive MVP and lead the Broncos to Superbowl XXIII. This would begin a series of heartbreaks for John, who despite his record 47 comebacks, – was labeled a choker in the big game after losing 3 Superbowls.

By the early 1990s John’s feud with head coach Dan Reeves had come to a boil, and at one point during 1991 the Broncos discussed trading him to the Redskins. Reeves would be terminated after the 1992 season, an 8-8 record, and when Elway intimated it would be him or Reeves that had to go. With the hiring of Mike Shannahan, the team would quickly reload and march back to the playoffs by 1996. In 1997, Elway would get another shot at the SuperBowl, this time winning the big game at last against the Green Bay Packers. Owner Pat Bowlen after the game proclaimed, “This one is for John” and Elway beamed. He’d repeat again in 1998 in movie-like fashion, this time taking on the Atlanta Falcons and his ex head coach Dan Reeves. The Broncos would triumph and Elway would be named MVP. Soon there after Elway would announce his retirement due to age, lingering injuries, a desire to spend more time with his family and a feeling that he had no more to accomplish. He was inducted into the Pro Football HoF in 2004 as the first Denver Bronco with 9 Pro Bowl nominations under his belt and two SuperBowl victories.

Elway since football has participated in a variety of sports ventures. He was the owner of the Colorado Crush of the failed AFL, and owns a few car dealerships and steak restaurants. He also hosts his own golf classic and is an open Republican.

In early 2011 John Elway was named Vice President of Football Operations where he is expected to have a large amount of influence in the organization.

G/Gs 234/231   Att 7250    Comp 4123    Pct 56.9%    Yds 51475    TD 300    Int 226   Lg 86    Rat 79.9 |
Rush 774    Yds 3407    Avg  4.4    Td  33    Lg  31

Alworth, Lance “Bambi”

Acquired: Austin Citywide Garage Sale 1996

So I was wandering around a citywide garage sale and saw that a bar was selling all of its close out merchandise at breakneck prices. For 20 bucks I got a nice lot of autographed memorabilia, so I didn’t think it’d be a bad deal to get- even if they were bad considering how much they’d cost in real life. I started a new binder where I kept photo and other types of autographs than cards.

Well, Lance Alworth is a class of 1978 Hall of Fame receiver that played his career for the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys.  Nicknamed “Bambi” by his teammates because of his almost effortless moves he was originally drafted by the Oakland Raiders,  who almost immediately traded to the Chargers where he played the majority of his career from 1962 to 1970, often playing quietly through injury including fractures to both of his hands in 1966. He was named an AFL All Star 7 times, and lead the AFL in yardage 3 seasons ( 1966, 1968, and 1969). After the 1970 season he was traded to the Cowboys where he scored the first touchdown in Superbowl VI and afterwards subsequently retired with both an AFL championship ring and a Superbowl ring.

Things have been slightly rough for Alworth. Players of that day and age weren’t paid like they are now, and he had a bad patch there. Since the mid seventies Alworth has opened a series of storage units across California. He’s been also inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame (1977), San Diego Hall of Champions (1972), his number (19) was retired by the Chargers, named to the NFL’s 75th anniversary team, the College Football Hall of Fame (1984), the AFL All-Time Team, the Mississipi Sports Hall of Fame, and finally was named number 31 on the 100 Greatest Football Players of all time list from “The Sporting News”.

 

G 136   Rec 542   Yds 10266    Avg 18.9    Td 85   Lg 85