Category Archives: NFL

McMichael, Steve “Mongo”

Cards: Action Packed 1990, Skybox 1992, Gameday 1991.
Acquired: In Person, CGA Youth Golf Tournament 1993.
See Also: Steve McMichael (2)

Steve McMichael before graduating from the University of Texas set the college’s career records for most tackles (369) and sacks (30)  and was named Hula Bowl MVP in 1979. McMichael was originally drafted by the New England Patriots in 1980 and had a quiet rookie season playing for them that year only getting 5 tackles. By 1981 he was already on the street but quickly picked up by the Chicago Bears, where he’d become a mainstay at defensive tackle (and on occasion NT) in the NFC Central for the next 13 seasons (13 for Chicago and 1 for Green Bay). He’d provide solid work in the trenches as a technically sound run stopper and pass rusher. A two time ProBowl selection in 1987 and 1988, Steve would also be a two time AllPro in 1985 and 1987. He’d also notch over 10 sacks 3 times in his career along the way and played in 191 games for the Chicago Bears. (His 191 games started is a club record for consecutive starts). He’d also finish his career with 3 career safeties and was a key contributor to the Bears solid efforts to win SuperBowl XX, ironically against his ex team the Patriots. McMichael would play one more season across the lake in Green Bay before retiring in 1994.

Steve after football would pursue a career in Pro Wrestling, adopting the name “Mongo” and coming in under the WCW banner. His wife would also get into the act and was a part of wrestling’s early 1990’s attempt to sell sex. Mongo would have a much publicized wrestling career and even took on other former pro football players such as Kevin Greene and Reggie White. His life would begin to match that of the soap opera that was wrestling when his wife (Debra) left him for another wrestler in 1999. He’d leave the sport until 2008 where he refereed a match for TNA wrestling. Since those years Mongo, has done pre-game commentary for Bears games and is coach for the Chicago Slaughter of the Continental Football League. He has also since remarried and was inducted into the College Football HoF in 2010.

I got Steve’s autograph when he was riding around with Earnest Byner during the CGA Youth Golf Tournament in 1993. My strange connection to Mongo is that while I was working at a used video game store, his ex-wife’s best friend was my boss. I’d overhear from time to time my boss talking about taking morning jogs with Debra, and how her new husband sometimes was abusive towards her. It’s sad how that ended up but nonetheless things have worked out for McMichael, the hope is things have worked out for Debra too.

Games  213   Tac  838        Sac 95         FF 13
Int 2         Yds 5            Td 0

Jones, Ed “Too Tall”

Cards: Action Packed 1990, Photo Memorabilia
Acquired: In Person, Lenscrafters appearance 1992.

Back in the heyday of my autograph collecting I’d scour the local Austin paper for football players making appearances. Too Tall and Drew Pearson made one such appearance at a grand opening of a Lenscrafters in Barton Creek Mall back in 1992. Josh and I went there and arrived about 30 minutes early. (It’s too bad that about a 2 hour line had figured this out in front of us.) Ed was cool enough to sign both a card and the photo that the store provided to us (and really it was a duck shoot because all we had to do was wait in line to get it).  The better story was the fact that we hadn’t really been to that mall often enough and got extremely lost for another 2 hours, finally giving up and walking around the perimeter of the indoor mall to leave.

Ed “Too Tall” Jones was the first overall pick of the 1974 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He’d form the foundation of the vaunted Cowboys’ “Doomsday Defense”. At 6″ 9′ Jones’ nickname “Too Tall” was apt even at his defensive end position. Too Tall receives little credit at a sacker, as sacks were not considered an official statistic until 1982.  Jones would be named All Pro from 1981-1983, playing in 3 Superbowls and 15 seasons. He’d retire briefly in 1979 to go into boxing for about a season, but would return in 1980 after posting a 6-1 record. (It was quite a spectacle based on “Too Tall’s” size.) Ed would play for the Cowboys up through 1989, where he’d eventually retire, after Jimmy Johnson‘s first season as coach playing in 223 games. Jones’ impact on the Cowboys was immense, and he is another defensive player who was shortchanged from being in the NFL HoF, probably based on the sheer number of Dallas’ players enshrined, the tracking of sacks as an official statistic, and the overall lack of defensive talent in the hall.

Ed since retiring from football remains active as a guest speaker and firmly embraces his role as a former Cowboys player. “Too Tall” was named into the Van Heusen’s inaugural Pro Football Fan’s Hall of Fame in 2010 and also was named #26 on the Dallas Cowboys all time list.  He plays golf regularly and also has made a few TV appearances, most notably on a Geico commercial spoofing on his own nickname.

Games  223       Tac  N/a         Sac 106        Fum 19
Int 3     Yds 14    Avg 4.3   Td 0

Montoya, Max

Cards: Proset 1990, Action Packed Rookies 1990, Score Supplemental 1990
Acquired: In Person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1991, 1993, 1994

Max Montoya was drafted in the 7th round by the Cincinnati Bengals out of UCLA in 1979. After claiming the starting job he’d start at right guard for the formidable Bengals offensive line in 152 games over the next 11 seasons and 2 Superbowl appearances. Max would also be named to the ProBowl in 1986, 1988, and 1989 before signing with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1990.

Max’s signing with the Raiders was controversial at the time as GM Mike Brown had stated that Montoya had made a commitment not to look elsewhere. He immediately became the highest paid offensive lineman in the history of the Raider franchise. He went to the ProBowl one more time in 1993 before retiring in 1995. Max’s final statistics include starting 203 games over 16 seasons.
Max was always planning for life after football during his playing days. After briefly coaching football, Montoya became a franchisor of Penn Station East Coast Subs and is involved in real estate. He also owns his own Mexican restaurant in northern Kentucky called Montoya’s.
I got Max’s autograph in 1991, 1993 and 1994 at Dallas Cowboys Training Camp. One of my most comically bad moments in autograph collecting history occurred with Max Montoya. As Max passed down the line in what was commonly known as ‘autograph alley’ I was coaching another kid on how to get autographs. Max gave me his autograph but passed by the other kid who kept holding out his card forthe wrong player  (Dallas wide receiver Alexander Wright). I told the kid, “That’s not Max Montoya,” but Alex heard me, and embarrassingly took offense thinking that I was making a racial comment. Ace Wright obviously didn’t want to sign my card- or Max Montoya’s for that matter either.