Category Archives: NFLE

Hollings, Tony ‘Superman’

poff03-tohollingsCard: Playoff Contenders 2003
Acquired: 2016, EBay

Tony Hollings’ career has experienced some peaks and valleys.  He arrived at Georgia Tech as a defensive back in 2000.  Needing a runningback, the Yellowjackets converted Hollings over to the offense.  In only 4 games he displayed electrifying Heisman potential, running 92 times for 633 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’d suffer a season ending ACL injury against BYU. Hollings declared for the Supplemental NFL draft in 2003. The Texans fell in love with him and coughed up a 2004 2nd round pick.

The Texans were looking to improve their offensive skillset. With James Allen and Jonathan Wells in the backfield, the braintrust that was in Houston expected Hollings to be the home run hitter that they desperately needed.

This has been a hallmark of the franchise, and over time has cropped up time and time again. The Texans have always felt they have been a player away, and they reach for talent whether through the draft (Hollings) or through Free Agency (Ex. Ed Reed, Ahman Green, Eric Moulds, and Brock Osweiler).

What the Texans really didn’t see was that Tony had lost the burst to the ACL injury that just made him so electrifying. Snakebitten, Hollings also experienced knee and toe injuries that limited his production. The first game he played in was the first game I went to- the Texans home opener against the Chiefs. He finished
2003 with a woeful 102 yards on 38 carries. He’d follow that up with an equally disappointing 2004 with a stat line of 47 yards on 11 carries.  A change of management in 2005 signaled the end for Hollings. He’d dress for 2 games before being shelved indefinitely and never see the field again for the Texans.

After getting nibbles from both the Bears and Colts respectively, Tony reappeared on the football radar in 2007, running hard for the Hamburg Sea Devils of the NFLE.  There he experienced a renaissance of a sense, collecting 100 carries for 389 yards and 5 touchdowns.  After the NFLE was folded, Tony’s effort earned him some NFL time briefly on the roster of the New York Jets in 2008.  Tony closed out his career in the German Football League playing for the Berlin Adler in 2009.

A frequent tailgater at Georgia Tech events, at last glance Tony lives in Georgia and works for a distribution company.  I liked Hollings and hoped that his career might work out in some way. I might try to get him on a WLAF custom at a later date.

Playoff made some nice cards, and this 2003 entry was endemic of design during the time. Everything was really bold going into the 2000s. With that giant ROOKIE pasted 3 times in the background, it sure does grab my attention, but this to me is a card that sells itself well but does not finish. I really wish that they had used the rest of the right side of the card. It feels so blank out there, and the ticket just blends in black with the steel blue which doesn’t help. The artifact from the certification stamp makes the card look like it is damaged, but among the plethora of ugly cards that were still being pumped out at that particular time, there were much worse designed cards to choose from.

NFL   G/GS  23/1      RUSH 49    YDS 149    AVG 3.0    TD 0    LG 17     |
REC 7    YDS   71    AVG 10.1   TD 0    LG  27

NFLE     RUSH 100     YDS 389       AVG 3.9     TD   5        LG  40      |
REC  8        YDS    94    AVG   11.8     TD  0    LG   39

Taylor, Lionel

Card: Upper Deck Legends 1997
Acquired: TTM 2014, C/o Home
Sent: 6/4/14  Received: 8/13/16  (801 days)

Lionel Taylor had an amazing career that began in 1959 playing for the Chicago Bears.  He didn’t record a reception for the team during his rookie year and opted to join the upstart American Football League during its inaugural season in 1960 for the Denver Broncos. Taylor went on to endear himself as one of the most dominant receivers in the history of the league, leading the AFL in receptions 5 of the next 6 years.  In 1961 he set a modern era record with 100 receptions (which was broken in 1964 by Charlie Hennigan at 101). He played for the Broncos through 1966- joining the Oilers for the 1967 and 1968 seasons.  Lionel retired from the gridiron in 1969.

Taylor established himself quickly as an up and coming assistant coach with the Steelers as a receivers coach in 1970.  He’d remain there through 1976, cultivating a reputation as a Super Bowl winning positional coach.  He joined the Rams from 1977-1979, where he was offensive coordinator in 1980 and 1981.  Lionel then applied his trade at the college level for Oregon State, and then as head coach at Texas Southern through 1988.  Returning to the NFL in 1989, Taylor worked with the Cleveland Browns tight ends and as a pass coordinator.

Taylor joined the World League of American Football in 1995 as offensive coordinator to the London Monarchs. As the league rebranded to the NFLE, he’d take over as head coach of the franchise in 1996 and shepherd the franchise through to become the England Monarchs. It was a tough run for Taylor as head coach at the end, as his team was a vagabond franchise playing all over England looking for a new home. Since there was no established fan base, this gave the Monarchs no home field advantage.  The Monarchs finished with a 3-7 record during their swan song season.

Taylor has fully retired from the sport and lives in New Mexico.  At a clip over 800 days, I had fully given up on getting a response from Lionel, so this one came as quite a surprise to get back. It’s a shame, as with many American Football League players, Lionel has gotten little to no traction in Hall of Fame circles, despite his impressive numbers.

AFL
G/GS 121/NA      REC 567     YDS  7195    AVG 12.7   TD 45    LG  80T

NFLE
W  11     L 17       PCT .393

Maehl, Jeff

sage11-jmaehlCard: Sage Hit 2011 (203/250)
Acquired: 2016, EBay

Jeff Maehl was a standout receiver in Chip Kelly’s explosive offense while at Oregon. The former Duck scored 23 TDs on 178 receptions over his college career, averaging roughly 13 yards a catch. While Jeff was a standout at the combine on cone and shuffle drills, he clocked a pedestrian 4.62 40. Jeff went undrafted in the NFL, but was offered a contract with the UFL Virginia Destroyers. He opted to wait until the 2011 strike was over, and found a home with the Houston Texans as a member of the team’s practice squad where he’d remain on and off for the next season.

In 2013, Jeff was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, reuniting him with former college head coach Chip Kelly.  He saw limited time on the field recording 9 catches for 67 yards and a TD, as a pet project of the coaching staff who liked him over Riley Cooper.  Maehl also saw time on special teams. Late in the season, Jeff sustained a concussion, which delayed his return to the field.  He’d have another 5 catches in 2014,  while he bode his time in the Eagles receiving corps. Oddly, in 2015 Jeff was cut with an undisclosed injury settlement.

G/GS   27/0        REC  9        YDS  113       AVG 12.6     TD  1        LG   37