Category Archives: Super Bowl MVP

Williams, Doug

sco89 dwilliamsCard: Score 1989
Acquired: Trade 2013
Failure: TTM 2010, C/o The Buccaneers

One of the first Super Bowls I vividly remember watching was Super Bowl XXII between the Denver Broncos and the Washington Redskins. After spotting John Elway and the Broncos 10 points, Doug Williams came onto the field and guided the Redskins to 42 unanswered points. It was the first time a black quarterback had started in the Super Bowl, -and people were making a big deal about it, but as a kid this didn’t really seem to be the biggest storyline. The best thing to me about the game was Williams’ receivers, Clark, Monk, and Sanders who had really great celebrations. I wasn’t really aware of what Williams had been through to that point to get him to the Super Bowl, little less win and become its MVP. Really it’s pretty legendary.

Well, Doug Williams’ career started way, way back in 1978 when he was drafted out of Grambling State by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he was under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Joe Gibbs for that one season. Although his numbers were pretty atrocious, especially his completion percentage early on, Doug showed marked improvement every season from 37.6 in 1978, to 53.2 in 1982. As the team progressed into the playoffs for the first two times in the team’s history, Williams got embroiled in a contract dispute with owner Hugh Culverhouse after the 1982 season.  Unable to reach terms with the Bucs, Doug bolted for the upstart USFL in 1983. Some would say that the Buccaneers were cursed after Williams left, as they slipped into the doldrums of the NFC Central where they’d languish for nearly 15 years going through a revolving door of quarterbacks (13) that included names such as Steve DeBerg, Vinny Testaverde, Craig Erickson, Chris Chandler, Steve Young, and Trent Dilfer, before they got it right and then later won the Super Bowl in 2001. (Note that both Young and Dilfer also won the Super Bowl after leaving Tampa, and Young was also MVP. Ironically Chandler and DeBerg showed up on the same team but did not win for the Falcons.)

Doug was selected by the Oklahoma Outlaws. He then moved on to play for Arizona when it merged with Oklahoma as the USFL began imploding the next season.  The team didn’t make the playoffs either season, and Williams’ penchant for being an inconsistent passer began to take hold in the media once again. He finished his career in the USFL and it appeared that Williams career was at a standstill as a starter, but an old friend had a roster spot for him on the Washington Redskins- Joe Gibbs.

With Joe Theismann’s career winding down in Washington, the Redskins needed new blood behind Jay Schroeder at quarterback. Familiar with Doug all the way back from his brief stay in Tampa, Gibbs nabbed Williams off the street in 1986. While Doug didn’t really see any playing time that season, it’d be in 1987 that he’d cement his legacy as a historical quarterback of the modern era. Taking over for the injured Schroeder that season, Williams commanded the team and the offense with 11 touchdowns to only 5 picks. He’d also set a then NFL record with the most yards passing in the Redskins’ Super Bowl victory over the Broncos, a game that he won MVP honors for. With Schroeder leaving the Redskins the following season for the Raiders, Doug took over as uncontested starter for the Redskins, but unfortunately Doug could not stay injury free. Instead, he became backup to the next quarterback to win a Super Bowl for the Redskins, Mark Rypien. He retired after the 1989 season, due to lingering back issues. Despite his limited playing time for the Redskins, and 5-9 starting record, Doug is considered legendary by many of the Washington faithful. He was inducted into the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame, and was named one of the team’s 80 greatest players.

Williams jumped into coaching and front office roles with equal vigor, enjoying stops at the US Naval Academy (1994), Scottish Claymores (1995), Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-1996), Morehouse College (1997), Grambling (1998-2003), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2004-2010), Virginia Destroyers (2010-2011), and then returned to become head coach at Grambling where he has remained through 2012.  It’s very easy to say that Williams legacy as the first black starting quarterback in the modern era cemented leadership roles for future players such as Warren Moon and Randall Cunningham and on into the modern era of quarterbacks today.

G/Gs 88/81   Att 2501     Comp 1240    Yds 16998     Pct 49.5      Td  100    Int 93     Rat 69.4  |
Rush 220     Yds 884      Avg  4.0       Td  15    Lg 29

 

 

Simms, Phil

sco90 simms HGCards: Pinnacle 1992, Score 1990 Hot Gun, 1990 Pro Set SuperBowl XXI MVP, Action Packed Rookies 1992
Acquired: 2012 & 2013, Canton Acquisition & TTM C/o Home
Sent: 4/5/2012     Received: 7/20/2013   (470 days)
Failure: 2011, C/o Home (RTS)

So here is one I totally wrote off. It seems rarer and rarer to get these long waits back, but finally on the second tenacious attempt, I got Phil Simms. Simms had previously returned cards I sent in 2011, -7 months later.  Even more frustrating for me, he continued to spontaneously respond to autograph requests through his address. I went ahead and fired out another shot. I had definitely given up on this after the one year marker, and became so sore about it, that I was more than happy to acquire a Simms through the ‘Canton Acquisition’. Recently again Phil had shown up on the autograph blotter, so I held out hope that something was going to happen, and lo and behold the Score, Pro Set, and Action Packed cards all came in the mail autographed at last, – a brisk 470 days after I had sent them.

aprks92 simmsSimms went to little known Morehead State- a school known more for its modest affordability, underrated class sizes, and a radio telescope/space tracking system that reaches the stars. Phil grew up in the Kentucky area, so this made perfect sense to him to attend here. Among his highlights for the college were leading the Ohio Valley Conference in passing in 1977, but as the team transitioned to a ball control offense his senior season, Phil’s numbers sunk. He had an impressive workout at the combine, so much so that the 49ers were planning to sneak him in as a 3rd round pick, -but in the end, they were beaten to the punch by the Giants, who invested a 1st rounder into Simms, calling him a ‘value pick’. As the boos reigned down from the audience who hated the pick, Simms wasn’t too happy about playing for New York either. Still, Simms managed to prove everybody wrong, and by the end of his rookie season, he finished second (to future teammate) Ottis Anderson in voting for rookie of the year in 1979. In 12 starts his rookie year, Phil threw for 1,743 yards and 13 touchdowns.

pset90 simms MVP

 

The Giants continued to struggle until 1984, with injuries, inconsistent play, quarterback controversies, and a head coaching change to Bill Parcells, but still Phil persevered, with a bit of work, conditioning, and tutelage. He’d turn it all around that year throwing for a club record 4,044 yards and 22 TDs in his first 16 game slate, then turn around prove it wasn’t a fluke throwing for 3,829 yards and 22 TD in 1985. 1986 proved to be the pinnacle of Phil’s career again with another 20+ TD season and nearly 3,500 yards, he led the Giants to victory in Super Bowl XXI. His Super Bowl effort (22-25, 268 yards, 3 TD, 0 Int) earned him MVP honors and it remains one of the best performances in league history.

He’d return to the Super Bowl again in 1990- Superbowl XXV, but due to a season ending injury earlier in the year, he sat on the sidelines while the team won 20-19. There were two bittersweet points to the season. First, before the injury, Phil was having one the best seasons of his career with 15 touchdowns and only 4 picks. Second and finally, his injury opened the door for Jeff Hostetler, who created a QB controversy, that was only amplified by the Giants victory in the big game. The latter proved to be his ultimate undoing. With Parcells retirement, Ray Handley- (his right hand man) stepped up to the plate to be coach. He named Hostetler starter, and Simms was back to square 1 fighting for his job. While there were some bright spots there, the team itself slipped into mediocrity. Simms still had one good season left in him though, and threw for 3,038 yards and 15 TDs, before retiring in 1994.

pin94 simmsSimms is a highly underrated quarterback who really has never gotten his due for his time playing for the Big Blue. He played 14 seasons, spanning 3 decades of football, and really  after the game slowed down for him, was an understated reason why the Giants became true contenders. A master of the audible, Simms could pick teams apart with his recognition of defensive alignments. A true pocket passer, Simms was oft-injured and frequently criticized for taking needless sacks to avoid an interception, but you can’t deny his abilities as a winner (95 wins) and playoff leader (Super Bowl MVP). Phil also was the 1985 Pro Bowl MVP, has had his number retired by the Giants, and is a member of the team’s Ring of Honor.  It really is an injustice that Simms is not in the Hall of Fame.

Phil has enjoyed a career as a color commentator in sports and NFL football. Well respected by most of the networks, Simms made the transition from a player to a broadcaster seem effortless. His sons, Chris (UT) and Matthew have both gone on to play quarterback in the NFL. He is also of a select group of players who show up in the original Tecmo Bowl and its sequel Tecmo Super Bowl.

G/Gs 164/159    Att 4647     Comp  2576     Yds 33462    Pct 55.4     Td 199    Int  157    Rat 78.5  |
Rush 349    Yds 1252     Avg  3.6    Td 6      Lg 28

Howard, Desmond

Card: Classic 1992
Acquired: TTM 2012, C/o ESPN*
Sent: 8/7    Received: 9/8  (32 days)
*postmarked from FL

I originally had Desmond Howard penciled in for the start of the year in my initial January send out, but for some reason kept kicking that can further down the road. I’m really glad I finally got him, as I’m sure the acclaimed athlete will soon be overwhelmed with requests. Going to Michigan in 1989, Howard switched from tailback to wide receiver for the Wolverines. From there he’d go on to rewrite the record books for much of the school when it came to receiving records (12) and NCAA records (5). After a breakout 1990, with 63 receptions,1025 yards, and 11 TDs receiving, Desmond ran away with the Heisman in 1991 posting 19 touchdowns receiving on 62 catches.  Howard could not be stopped as a receiver or returner, and  he was so confident that he’d win the award, that after burning rival Ohio State in a game, he struck a Heisman pose. (Desmond at this time still holds the record for the largest margin of victory in Heisman voting, nabbing about 85% of the vote in 1991 for the award.)

Before the 1992 draft, Desmond was being touted as the next Rocket Ismail with electric speed that amazed and wowed fans. The Redskins after they won the 1991 SuperBowl traded up and picked Howard with the 4th overall pick. With a fleet set of receivers already that were seeing a bit of wear and tear (Monk, Clark, and Sanders,) the Redskins wanted Howard to be the lead receiver of the next generation of Skins receivers- but instead he was stuck on return duties. Desmond in 1994 recorded career highs in receptions (40), yards (727), and TDs (5), however with the emergence of Brian Mitchell, Howard had generally seen his playing time shrink as a return man. Usually this is a good thing for a receiver, but in Desmond’s case he found himself dangled out by the Redskins as part of the 1995 NFL Expansion Draft.

Taken with the 55th pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Howard was sparsely used by the Jaguars on offense and special teams. Essentially fans thought he was washed up, but just as everybody gave up Howard, Desmond obviously had something left in him. Nobody really even blinked an eye when Desmond was signed via free agency by the Packers, who were looking for an extra spark in the return game. Howard displayed his signature abilities at returning, and destroyed special teams’ units single-handedly setting the NFL record for most punt return yards in a season with 875, and recorded 3 touchdowns.  At the conclusion of the season, Desmond won the Super Bowl XXXI MVP honors, with a 99 yard touchdown return, and 244 total yards from scrimmage against the New England Patriots.  Howard got snapped up by the Raiders after the season, and had a solid outing as a returner for the team leading the league with 1381 yards on 61 return in 1997.  He also had a stellar 541 yards and 2 TDs punt returning in 1998 but he snubbed on Pro Bowl voting.  Desmond was content to return to the Packers for a second stint in 1999, but found himself surprisingly traded to the Lions midway through 2000. It turned out to be a blessing as Howard reached the ProBowl for the first time in his career, after recording a 14.7 average on PR and 24.6 on KR. With injuries and age finally catching up with him in 2002, Howard decided to hang up his cleats after the season after establishing himself as one of the most explosive punt return men in league history.

Desmond has gone into broadcasting where he has garnered quite a positive reputation as a public speaker and college football analyst,  currently appearing on ESPN. In 2011 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and has appeared on the cover of NCAA Football 06 in his signature Heisman pose.

G/Gs    156/29        Rec 123           Yds  1597         Avg   13.0         Td  7              Lg 81t      |
Kr  359           Yds  7959      Avg  22.2    Td 0        Lg  91
Pr  244           Yds  2895      Avg  11.8     Td  8       Lg  95t