Category Archives: ufl

Zolak, Scott

Card: StarPics 1991
Acquired: TTM 1993, Patriots Blitz

Scott Zolak is another in a long line of fine Maryland Terps quarterbacks. The school has an absolute knack for locating and putting the best talent on the field at that position. Neil O’Donnell, Stan Gelbaugh, Boomer Esiason, Frank Reich, Shaun Hill, and Mike Tice, are among some of the names over the last 30 years who have played at the pro level in some capacity after graduating from the school. Zolak was no exception. In the 4th round of the 1991 draft, the New England Patriots rolled the dice on the young quarterback while they injected new blood into the aging position. He didn’t take the field that year at all, sitting at #3 behind Hugh Millen and Tom Hodson, but 1992 would prove to be a different story and thus he’d enter into New England lore forever for his actions. After Millen went down and Hodson was inneffective, Zolak would lead the winless team on a two game winning streak- playing respectably in 3 contests before Millen returned to finish out the season. In 1993, Drew Bledsoe would be drafted and another purge would happen at quarterback. Zolak, would survive the purge and remain on the team’s roster through 1998 playing sparingly and slowly moved up the depth chart to #2 behind Bledsoe. He’d also be on the roster through three coaching regimes (Dick MacPherson, Bill Parcells, and the shortlived Pete Carroll era), seeing life on the Patriots from an interesting perspective.

Zolak after 1998 would bounce around. He’d be cut out of Jets training camp and head over to the Dolphins for two unremarkable seasons and then try out for the Detroit Lions, but later opted instead to go up to the booth to become a color commentator. Scott has embraced his life as a sports personality head on and continues to do radio commentary for games and was recently picked up by the fledgling United Football League to do color commentary on the New England Sports Network for the Hartford Colonials games.

G/Gs  55/7   Att 248  Comp 124    Yds 1314   Pct 50%   Td 8    Int 7      Rat   64.8

Schottenheimer, Marty

Card: Proset 1990
Acquired: TTM 1994, C/o The Kansas City Chiefs

Linebacker Marty Schottenheimer was selected in by both the AFL (Buffalo, 7th round) and NFL (Baltimore, 5th round) of their respective 1965 drafts out of the University of Pittsburgh. He spent 4 seasons on the Bills roster (where it was comically shown on the retrospective “Full Color Football” that Schottenheimer’s name was so long on his jersey the type ran off the name plate and onto his right shoulder). He’d earn All Star honors in 1965, and be traded in 1971 to the Pittsburgh Steelers and again to the Boston Patriots before retiring.

Schottenheimer went into coaching in 1974 and worked for the Portland Storm in the World Football League as a linebackers coach, but before you knew it, less than 10 years after he got drafted by the Bills, Schottenheimer was coaching linebackers for the Giants in 1975. He’d then coach for the Lions on another 2 year stint, before catching on in 1980 with the Cleveland Browns as defensive coordinator where he established a smash mouth defense. In 1984, he’d get his chance as head coach, when Sam Rutigliano was fired midway through the season. He’d then be the face of the Browns for the next 4 seasons through 1988. The Browns would experience their last consistent slate of respect and success during the Schottenheimer era. He’d also establish what is commonly referred to as ‘Marty Ball’ and the team would lose two heartbreaking games in the playoffs, known as ‘The Drive’ and ‘the Fumble’. With the reemergence of the Oilers in 1988 as playoff contenders, The Browns would host them in the first round of the playoffs. Although favored to win, the Browns lost by a point. After the season was over Marty was fired, which angered many fans. His legacy with the team over 4 seasons was a large one as he finished with a 44-27 record and a 2-4 mark in the playoffs. The Browns alsobadvanced to the deepest levels of the NFL playoffs since before the AFL merger.

Schottenheimer wouldn’t be on the market for long. He’d head over to the Kansas City Chiefs to coach there for the next 10 seasons turning the team around from a laughing stock to playoff contender in 2 seasons. He’d win over 100 games with the franchise and the Chiefs would make the AFC Championship game in 1993. In addition they won the division 3 times and made 7 playoff appearances in those 10 seasons. He quit after a disappointing 1998 season. Marty served as an analyst for ESPN for a season or two, and then was hired to be coach of the Washington Redskins in 2001.

Sights were high for the capital city after Schottenheimer came to town that year and the media circus quickly circled Marty. With Deion Sanders ducking out the back door and quickly announcing his retirement to get away from Marty, controversy erupted. Schottenheimer installed his brand of Martyball and the team was off to a slow start out of the gate losing its first 5 games. The media portrayed Marty as being outdated and out of touch with the current league, both with players and in offensive philosophy. The Redskins would respond by winning their next 5 games- (a first in NFL history) and narrowly missed the playoffs at 8-8 . In fighting between Schottenheimer and owner Daniel Snyder, as Marty wanted more control of the franchise.  He was unceremoniously dismissed after one season.

Marty was quickly named coach of the San Diego Chargers, where he’d guide the team to two playoff appearances and named coach of the year in 2004. Despite posting a 14-2 record in the latter season he was fired. -The first coach to be fired after securing the home field advantage through the playoffs. The reason for his dumping ranged from the fact that he had a 0-2 playoff record with San Diego, to charges of nepotism as he brought on more of his family on board as coaches. A public fight between the Chargers and Deion Sanders didn’t help either, when Sanders announced his ‘unretirement’ to come back to the league to play for the cross state Raiders, Schottenheimer quickly nabbed his rights before the Raiders. Sanders tore the team for its archaic practices and swore never to play for the team. In the end, the Bolts continued to hold Sanders’ rights throughout the season. Anyway regardless of it all, Schottenheimer was fired in what was considered without cause and still collected his salary for the next season, which damned the franchise even more.

Marty has been since rehired to be an analyst by ESPN where he does an excellent job. After the Jets victory in the 2009 playoffs last season over heavily favored San Diego Chargers, coached by Marty’s replacement, he received a game ball in the mail from the team. His son coaches for the Jets and Rex Ryan felt his firing was an injustice to the game.

Schottenheimer’s greatest legacy besides the sheer number of victories is the impact of his coaching tree. A Lou Saban apostle, Schottenheimer has many notable coaches that have been under his wing including: Marvin Lewis, Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy.   To this date, Marty Schottenheimer is the winningest coach in the NFL not to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with 14 winning seasons in a 21 year career.

I really lobbied hard and hoped the Texans would hire Schottenheimer after they released Dom Capers but have been pleasantly surprised with Kubiak in the meantime. I got Marty’s autograph after the 1992 season in a few week’s time. Marty does want to return to coaching and was rumored to have been in line for the Buffalo Bills job in 2010, but the team went in a different direction.

Update- In 2011, Marty Schottenheimer created quite a buzz when he signed to coach with the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL. He won the UFL championship later that year before the league was reorganized.

Games 327     Wins 200     Losses 126     Ties  1       Pct .613%

Flutie, Doug

Cards: All World CFL 1991, Score 1989
Acquired: TTM C/o CFL

Doug Flutie is a player who has seemed to have an amazing amount of luck and heart follow him to every stop along the way in football. A heartwarming story, Flutie was considered well undersized to be a quarterback in the NFL after a storied career at Boston College where he threw a hail mary against the University of Miami in 1984 and won the Heisman Trophy that year.

Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 11th round of the NFL draft, Flutie opted to sign on with the USFL’s New Jersey Generals. In 1986 he signed with the Chicago Bears and then was on board with the Patriots, where got the starting duty in 1988. Unable to keep the starting job he was cut in 1990 where he signed with the British Columbia Lions of the CFL in 1990. The wide open fields of the CFL allowed Flutie to flourish and polish his game. Doug was a quarterback who kept teams honest with his feet and was an avid scrambler. Flutie became the ‘Michael Jordan’ of the CFL, setting the record for yards in a season with 6619 yards, touchdowns with 48, and was named the most outstanding player of the CFL a record 6 times.  Doug won the Grey Cup MVP with the Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts (twice and back to back). Returning with a vengeance to the NFL in 1998 to the Buffalo Bills, he was named comeback player of the year and took the team to the playoffs and named to the Pro Bowl, but Doug didn’t ever win the respect of management, as he was replaced by de facto starter Rob Johnson, who had returned from a season long injury. The quarterback controversy continued well into 1999, where Doug went 4-1 and Johnson went 4-7. In 2000, Doug was unceremoniously cut by the Bills and signed with the Chargers in 2001, who were reeling from the Ryan Leaf days. He would stay on board to tutor a young Drew Brees when he was drafted in 2002 and played sparingly for the team through 2005. With gas still in the tank, Flutie signed with the New England Patriots in 2005 to back up Tom Brady and retired at the beginning of the 2006 preseason.

Flutie has a variety of age related records to his accomplishment, and was the first player to drop kick an extra point since 1941. Although Doug did not find lasting success in the NFL, he has been enshrined into the CFL HoF, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, and the College Football Hall of Fame. He stays active playing basketball, and sponsors his own brand of breakfast cereal “Flutie Flakes” with the proceeds going to charities dealing in autism. Doug also plays drums for his family’s band, the “Flutie Brothers Band”.  Doug is an excellent commentator and also handled  color commentary for the United Football League games.

Games 136    Att 4854       Comp 2975        Pct 61.3         Yds 41355              Td  270         Int 155    Lg 106t