Category Archives: usfl

Bennett, Ben

Card: ProSet 1991 WLAF Insert
Acquired: 2018, EBay
Failure: TTM 2014, C/o Home 

Ben Bennett was a prolific quarterback for the Duke Blue Devils finishing as one of the top passers in NCAA history, throwing for 9614 yards on 820 completions (1375 attempts) and 55 TDs from 1980 to 1983. 

Selected in the 6th round of the 1984 NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons, but ended up playing in the USFL for the Jacksonville Bulls. Bennett then bounced around camps for the Falcons, Oilers, Cowboys, and Bears, eventually seeing a little action playing for the Bengals in ’87.  He’d join the Arena Football league playing for the Chicago Bruisers in 1988 and 1989, leading the team to the championship in the latter season. After playing for the Dallas Texans in 1990, he was selected by the Sacramento Surge of the WLAF during the first round of the positional draft. 

Ben was expected to be the starter for the Surge, but he’d be supplanted by former KC Chiefs 2nd round pick, Mike Elkins- who took all the snaps after the first game. Bennett returned to the Arena Football League later that year with the Orlando Predators.  Ben at this point became a star for the young league. He’d play for Orlando through 1995, before taking one season pitstops with both the San Jose SabreCats and the Portland Forest Dragons.  Ben is known in Arena lore for the ‘Miracle Minute’ in which he engineered a 16 point comeback in under 1 minute. Ben was inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame in 2000. 

Outside of his impressive Arena Football resume, Ben has been involved as coach for the Milwaukee Mustangs (1998), Greensboro Prowlers (2000), Florida Bobcats (2001), Florida Firecats (2002-2004), Manchester Wolves (2005-2007), Austin Wranglers (2008), Orlando Fantasy LFL (2010), the New Orleans Voodoo (2011), and the Orlando Predators (2012). 

I had previously tried to get Ben way back in 2011, but had no luck. Since then, I’ve seen no successes or addresses for him that I could use, so I went ahead and just picked this autograph up off of EBay after verifying its integrity. 

NFLATTCPDYDSPCTTDINTRAT
0/1522533.3017.6
RUSHYDSAVGTDLG
2178.509
USFLATTCPDYDSPCTTDINTRAT
0/213711353.810142.5
ARENAATTCPDYDSPCTTDINTRAT
192810691416855.426781N/A
RUSHYDSAVGTDLG
11367.609
WLAFATTCPDYDSPCTTDINTRAT
1/02696034.60239.6

Johnson, Mike (LB)

Cards: Score 1990, Fleer Ultra 1991, Action Packed 1990, ProSet 1990, Score 1991
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 10/20   Received: 11/9     (20 days) 

Despite playing alongside future defensive hall of famer Bruce Smith at Virginia Tech, linebacker Mike Johnson ended up in the upstart USFL playing for the Philadelphia Stars (1984) and the Baltimore Stars (1985). NFL teams took notice, and after finishing a stellar career in the USFL, Mike was selected in the USFL player dispersal draft with the 19th pick. Mike joined a host of other USFL castaways (Mack, Minnefield, and McNeil) on the Browns, helping solidify the nucleus of a powerful playoff opponent. 

Johnson was a rare talent. A versatile, durable inside linebacker, who could cover runningbacks and tight ends in the flat in Cleveland’s defensive alignment. Mike earned two Pro Bowl appearances in 1989 and 1990 both as a middle linebacker. During the 1990 season he’d record a 64 yard interception return against the Chargers (Billy Joe Tolliver).  In 7 of his 10 years in the NFL, Mike recorded over 100 tackles, and 6 of those, he’d manage over 130. Johnson’s best season came in 1993 when he pulled down 181 ball carriers. 

In 1994 Mike was allowed to depart for Detroit where he finished his career in 1995. Rejuvenated, he’d start 32 of 32 games and have 250 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, and 3 interceptions for 71 yards and a TD.

Mike Johnson is the Browns 1980s TTM version of Ernest Givins! 

-Deadhorse

A sure friend to the TTM community, Mike’s responses are of legend. He takes the time to respond to letters that ask questions, signs everything and includes extras. I only dropped 4 cards in, but he included an extra two for my trouble, giving me an extra signed ProSet 1990 and including the Fleer Ultra 1991 card. 

I was surprised that I couldn’t find Mike’s Pro Bowl 1990 card, but whatever- I was still happy to get this bevvy of cards signed. Both his Score cards and his ProSet base cards are very nice action images. His Fleer Ultra 1991 leaves a lot to be desired. I really hated this set from a design standpoint. It was just lazy, and his silhouette is partially obscured by a Bills player’s butt. Action Packed took what they could get sometimes, even if the action shot was from behind (as is the case with Johnny Holland and Mark Carrier’s (S) cards- respectively). I wasn’t really a fan of it, but since I had gotten this card in every other pack of Action Packed that I first bought for a while there, it made sense to send one up to see if I could get it autographed.  

USFLTACSACFUMINTYDSAVGTDLG
N/A5.5N/A22914.51N/A
NFLTACSACFUMINTYDSAVGTDNFL
144/125122414.5261321716.6264t

Millard, Bryan

Cards: ProSet 1989, Score Supplemental 1989, ProSet 1990, Topps Stadium Club 1992
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Work
Sent: 5/4   Received: 6/4  (30 days)
Failure: TTM 2017, C/o Home

Bryan Millard is regarded as one of the greatest Seahawks linemen ever, but it took him a while to get there, and still to this day he does not receive the respect and accolades he deserves.  He flies under the radar when it comes to great linemen, and even when retrospect sets come out, like the two University of Texas sets from both Upper Deck and Panini, Millard is conspicuously left out.

Bryan played college ball at the University of Texas from 1979-1982. While playing for the Longhorns, Millard honed his skills at both Guard and Tackle- winning All-SWC recognition for the latter in 1982. Surprisingly, he went undrafted in 1983 by the NFL, but the upstart USFL took a flyer on Bryan in the 12th round with the New Jersey Generals. He’d block upfront for the next two seasons for both Herschel Walker and Maurice Carthon helping pave the way for the Generals vaunted rushing attack.

With the league beginning to implode by 1984, Millard headed to the West Coast and joined the Seattle Seahawks, but did not join the starting lineup until midway through the 1985 season. Bryan saw action at both tackle positions before settling on the right guard spot- a position he’d anchor down for roughly the next 6 seasons. Durable, dependable, and strong (a weightlifting advocate who could bench press some 550 pounds), Millard somehow flew underthe radar while opening up holes for Curt Warner and John L Williams. Most notable about Bryan was that despite his size (6’5″, 282), he was nimble enough to trap on the off-side while also being able to take on the larger bull rushers of the era.  He earned one ProBowl nomination in 1988. Thanks in part to injuries, Bryan was forced to retire after the 1991 season.

Bryan lives in the Austin, Texas area. After dabbling in commercial real estate and pharmaceutical sales, he is now a full time real estate broker. I tried sending a few cards out last year, but they were RTS, so I attempted a new address and struck paydirt. Among Bryan’s other hobbies is actually collecting football cards, however I am not sure if he still partakes in the hobby since it has changed so much over the years from the 5 and dime, stick of gum.