Category Archives: usfl

Polian, Bill

Cards: Topps AAF 2019 Custom, Panini 2016 HOF
Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o Home
Sent: 11/2 Received: 11/12 (10 days)

Bill Polian has a long and storied career as a football executive that spans across 4 leagues: The NFL, CFL, USFL, and the AAF.

After graduating from NYU in 1964, Polian began his careeer as a scout for the Chiefs in 1978. He also spent time with the Blue Bombers and Alouettes in the CFL as well working his way up to Personnel Director. A one year stint in the USFL Chicago Blitz in 1984, led Polian back to the NFL. He’d then begin a long and storied career with the Buffalo Bills later that year as the Pro Personnel Director. He’d help transform the Bills into an NFL powerhouse laying the foundation for the franchise to appear in 3 consecutive Super Bowls. He was released by the team after they lost their 3rd Super Bowl in 92.

A 3 year hiatus saw Polian return to the NFL with a vengeance as GM of the expansion Carolina Panthers. He was able to assemble enough talent that the franchise posted a expansion record 7 wins in 1995, and an even more impressive 12 wins in 1996. After a down year in 97, Bill joined the Indianapolis Colts as General Manager.

His first move was a no brainer: Selecting Peyton Manning with the first overall pick of the 1998 NFL Draft. Later he’d hire Tony Dungy to coach the franchise, and the rest is history. After the reorganization of the divisions in 2002, the Colts would dominate the South- winning 7 divisional titles under his watch. Indianapolis appeared in two Superbowls winning XLI. He’d not be retained after the 2011 season.

In the meantime he began to roll in the accolades, being inducted into the Buffalo Wall of Fame in 2012, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015, and the Colts Ring of Honor in 2017.

Bill felt the siren’s lure and resurfaced again in 2018, where he signed up to be Head of Football of the upstart Alliance of American Football, co founding it alongside Charlie Ebersol. The league was able to pull off 8 weeks of football before it collapsed due to financial strain. Bill Polian was greatly disappointed in the failure of the AAF and in chief financial cow Tom Dundon who pulled the plug.

I wrote to Bill after creating a dead on custom of the Topps AAF certified card. Thanks to COVID I had to find a new custom printer. The card quality was outstanding, but I didn’t prep the high gloss card, so the autograph didn’t stick properly to the card. He also signed this Panini HOF card for me as well.

Sanders, Ricky

Cards: ProSet 1989, Action Packed 1990
Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Home
Sent: 3/20 Received: 12/14 (269 days)
Failure: TTM 2012, C/o home

Wow! What a rare grab in former USFL and Skins receiver Ricky Sanders! I had most fondly remembered him of course as a member of the Smurfs or the Fun Bunch as he and the WR corps of the Redskins were called at the time. There was also his heroics in Super Bowl XXIII and also in the Tecmo Bowl series where he was elusive and electric as well. Ricky also had some great cards along the way, and I hoped eventually one day I’d get them signed.

A local sports star hailing from Belton, Tx- a straight shot up I-35 halfway between Austin and Waco, Ricky Sanders played collegially at SW Texas State. The Bobcats were located out of San Marcos, Tx- halfway between Austin and San Antonio on I-35. At 5’11”, 182, hailing from a tiny school, Ricky stood ZERO chance of getting on the NFL’s radar, but lucky for Sanders, the USFL was waiting.

He’d sign with the Houston Gamblers in 1984. With a Run N Shoot offense with Jim Kelly at QB, Ricky had an incredible year in his rookie season, posting 101 catches for 1378 yards and 11 TDs, including a career long 77 yard TD. After the USFL folded in 1986, Ricky found himself a home with the Washington Redskins. With the Redskins, he’d pair up with Art Monk and Gary Clark to form one of the most devastating trios in the NFL. Ricky posted back to back 1,000 yard seasons in 1988 and 1989, and scored a career high 12 TD catches as well in 88. Sanders played with the Redskins through 1993, and concluded his career on in 1995 with the Atlanta Falcons.

USFL GRECYDSAVGTDLG
28/21149191612.91877t
NFL GRECYDSAVGTDLG
134/66483647713.43771

Rozier, Mike (2)

Cards: Score 1990, Action Packed 1990, Upper Deck Legends 1997, Panini Contenders 2018
Acquired: 2012 Akron Acquisition, TTM 2019, C/o Home
Sent: 1/15/19 Received: 1/22/19 (7 days)
See Also: Mike Rozier

Slowly I had been working my way back around to Mike after about a 9 year layoff or so. I had been sold the Score 1990 card as part of a big lot of cards from the Akron Acquisition- so I needed a few more to fill out the ranks. Mike is another one of these players I didn’t want to see in his other NFL uniform (Falcons in this case). He still had some great Oilers cards I wanted to get signed- and once I got the Upper Deck 1997 card -in 2018, I made the decision to write him again. To seal the deal I also pulled this Panini Contenders card of him and put it aside for send out since I’ve gotten a few autographs recently around that set.

High grades for his Legends card from Upper Deck. Love the sports photography and how its got that nice action blur in the background. Far too often I’ve noticed photos where the people in the background are clear as day and distract from the player. In this case- this photo feels like a training or mini camp shot. I think the bushy trees give it away. Still, it’s a nice piece.

Mike’s Action Packed 1990 card is okay. I think it’s typical of AP at that time with that distance of framing images, but in this case, I feel like the image should’ve been pulled back a bit. Was Mike diving for a TD? Reaching out from a pile? Struggling to get back to the line of scrimmage? The design like all AP from 90 was simple and elegant however.

The Score 1990 set was a letdown from 89. I mean nothing could top what they did in that first set. The design here is nice, but the bordering with the logo is a bit heavy. The neon green marquee feels a bit unnecessary and forced. I kept wondering, “What does purple have to do with the Oilers?” It’s a decent action shot but I question Mike’s sense of dress as his thermal shirt sleeves are quite dated.

No question the Panini Contenders Draft Picks set has grown on me over the last… year or so. While I find it a bit over designed it’s a set that has a good selection of names in it. This shot however of Mike is terrible. He just looks like he’s jogging off the field to the sidelines.