CARDS: Pro Set 1989, Pro Set 1990, Pro Set 1992 ACQUIRED: TTM 2022, C/o Home SENT: 3/22/22 RECEIVED: 4/15/22 (24 DAYS)
Jim Mora played college ball (TE) at Occidental, graduating in 1957.
Went into coaching at his Alma Mater in 1960 as a positional coach, later being promoted to head coach in 1964.
Earned a Master’s in Education in ’67 and promptly moved to Stanford, after compiling an 18-9 record.
After a year with The Cardinal as LB coach, joined the staff at Colorado filling multiple defensive positional coaching assignments, working there through 1973.
Spent a year at UCLA in ’74- then joined Washington’s staff as a DC in 1975.
In 1978, Jim made the jump to the pros, working with the Seattle Seahawks as a defensive line coach through 1981, and then in ’82 with the Patriots in the same capacity.
1983 would be the first of many bellwether years for Mora, as he’d ascend to head coach, taking over for the Philadelphia/ Baltimore Stars in the USFL.
His teams would go 48-13-1, appearing in 3 USFL championship games, winning 2.
In 1985, Mora took over the perennially beleaguered New Orleans Saints, turning the moribund franchise around.
By 1987, he led the Saints to new levels of respectability, posting a 12-3 record and earning the franchise’s first playoff berth.
Team won a franchise best (at the time) 9 games straight.
A 10-6 record in 1988 disappointingly didn’t lead the Saints back to the playoffs, after they lost out on tie breakers to the Los Angeles Rams.
The NFC West was incredibly competitive at the time, and after a 9-7 record in 1989, the Saints again found themselves on the outside looking in.
1990 saw the Saints break through to the playoffs again and the following season, New Orleans won the division outright for the first time in the franchise’s history.
In each post season appearance, the Saints were bounced in the first round of the playoffs.
Mora coached with the Saints through 1996, resigning about midway through a very difficult season.
After a year working as a commentator for NBC, Jim heard the siren’s call to return to coaching, taking over as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 1998.
In 1999, guided the franchise to the largest turnaround in NFL history, going from 3-13 to 13-3.
Refusing to fire some of his staff to appease management, Mora was terminated after the 2001 season.
Mora since that point has become an on air personality for the NFL Network and also did some work in radio as well.
New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame
NFL Coach of the Year 1987
Occidental Athletics Hall of Fame
Jim’s also known for some quality soundbites up there with guys like Bill Parcells. An intense guy. I was sure he’s signed, “Playoffs? Playoffs?”, Too many times to count, so I felt just asking for his autograph on these three cards was a mercy bullet.
I loved Jim’s coaching style. Albeit it was a bit conservative- well really conservative up there with ‘Martyball’, he favored strong running games supported by nasty defenses. He was instrumental in convincing defensive stars to sign with the Saints from the USFL after its dissolution.
When the Texans got rid of Dom Capers, Jim was on my shortlist to replace him alongside Marty at the time, and I wondered why neither was interviewed, because they had a habit of quickly returning and rebuilding teams into a level of unprecedented… respectability. While he didn’t manage to get his NFL teams over the hump, I always felt he was a great sandbox team builder and coach. I would’ve loved to see him come out on top.
Jim has a decent coaching tree that includes branches Dom Capers, Vince Fangio, Bruce Arians, Jim Haslett and his son Jim Mora Jr.
Loved the 1992 card of Jim. Great lighting and profile shot. Takes the cake easy. The TM on the back of the card next to the NFL shield is missing. It’s an UER, and worthless. The ’90 entry had some variants that all based on black or white type for his profile on the back. Also no big deal there.
John Hadl was a local hero to Lawrenceville, Kansas, and he stayed close to home playing offense and defense for the Kansas Jayhawks from 1959-61.
He played multiple positions for the Jayhawks: HB, QB, P, and DB.
He set multiple records at the school and was elected as an NCAA All-American at both HB (’60) and QB (’61).
Hadl was selected by both the Lions of the NFL and the Chargers of the rival AFL in 1962.
John opted to play for the Chargers, and although he contributed to the franchise’s AFL Championship run, he was relegated primarily to splitting time or backing up Tobin Rote.
Took over the reins of the starting QB job in 1965 and led the AFL in passing yards (2798) and yards per attempt (8.0) while posting a 9-2 record.
In 1968, he led the league in a host of categories: Attempts (44), completions (208), yards (3473), TDs (27) and unfortunately interceptions- 32.
1971 saw another solid output for Hadl as he led the league in attempts (431), completions (233), yards (3075), and TDs (21).
After his swan song in 1972 when John led the NFL in interceptions (26) a second time, he’d be traded to the Rams in 1973.
Hadl had an outstanding season with the Rams leading the team to a 12-2 record as a starter, leading the team to the playoffs.
He threw 22 TDs on just 135 attempts, and his receivers went for 14.9 yards after the completion.
After 5 contests in 1974, Hadl was traded again- this time to the Packers.
The trade itself is considered one of the worst in NFL history, as the Pack gave up 5 picks to get him, including first and second round picks for the next two seasons.
Hadl struggled with the Packers mightily posting a 7-12 record over the next season and a half, throwing 15 TDs to 35 interceptions, while be sacked mercilessly 44 times.
In 1976 John joined the Houston Oilers, where he saw mop up duty behind starting QB Dan Pastorini.
Retiring after the 1977 season, John wanted to stay close to the sport.
He worked at his Alma Mater, Kansas from 1978-81 as a QB coach and as offensive coordinator, but was run out of town basically by the NCAA as they felt he was giving ‘improper benefits’ to potential recruits.
John then moved to the Rams in ’82 as an offensive assistant, before tutoring future NFL HOF QB John Elway in 1983 with the Broncos.
At his final stop he coached for the Express from 1984-85, posting a 13-23 record.
College Football Hall of Fame
Pro Bowl 1972-73
AFL All-Star 1964, 1965, 1968, 1969
Chargers Hall of Fame
I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to writing John’s bio, but it could’ve been for two reasons. First, John has a laundry list of accomplishments and accolades. One could even argue that he’s HOF worthy based on his AFL contributions. Second, it was rumored that in his final years, John was really struggling, and that perhaps his autograph was ghost signed. I did kick in 20 bucks to grease the wheels, so the hope is he actually signed these, but they look really.. fluid and not like a struggling octogenarian signed it.
John quickly became a set need based on a variety of factors that did come into play, but most importantly I loved his Topps and Upper Deck entries.
On November 30, 2022, John Hadl passed away at the age of 82. No cause of death was given.
CARD: Pro Set 1991 World League Helmet Insert ACQUIRED: TTM 2021, C/o Home SENT: 11/12 RECEIVED: 11/22 (10 days) FAILURE: TTM 2021, C/o ESPN
Lee Corso was a great athlete and after high school was immediately identified by the Brookyn Dodgers as a baseball prospect to play short stop.
Opted to go to college instead at Florida State, where he played both defensive back and quarterback in college from 1953-1957.
Possessing great speed and anticipation, Corso set the school’s career interception record at the time with 14.
Although he had a successful college career, he was not selected in the NFL draft.
Went into coaching at the college ranks almost immediately, spending time at Maryland (1959-65) and Navy (1966-68) as a positional coach.
From there in 1969 Corso served as head coach of Louisville through 1972.
He’s perhaps most iconically known as head coach of Indiana, a role he served in from 1973-82.
Led the Hoosiers to two winning seasons, including an upset victory over the Brigham Young Cougars in the Holiday Bowl.
Finished 41-68-2 at Indiana.
Spent one year at Northern Illinois University going 4-6-1.
College coaching record is 73-85-6.
Head coach of the USFL Orlando Renegades in 1985, where he went 5-13.
Lee then joined the WLAF where he served as general manager of the Orlando Thunder for the 1991 season.
He was very excited to be a part of the venture, but due to ongoing commitments to ESPN, probably couldn’t return to the squad for their 1992 campaign.
Has been an analyst since 1987 for ESPN.
Lee Corso to me, is like the Dick Vitale of college football. He’s beloved by all and everybody loves his quips and antics. I tried him first via ESPN, but after that latest (and multiple other) failure(s), I think the door on TTM through the network is now closed. He has very few cards. I think he had a Press Pass Legends or something like that. -I think I flushed that on the first attempt that failed.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.