Hairston, Carl ‘Big Daddy’

Cards: ProSet 1991 Legends, Score Supplemental 1989
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 10/20   Received: 10/27   (7 days)

During the Jurassic Period of football, there were some absolute beasts of defenders that took the league by storm in the 70s. One of them was Carl Hairston, a little known defensive lineman prospect out of UMES or (University of Maryland Eastern Shore). He played on some terrible teams during college, which allowed him to really hone his game. Hairston was named to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team 3 times. In his final year with the team, he posted 147 tackles and 15 sacks, good enough to get noticed by the Philadelphia Eagles, who selected Carl in the 7th round of the 1976 draft. 

He’d make the squad and in fact lead the NFL in sacks in 1979 (unofficially) with 15. Then in 1980, he’d help champion the defense that got the Eagles to Super Bowl XV.  Injuries began to slow Hairston down in 1983, and soon thereafter he’d be traded to the Cleveland Browns, where he’d be a mainstay on the line until 1989. He’d finish his career in Phoenix the following season. 

Carl has an extensive coaching resume at the Pro level, and has seen stops in the NFL (Phoenix, KC, St Louis, and Green Bay), UFL (Florida, Omaha), and CFL (British Columbia). He earned a Super Bowl ring as the defensive line coach for the St. Louis Rams (Super Bowl XXXIV). 

Carl is another one of these players who should probably be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A dominant lineman during his time, unofficially he has 1,141 tackles and 94 sacks to his name in 184 starts. 

Both of these are really nice cards of Carl. I almost feel like they are nods to him out of respect- like these card companies knew he was long in the tooth but they still wanted to pay him respects with their brand of card. The ProSet Legends 1991 card is an absolute gem. Merv Corning can make a player standing on the sideline look exciting, and this highly detailed image is no different with its nicks and bumps. It’s a fine card with excellent minimal design- which screams classy. The Score Supplemental 1989 had always been floating around my doubles box, so I had been kicking around the idea of getting it autographed for sometime. It’s unique because it’s obviously a special teams shot, but he’s just sort of popping up in a sea of helmets.

G/GSTACSACFUMINTYDSAVGTDLG
224/184114194.0N/A14040.0040

Moore, Sterling

Card: Topps AAF 2019
Acquired: IP 2019, San Antonio Commanders v The Arizona Hotshots

Lost in the JUCO shuffle to SMU, cornerback Sterling Moore went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft.

He’d sign with the Oakland Raiders, and then end up on the roster of the Patriots that year. Called up to active play from the practice squad, Sterling helped New England in a pinch make the Super Bowl that year. Sterling returned to the practice squad in 2012, but was snapped up by the Dallas Cowboys. Sterling again saw some emergency time over the next year or so before earning a role as the team’s nickelback. In 2015, Moore signed with the Bucs, and saw a mix of playing time starting at corner and also as the nickelback, starting 8 contests. After a quick pitstop with the Bills, Sterling spent the next year and a half with the New Orleans Saints. He’d start a career high 12 games, recording 2 picks, 56 total tackles, and 13 pass deflections in 2016. Sterling signed with the Detroit Lions in 2018, but did not make the squad.

Moore joined the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance in early 2019. He’d record 7 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble and 23 total tackles in 8 starts.

Sterling came over during warmups when he realized I had a card and signed this one for me. After the Commanders game ended, I gave him one to keep which he really appreciated.

That’d be the last game in AAF history, but Sterling was later selected in the 2019 XFL draft by the Seattle Dragons during the defensive back portion, with their final overall pick.

Hennings, Chad

Cards: GameDay 1992, Upper Deck 1992
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 9/25   Received: 10/1       (6 days)

The Outland Trophy Winner in 1987, Chad Hennings was an excellent defensive lineman who had to defer playing in the NFL to serve his time in the military and fought in the Gulf War.  Thanks in part to his service, his stock dipped severely in the 1988 NFL Draft. He’d be selected in the 11th round by the Dallas Cowboys. It wasn’t until 1992 that Chad would become available to the Cowboys to play, thanks in part to military staff reductions.

He’d play with a burgeoning Cowboys defense initially seeing time on special teams. Rotating into the lineup Chad saw a career high 7 sacks in 1994. He started his first game in 1995, and played with the Cowboys through 2000 when injuries began to catch up with him. 

All in all Chad was a pretty sneaky draft pick by the Cowboys. They signed him to a contract and paid him a minimal amount to keep his rights until they could pry him from his commitments and it really paid off. They got 6 solid years out of him and 72 starts. 

I know why Chad looks a bit exasperated in this 1992 Upper Deck card here. It’s because it was probably taken at Cowboys Training Camp at St. Edwards. As a frequent denizen early on in those years- if the heat didn’t get you, the humidity was surely close behind. I do not like the card one bit. His hands are completely off the canvas and there’s no action to this shot whatsoever. I didn’t mind the stone look to the production, but it felt like it cheapened the look and value of their initial foray with their 1991 effort as they look so similar.

His GameDay 1992 card is solid outside of his foot looking mangled since they didn’t want to include the grass or fake it. It’s an exciting action shot of him taking off and overall it is framed quite well. I had wanted to get Chad on these cards way back at training camp over the years, but by the time I got these cards, things were already going big and neon at Cowboys Training Camp at St. Edwards. It was a madhouse to get autographs, and autograph alley had become somewhat of a chest pressing spectacle for both observers and players alike. – So understandably the best route was TTM some 20 years later.

Chad actually haunts me. He was in a Sports Illustrated article where he talked about the dream of coming back to football… How he could smell the grass, his coaches still barking at him to get in the game, making a play. I still have those dreams, and wish I could go back and change things.

G/GSTACSACFUMINTYDSAVGTD LG
119/7221626.5500-.-0-.-

Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.