Bartkowski, Steve

Cards: Topps 1978, Topps 1983
Acquired: In Person, CGA Youth Golf  Tournament 1993.


I got to the Golf Tournament early in the morning (before 8am) and was able to catch the early birds on the course before the crowds got there. The first three I got were the trio of quarterbacks, Steve Bartkowski, Billy Joe Tolliver and Browning Nagle. Bartkowski and the others were extremely nice and even let me ride around in a golf cart for a hole or two with them. They were more than happy to sign any cards I had, and Steve signed these two cards for me after I gave him and the others the drawings I did for them.

Steve was the #1 pick of the NFL draft of 1975 for the Atlanta Falcons, and garnered NFL Rookie of the Year Honors that year. Bartkowski lead the Falcons from 1975 to 1985 (and Rams in 1986).  He still owns many of the Falcons passing records to this day. Bartkowski’s career got off to an extremely rough start but blossomed as his career continued under center leading the team to division championships in 1980 and 1982. (You see in those days #1 choices and quarterbacks were given 5 or 6 years to blossom.) Steve was a two time Pro Bowler and threw 22 touchdowns to 5 picks in 1983. (He is also notable for being Leigh Steinberg’s first client and for being taken ahead of HoF runningback Walter Payton.)  After retirement Steve has continued to live and work in the Atlanta area, working for contractual commercial building firms, in sports broadcasting and television as a color analyst, sits on the board of directors for the Atlanta Falcons and is an avid golfer with a scratch handicap.

G 129    Att  1932    Comp 3456      Pct 55.9      Yds  24124
Td  156       Int  144       Rat  75.4

McAllister, Bobby

Card: Pro Set WLAF 1991
Acquired: In Person, 1992.  San Antonio Riders v Orlando Thunder.


Bobby McAllister is considered a hero at Michigan State from their glory days of the 1980’s, leading the team from 1987-1989. It was a team stocked with talent in Lorenzo White, Andre Rison, Willie Bouyer and the ‘Gang Green’ defense.    Bobby was not drafted after his senior season, and ended up on the Roughriders roster in 1989, playing briefly for the Argonauts later that year, finally landing on the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks roster in 1991. A scrambler by nature, he was extremely effective on the bootleg. Bobby would come off the bench that year and give the team a much needed boost playing admirably in two games, but the Skyhawks were folded after the 1991 season finishing a woeful 0-11.  McAllister would be picked up by ‘Team Dallas’, where he’d play on the league’s ‘taxi squad’. (Team Dallas functioned as a training ground for players so that they could quickly assimilate league and playbook terminology, keep players in peak shape, and quickly get out standardized game film of practices. They played no games that were tracked by the league.)   McAllister would eventually be signed by the San Antonio Riders late in the 1992 season, where he served as the number 3 quarterback behind Mike Johnson and Brad Goebel.
bobby and me

After the game against the Thunder, I caught Bobby coming out of the locker room and asked for his autograph. He was very excited because he had never seen his card before. He studied it intensely and autographed it with a big smile and offered to take a photo with me. We talked for a few minutes, and I told him if I ever got another card I’d give it to him. Unfortunately the league would fold before I could, as the Riders only played one more home game that season. After football Bobby has become a folk hero to Michigan State fans for his Rose Bowl heroics, and ardently supports the team to this day appearing in 2008 at the 20 year reunion to celebrate that fabled game. -By the way Bobby, I have that extra card for you now.

 

Games n/a      Att 195       Comp 91      Pct 46.7     Yds 1152        Td 7          Int 11           Rat 54

Dunbar, Karl

Cards: Ultimate WLAF 1991, Wild Card WLAF 1992.
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o  The Minnesota Vikings
Sent: 6/11  Received: 6/18   (7 days)


After playing at LSU (Karmichael) ‘Karl’ was drafted by the Steelers in 1990 and then played for the Orlando Thunder of the WLAF in 1992 finishing tied for first on the team with 5.5 sacks. (He appeared in World Bowl II.) After the league reorganized, Karl became a journeyman, playing for the Saints for one year then jumping to the Cardinals for the next two retiring at the end of 1995 after playing for the Rhein Fire of the NFLE. With an insatiable love for the game, coaching had gotten in Karl’s blood, and he began to start working his way up the ranks starting from the high school level soon after. In 1998 he started coaching in college and in 2004 he was back in the pros working for the Bears. As of 2010 he’s in his 5th season as defensive line coach of the Minnesota Vikings.  He is attributed with the success and emergence of the ‘Williams Wall’ and is considered to be a master technician. His name has been thrown around recently for head coaching jobs in college as well.

Karl is an interesting and engaging alumni. (Karl has vitiligo, a skin pigmentation discoloration that affects about 1 percent of the population and is decorated with fraternity tattoos on his arms and elbows.) In between his time as a player in 1991, he put his degree to work as an undercover police officer helping make drug stings and was nicknamed ‘the battering ram’. At the World Bowl II media event day, Karl actually sought out media to answer questions for, even stating to one intrepid reporter, “Why haven’t you asked me a question yet?”

Another former WLAFer, I was witness to the Thunder’s victory over the San Antonio Riders that season in 1992. The Riders kept it close till the 3rd quarter but then got blown out late. (Because there was only 3 divisions in the WLAF, the Riders who were really the 3rd best team in the league, didn’t make the playoffs that year, despite being 7-3.) I never got the cards for Karl until recently and sent them out with the photo memorabilia of the game for him. He responded in about a week, I’m sure feeling quite good about himself because his defensive linemen probably get all the autograph requests.

(Thunder)  Games 10      Tac   N/a          Sac 5.5       FF  N/a    Int 0    Yds 0     Avg -.-       TD 0

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