Ridgway, Dave “Robokicker”

Card: All-World 1991
Acquired: TTM 1994, C/o The CFL

Small note about the Canadian Football League. Unlike the NFL, kickers roles are actually enhanced in the CFL with the aid of the ‘rouge’. If a kicker launches the ball and it goes out of the back of the endzone, but does not score a field goal, his team still receives a single point.

Drafted in 1981 by the Montreal Alouettes, Dave Ridgway’s career would be off to a bad start as he’d be unable to make the squad that season. Contacted in 1982 by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, he’d go on to become one of the most storied kickers of the CFL’s history. Ridgway would kick the game winning field goal in Saskatchewan’s exciting Grey Cup victory in 1989, and is the most accurate kicker in league history, knocking down 59 field goals in 1987, and 8 field goals in a game which are both league records as well. He’d retire in 1994, virtually in control of nearly all league kicking records.

A 6 time CFL All Star, Dave rightfully so has received numerous accolades since his retirement. His number (36) was retired by the Roughriders and he was inducted into the team’s Plaza of Honor in 2000. In 2003, Ridgway was also named to the CFL HoF, and won the MVP honor for his clutch field goal in the 1989 Grey Cup.

Dave’s name is spelled ‘Ridgway’, and he was nicknamed ‘Robokicker’ by his teammates for his ability to automatically hit field goals and the coincidence that the movie “RoboCop” had been released that year. Below is a link to the 1989 Grey Cup field goal and his final limited statistics, since the CFL does a horrid job of keeping them.

fga N/a    fgm N/a   pct .780  pts 2374

Gailey, Chan

Cards: ProSet 1991, ProSet WLAF 1991
Acquired: TTM 2010, C/o The Buffalo Bills
Sent: 3/12    Received: 3/19  (7 days)

Georgia born Chan Gailey, has been coaching at the college or pro level now for roughly 35 years, working at a variety of levels before being hired to coach with the Denver Broncos in 1985 and is considered a member of the Dan Reeves coaching tree. He’d spend the next 6 seasons there culminating in the offensive coordinator job, before he became the head coach of the Birmingham Fire in 1991. Making his mark with the team in nearby Alabama, Gailey’s team would make the playoffs both years of the WLAF’s existence. The teams’ were surprisingly known not for their offense, but rather a staunch defense that kept the team in most games. After the 1992 season and the WLAF folded, Chan briefly returned to the NCAA football level, but in 1994 he’d be hired by the Steelers where he’d stay through 1997. He’d serve as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 1998 and 1999, but could never shake the image as Jerry Jones’ puppet and that his teams were not tough enough. Even though his teams would make the playoffs both season and lose after the first round, (and Troy Aikman felt that Gailey was a prehistoric dinosaur) Chan would not be detained as the Cowboys head coach. He’d be hired almost immediately to be offensive coordinator of the Dolphins in 2000 staying there through 2001, before returning home to Georgia Tech in 2002. His name got consideration for the head coaching jobs in both Pittsburgh and Miami.  Gailey would coach Tech through 2007 and then be hired by the Chiefs in 2008 as offensive coordinator, but was demoted and not retained by the team. In a surprising move by the Buffalo Bills, in 2010 the team announced Chan Gailey as the team’s 15th head coach partially on a recommendation by former head coach Bill Cowher of the Steelers.

Gailey’s offensive philosophy is one that adapts itself to the players available on the team and along his stops, outside of his current one here in Buffalo, have been good at maximizing very average talent while more importantly hiding those players inefficiencies.  The charge against him in response to this is that his teams’ offenses have been charged with being too conservative.  I jump at the chance to get WLAF autographs and I got his autograph in a quick 7 days from the Bills office. I wish him all the luck but I honestly sent off so quickly for him because I haven’t given him much of a chance up there. The Bills have become a graveyard for good coaches. Below are his WLAF statistics.

W 12      L  7       T  1        Pct .600

Testaverde, Vinny

Cards: Action Packed 1992, ProSet 1991 Heisman Hero
Acquired: TTM 1992, C/o The Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Vinny Testaverde was a Heisman Trophy winner while at the University of Miami in 1986 under head coach Jimmy Johnson. He’d declare as a Junior and enter into the 1987 NFL draft following the season. Testaverde would go #1 to the Buccaneers and would start 4 games during his rookie season. In 1988 he’d take over full time as the starter, to disasterous results, throwing for a modern day record of 35 interceptions and a 48.8 quarterback rating. (The 35 were the most since George Blanda from the AFL threw 42.) The good news was he was playing in Tampa- so nobody cared or had big expectations. Testaverde was also fortunate not to play in an age with an aggressive media, as quarterbacks are normally now given 3 seasons and are sent packing. Vinny would never, in 6 seasons with the Bucs, throw for more touchdowns than interceptions, nor win more than 6 games in a season. To say the least, nobody was really surprised when Vinny was allowed to leave Tampa. He’d sign with the Browns in 1993 and immediately turn his career around. His touchdown to interception ratio would flip, and he’d also post his first winning mark in 1994 with a 9-4 record, and transition with the Browns to Baltimore. Testaverde would also become better at making decisions, and despite Baltimore posting a 4-12 record in 1996, he’d throw for a career high 33 touchdowns and only 19 interceptions. After the 1997 season, he’d sign with the Jets and playing under Bill Parcells, would post a 12-1 record, and throw only 7 picks in 421 throws, making him a crowd favorite.  Injury would curtail his 1999 season, but he’d be back in 2000 leading the league in attempts with 590 throws, but also with 25 interceptions. After a pretty decent 2001 season in which he went 10-6, Testaverde would only start spottingly over the next 2 seasons, before he signed at the ripe age of 41 in 2004 with the Cowboys- and his old coach Bill Parcells. He’d lead the league in interceptions with 20, and then resign again with the Jets in 2005 where he hung on for the season playing in 6 games.  In 2006, he’d play a season for the Patriots, and then finally get his wings and retire in 2007 as a backup for the Carolina Panthers at 44 years old, the second oldest quarterback in league history to take a snap. On the last play of the season he ran in and kneeled he ball to end the game, ironically on the home field of the team he started with- Tampa Bay.

I got Vinny Testaverde’s autograph through the mail from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the last season he was with the team. I also had his Starting Lineup action figure as well in that awesome candy orange. Vinny Testaverde is also color blind. It’s interesting to see how Vinny’s career ended up progressing. The franchise quarterback, turns into a hired gunslinger, then becomes a fan favorite and then an aged journeyman. In the end, even though he didn’t do it all right, Testaverde did have a somewhat storied career. The furthest he’d ever advance was the championship game while setting the modern NFL record for most losses by an NFL quarterback at 123. He also holds the NFL record: for throwing touchdowns to 70 different players and in 21 straight seasons. While his legacy remains clouded and his career ended up better than advertised, Testaverde will always be remembered for his tenacity and willingness to play through adversity.

G/Gs 233/214      Att 6701    Comp 3787   Pct 56.5     Yds 46233      Td 275   Int 267   Rat 75.0

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