McNair, Steve (1973-2009)

Card: Classic 1995
Acquired: In Person, Houston Oiler Training Camp, 1995

I got Steve’s autograph at Trinity University in San Antonio where the Oilers held training camp during his rookie season. He signed every card that day,(- which numbered into the hundreds) after an extremely hot summer practice where he was drenched in sweat.  I then created a Steve McNair player in Tecmo Super Bowl Final Edition on Super Nintendo. He became the best player in the game, where he was unstoppable both on the ground and in the air scoring 90s in nearly every attribute. McNair would also start at quarterback for my Fantasy Football teams in 2003 and 2005.

The Houston Oilers became a quarterback carousel after Warren Moon was jettisoned by Bud Adams after the 1993 season. In hopes of alleviating the problem, the Oilers signed Chris Chandler in 1995 and then drafted Steve McNair from Alcorn St with the 3rd pick of that draft. McNair has an interesting history that has strange parallels to Moon’s as he was asked to play defensive back by a major college instead the position of quarterback where he was most comfortable in high school. Instead of signing on with the University of Florida, McNair opted to play for tiny Alcorn State.  Steve would go on to set multiple All-American records in college and in his senior season would run and pass for over 6,000 yards including 16283 career yards.

After being drafted by the Oilers, McNair would ride the bench for primarily the next two seasons behind perennial tutor and quarterback of the moment Chandler. In 1997, the Oilers moved to Tennessee and coach Jeff Fisher handed Steve the reins of the team. McNair over his career would be seen as a tenacious blue chip warrior with an insatiable appetite to win.  McNair would suffer from a malaise of injuries throughout his 13 season career including back problems and a bruised sternum.  He’d lead the Titans to SuperBowl XXXIV (SuperBowl of the Traitorous Teams) and be named NFL Player of the Year in 2003, All-Pro in 2003, and to the Pro Bowl in 2000, 2003, and 2005 playing for the Oilers and Titans. In 2006 he’d find himself run out of town (much like Bud Adams did to Moon in 1993,) where Steve signed with the Ravens, whom he’d play the last two seasons for before injury forced him to retire in 2008.  Post NFL McNair ran a restaurant called GridIron9 and mentored quarterback Vince Young,  but struggle with an extramarital affair, in which on July 4th, 2009 that mistress would take his life.  McNair is survived by his widow and four children.

Games   161       Att   4544      Comp     2733     %  60.1       Yds  31, 304        TD  174          Int  119            Rat  82.8
Rushes  669      Yds   3590       Avg  5.4          Td 37

Humphery, Bobby

Cards: ProSet 1989, ProSet 1990, Score 1990, Score Supplemental 1990, Fleer 1990
Acquired: In Person, San Antonio Riders v. Birmingham Fire 1992
See Also: Bobby Humphery (2)

Bobby Humphery, drafted in 1984 out of the 9th round, was a speedy athlete from New Mexico State. Initially he played wide receiver for the team, and starred on special teams as the Jets primary kick returner. In 1986 he was converted to a cornerback, where he played the rest of his career. In 1990 he was signed by the Rams for one season, and in 1992 signed on with the San Antonio Riders where he played defensive back for the team. Humphery’s statistics are misleading as he had not only played in a utility status for the teams he was on, he also defensed a lot of passes (which are not tracked), and his statistics only cover his seasons with the Jets and Rams. Bobby is one of a select few of players in the NFL that has scored a TD on offense, defense, and special teams. He made one Pro Bowl appearance over his career which would span 10 seasons with the Jets, Rams, Riders, Gold Miners, and San Antonio Texans.

Of small note, Bobby Humphery should not be confused with Bobby Humphrey who played runningback for the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins. (Humphery’s 1990 Fleer card is an error card with Humphrey’s picture on the back.)

After a humid night game against the Birmingham Fire, I saw Bobby in front of the locker room exhausted from the game. I frequently would pack more than one card of a player, in the hopes that they don’t mind signing multiples for my collection. Bobby would sign all five for me.

games  49      tac   N/a       sac  6        fum  10          int    5         yds  52     td 1
KR    130               yds  2974              avg   22.9                  td   2               lg  97T

Childress, Ray

Cards:  Action Packed 1991, Fleer 1995, Pro Set 1989, Pro Set 1990, SkyBox 1992
Acquired: In Person, Houston Oilers Training Camp, 1992, 1995. TTM 2010, C/o Home
Sent:   3/26    Received:     4/3           (8 days)

Ray Childress is one of the most multidimensional and consistent defensive linemen who came out during the mid 80s. He played from 1985 to 1996. He received All America honors twice while in college at Texas A&M and still is ranked on the school’s leaders in both sacks and tackles 25 years after he graduated. Drafted in the first round by the Houston Oilers as a DE, Ray would play all positions along the line at some point during his career with the majority of that being at DT notching 4 Pro Bowl appearances at this position and 1 at DE playing in 154 games.  He was a 3 time first team All-Pro, and 3 time second team All- Pro. Childress holds the NFL record for most fumble recoveries in a season with 7 and most recovered in a game with 3.  He retired from injuries after a shoulder separation in 1996. Childress since football has become in a variety of ventures including his ongoing commitment to the Childress Foundation, and at one point owned a line of car dealerships. Childress was inducted into the College Football HOF in 2010.

My brother and I went to training camp in 1992. It was really funny to get Ray’s autograph, especially since he dwarfed my brother who was 6″3′. Ray then asked my brother if he was on the team which we both got some laughs out of. In 1995 Childress also signed my Fleer 1995 for me when I was at camp as he was walking on to the field. He was the first one of the day and that certainly put me in a good mood. In 2010 I started sending cards out in the mail again, and specifically targeted former Houston Oilers. I sent 4 cards out to Ray and he signed 3 and returned the 4th, which didn’t bother me at all as he was doing it as a courtesy for me anyway. Ray has been caught in the backlog of great players retiring during the mid 90s, and has not been inducted into the HOF, although I believe he should. With Elvin Bethea being inducted recently, it certainly does give hope that at some point he will sneak onto the ballot.

Games 163         Tac   861              Sac 76.5               Fum 19

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