Tag Archives: 300 win club

Shula, Don

Card: ProSet 1991
Acquired:  TTM 1992, C/o The Miami Dolphins

Don Shula was a member of the newly merged Cleveland Browns a season after they joined the NFL. Playing defensive back on that stacked team, he rarely if ever saw any playing time, but still managed to make 4 interceptions his rookie season. He’d be traded to the Baltimore Colts in one of the largest player trades of all time getting 4 seasons in with the team continuing his strong play making 14 interceptions. In 1957, Don played his final season with the Washington Redskins making 3 more interceptions.

G  73       Tac  N/a       Sac N/a      Fum   4
Int 21      Yds  267     Avg 12.7     Td 0    Lg 35

This would not end Don Shula’s football career as he would make the transition into coaching. After a small stint in college at the University of Virginia,  Don was back in the pro ranks as an assistant for the Detroit Lions from 1960-1962 (defensive coordinator). He was then rewarded with the head coaching job in Baltimore in 1963 at the age of 33, which was the youngest coach in the league at the time. Don would spend the next 7 seasons there winning 71 contests but losing two championships (1964, and SuperBowl III).

In 1970 the Miami Dolphins signed Don as their head coach and were charged with tampering forfeiting their first round choice that year. Because of the odd nature of the timing- negotiating before the AFL/NFL merger, but signing afterwards, Miami had to suffer the consequences because they were now merged leagues.  Shula would go on to become one of the ‘Big 3’ coaches (Landry, Shula and, Noll,) in the NFL’s modern era. Shula’s teams during the 70s had dominating defensive units and offensive lines supported by a ground game which allowed them to excel against their NFL counterparts. His team would reach the big game by 1971. Shula’s 1972 unit is the only team to finish undefeated in NFL history winning all its regular season games and post season contests (17-0) and in 1973 they’d return again winning this time against the Minnesota Vikings. This team was the last of Shula’s teams to win the SuperBowl but his teams would consistently remain in the playoffs. In 1983 however the team would make the transition to a passing franchise with the drafting of one player- Dan Marino. Marino guided the team to the Super Bowl in 1984 throwing a then NFL record 50 touchdown passes. Shula’s teams reached the playoffs 20 times in 33 attempts. He’d retire after the 1993 season, with a large legacy under his belt.  26 of 28 seasons of winning football in Miami, the coach with the most Super Bowl appearances (6), a 4 time coach of the year, one of two coaches in history to have over 300 wins, and the winningest coach in league history. I would get Don’s autograph through the mail courtesy of the Dolphins in 1992 right after Christmas.

Since retiring Shula has made time to occasionally attend his team’s 17-0 reunions, owns an extremely successful chain of steakhouses and has his name on a golf course and hotel in Florida. He also is involved in the Don Shula Foundation for breast cancer research. In 1997, Shula was a shoe-in for the NFL HoF.  He has also been involved in numerous presentation ceremonies over the last few years, had stadiums and highways named after him and has authored 3 books.

W 328   L 156   T 6   Pct .678

Favre, Brett

Cards:  Action Packed Rookies 1991
Acquired: TTM 1992, C/o The Green Bay Packers

Brett Favre is the definition of a gunslinger and has left a lasting legacy on the NFL with an inhuman 285 consecutive starts. He played his best statistical season (2009) with the Vikings almost returning to the Superbowl. Favre at the time of this post (2009 season) is #1 in wins (181), completions (6083), passing yards (69329), passing touchdowns (497), and also notably interceptions (317). He triumphed over injury (intestinal injury from car wreck) before being drafted in the second round by then Jerry Glanville of the Atlanta Falcons (-who actually thought Brett was crazy) from Southern Mississippi where he played with wide receiver Michael Jackson. After his rookie season in 1991, the Falcons traded him to the Packers (as Glanville claims) to sober him up. The change was good for him, as he quickly took over for local legend Don Majkowski, and never relinquished the starting role until he was traded to the Jets in 2007. In his career with the Packer faithful, Brett led them to two consecutive Superbowls (XXX, XXXI) winning Superbowl XXXI, being named NFL MVP 1995-1997, 9 Pro Bowl nominations and a variety of achievements along the way.  Brett has a cannon for an arm, (breaking 8 different fingers on receiver Antonio Freeman’s hands,) a love for the game, and an insatiable desire to win.

Favre however, battled inner demons most of his Packer career. Over his playing time, he was wracked by alcoholism, painkiller addictions, hurricane Katrina destroyed his family home, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, and his father who had a strong influence on his life passed away during the 2003 season. His wife recovered and somehow he made it through all of these personal tragedies. Favre retired regrettably and prematurely in 2007, creating an uncomfortable rift between him and the Packers, when Brett returned to camp unexpectedly. Brett was traded to the Jets and played one subpar season with them in 2008 and then retired again, but was coaxed out of retirement for another run with the Minnesota Vikings, riling the Packer faithful. He played his best season in his career in 2009, having his best statistical season and leading the Vikings to the NFC championship game. Brett Favre announced his retirement again on August 3rd, 2010, (at the age of 40) possibly due to a lingering ankle injury that he felt had not fully healed. He promptly unretired after a visit from players at his home on the 17th of that month, ending his 4th and shortest retirement from football, but would retire finally once again after the 2010 season.

Brett is a character and has many memorable moments and interesting trivia about his career. Once he bet Jerry Glanville 100.00 that he could throw the football into the upper deck of Fulton County Stadium. (Brett won.) He missed the team photo in 1991 because as Brett claimed, “There was a car wreck.” Jerry Glanville responded,”You are a car wreck.”  When the Falcons traded him to the Packers, the Packers could have failed Brett’s physical, as he was diagnosed with the same hip condition as Bo Jackson, but Ron Wolf, (Packers GM) overruled. Brett completed his first career pass- to himself. The ball was deflected and he caught it for a -7 loss. He was actually booed by fans during first home contest who started chanting for Ty Detmer, (Favre’s backup) to come into the game. Favre has thrown an interception in his final attempt for every team he has played for (Vikings, Packers, Falcons, and Jets). Brett has a penchant for butt slapping- extremely hard- to motivate players.  Brett in early 2010, became the first ever grandfather in the NFL.

I sent off for Brett’s autograph after hearing Ron Wolf talking Brett up on the radio as the team’s QB of the future. The request represents the epitome of what methodology I used at the time of collecting autographs at the time- to draft my own future prospects. To show my friend Josh what a fiend I had become collecting autographs through the mail, I had Brett sign two cards, and return one to Josh TTM also. Favre is a great example of somebody who’s autograph has changed over the years, as his ‘B’ and ‘E’ have become more detached, looped, and more stylized.

Games 289    Att 9811      Comp 6083        Yds 69329
Td 497       Int 317         Rat 86.4