Tag Archives: Action packed 1991

DeBerg, Steve


Cards: Score 1989 Supplemental, Action Packed 1991, Score 1991 Leader
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent:  1/9   Received: 1/20    (11 days)

Steve DeBerg is a warrior of old. Over his career, Steve played from 1978-1993, and 1998. He played some 17 seasons in the NFL and almost pulled off one of the rarest of feats of appearing in 4 different decades of football.  DeBerg is considered one of the great masters of play action, which served him well during his revival in the late 80s and early 90s for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Originally a 10th round choice of the Dallas Cowboys in 1978 out of San Jose State (and thought to be Roger Staubach‘s heir), Steve was traded to the 49ers before the regular season began. He’d start 11 games his rookie year in the NFL, but his numbers were atrocious (8 TD, 22 INT), and his win/loss record reflected it (1-10).  In 1979, DeBerg was allowed to spread his wings and led the NFL in Attempts (578) and completions (347), but young rookie QB Joe Montana was chomping at the bit.  In 1981, Deberg was traded to the Broncos, and he’d play there for through 1983, (when Denver got a hold of… John Elway).

In 1984, Steve was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’d throw for a career high 3554 yards that season and throw 19 TDs to 18 picks. In 1986 he’d back up future NFL HoF QB Steve Young, and then in 1987, back up Heisman Trophy Winner Vinny Testaverde.  After his 4 year stint with the Bucs concluded, DeBerg signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1988.

It’d be in 1989 that DeBerg was introduced to ‘Marty Ball’, and after fighting off Ron Jaworski, Steve Pelluer, and rookie Mike Elkins, posted a 6-4 record and almost led the Chiefs to the playoffs. It was a huge turnaround for the franchise- one that had been a doormat of the AFC West for most of the 80s. DeBerg continued his magical reinvention in 1990.  During that era of NFL football, only throwing 4 interceptions in 444 pass attempts was almost unheard of- but DeBerg did just that, leading the NFL with only .9 % of all his passes intercepted that season. He also had the highest adjusted average yards per completion at 7.58, leading the Chiefs to the playoffs. He played one more season with the Chiefs before being replaced in 1992 by Joe Montana (again).

Steve signed with the Bucs again in 1993. He’d be the backup QB for them for a few games over 2 seasons. Cut during 1994, DeBerg found his way onto the roster of the Dolphins and backed up Scott Mitchell after Dan Marino was injured.

DeBerg was long thought retired after that and was hired by Dan Reeves to be a QB coach with the Giants in 1995. Later when Reeves moved to Atlanta, he hired DeBerg as his QB Coach in 1996, however in 1998 they’d decided it’d be best if DeBerg backed up starter Chris Chandler. Steve finally reached the Superbowl with the Falcons- a game that they lost to the Broncos and… John Elway.

Truly, in the football universe for a while there, everything was six degrees of Steve DeBerg, with him being connected to so many great quarterbacks. A true competitor, Steve always left it out on the field. I remember during one season, he played a few weeks with a cast on his non-throwing hand during his time with the Chiefs.

Steve’s a signer who does so in random spurts, so it was somewhat difficult to peg down when I should send out to him. Along the way, Steve’s modern era cards (let’s say post 1988) were pretty nice, and it was hard for me to trim it down to under 3 of them. Sadly the Score 1991 Leader card that I liked the most got smudged- Usually a by-product of rushing signatures before they dry back into a sleeve or envelope. Still one can’t complain. I liked all 3 of these a lot. They really stood out among the sets to choose from. The simplicity of the Action Packed 91 almost couldn’t be touched, and the Score 1989 card is vibrant.

G/GS  206/140    ATT  5024    CPD 2874    YDS 34241    PCT 57.2
TD 196      INT 204        RAT  74.2

RUSH 204     YDS 200     AVG 1.0       TD 7       LG 15

Gary, Cleveland



Cards: ProSet 1990, Action Packed 1991
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 4/17    Received: 5/9   (29 days)

I had been looking for Cleveland Gary for some time. Oddly the ‘old’ LA Rams guard (pre St.Louis) are for the most part difficult to get or resentful of their playing time there.  I couldn’t find his ProSet 1989 entry in his Miami Hurricanes gear, so I just shot out his 90 ProSet instead. He signed these two cards for me in roughly a month. I really like both photos on these cards here. I was always a huge fan of Action Packed, and this moderately close image, framed was typical of this set.

A transfer from UGA, Cleveland Gary was a member of the 1987 Miami Hurricanes National Championship team.  Initially he played behind such football fullback stalwarts such as Alonzo Highsmith and Melvin Bratton before getting his break. In 1988, he ran for 480 yards and 7 TDs, and caught 57 passes for 655 yards and 4 TDs. His 57 catches at the time were a single-season Hurricanes record. The Rams loved their running game so selecting Gary- the premier fullback in the 1989 draft really made sense. He’d be the second of the Rams first round picks in that year, (and the second Hurricane that they’d select) at pick 26.

After a middling rookie season, Cleveland became a bright spot in the Rams overall underwhelming 1990 campaign. He’d work his way into the starting lineup starting 7 games, and lead the NFL with 14 rushing TDs on 204 carries (808 yards).  In one of his finest moments, Gary ran for 3 TDs against the undefeated 49ers in a rain soaked affair that season. The game marked the 49ers first loss in over a year.

1991 was an injury plagued year for Gary, yet he rebounded in 1992 after the Rams made a coaching change to Chuck Knox. Cleveland had a career high 1,125 yards  on 279 carries, and caught 52 receptions for 293 yards with 10 total TDs. 1993 was another off season for Cleveland. He’d rush for just 293 yards on 79 carries and catch 36 passes for 289 yards.

He’d be released by the team in late August of 1994 and then was sidelined by appendicitis. Gary recovered and in October of that year rejected an offer from the Dallas Cowboys and signed with the Miami Dolphins. He ran for just 11 yards in 2 games and retired after the season.

Cleveland has done pretty good for himself after football. After dabbling in minor league indoor football leagues he was last spotted as the CEO of the Black Shopping Channel in 2016.

G/GS 68/29     RUSH 674      YDS 2645     AVG 3.9      TD 24      LG 63
REC 135     YDS  874        AVG  6.5       TD 5         LG  60

 

Word, Barry

pset90 bword pset91 bword cpotyCards: ProSet 1990, ProSet 1991 CPotY, Score Supplemental 1990, GameDay 1992, Action Packed 1991.
Acquired: 2016, Philadelphia Exchange Paid Signing

Barry Word was a surprising comeback story. Out of football for over a year and working for a telephone company in Virginia, Word was called up by the Chiefs to attend camp in 1990. He not only made the squad, Word made a potent one two punch with Christian Okoye. Possessing a similar downhill running style to the Nigerian Nightmare, Barry had 204 carries for 1015 yards and 4 TDs- netting himself NFL Comeback Player of the Year Honors.

sco90sup bwordBarry was originally a 3rd round pick by the New Orleans Saints out of Virginia in 1985. Over his 4 year career for the Cavaliers, Word rushed 405 times for 2257 yards, and 17 TDs. The problem is that Barry tested positive for Marijuana at the combine. The Saints didn’t have a problem with that. They had a problem with the conspiracy to distribute cocaine that he got busted for. The Saints let him go, but retained his rights, while Barry bode his time in ap91 bwordprison.

Word returned to the Saints in 1987.  He suited up for 12 games, and started 1 contest rushing 36 times for 133 yards and 2 TDs.  The Saints were knee deep at runningback however, and in 1988, Barry just suited up for only 2 games. He’d spend the entire 1989 season out of football.

With Barry’s comeback complete, he’d play for Kansas City in 1991 gday92 bwordand 1992. He’d be an excellent insurance policy for Okoye in the meantime. In 1993, Barry was traded to the Vikings.  He’d start 8 games for Minnesota, rushing for 458 yards and 2 TDs on 142 carries. Word then signed with the Arizona Cardinals for the ’94 season, but did not see any action.

He’d retire and has been a difficult find through the mail. I decided to do a paid signing for the enigmatic back through the Philadelphia Connection. The price was so reasonable I was able to get 5 cards signed by him. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but Barry Word’s autograph is one of the worst I’ve seen in a while. It’s up there with George Zimmer from Men’s Wearhouse with just the ‘B’ and the ‘W’ being legible. The rest is well- there at least. Some great cards however of Barry graced his short lived career. Of them the ProSet 1990 is quite dynamic, and briefly during the short lived heyday of the card boom, along with its Score counterpart were valuable cards. It’s a shame that speculation and over production killed the market so badly its never completely recovered.

G/GS 72/26     Rush 705      Yds 2897     Avg 4.1      Td 16     Lg 53
Rec 30        Yds 280        Avg 9.3        Td 0       Lg 27