Tag Archives: albany firebirds

Pawlawski, Mike

Cards: Topps XFL 2001, Classic Blister 1992, Gameday 1992
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent:  3/17     Received:  4/10  (24  days)

Mike Pawlawski has enjoyed nothing but one of the more curious professional football careers. It all started back in 1992 when the highly decorated signal caller from Cal was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 8th round. He spent one year with the team and the next two out of football.

Mike reignited his football career when he joined the Arena Football League. First with the SabreCats, and then later with the Miami Hooters in 1995. (- Yes named after the Hooters restaurant franchise.) He played one season with the team (66/133, 674 yards, and 6 TDs) in primarily relief duty. He also spent time in the CFL with their USA invasion as a member of the Shreveport Pirates. Mike jumped to the Albany Firebirds the following year- and really impressed (22/35, 296 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT) in limited play.  It’d be in 1997 that Pawlawski came into his own as a starter. He’d throw for 4,272 yards and 69 TDs on 509 attempts. For the next 3 seasons he’d be the unquestioned starter of the Firebirds and threw for at least 70 touchdowns in each year.

He heard the siren call of the XFL in 2001 and joined the fledgling league and be the starting quarterback for the San Fransisco Demons. In the lone season for the league Pawlawski finished second to only Tommy Maddox in passing, while leading the team to the Million Dollar Game. With the XFL hemorrhaging money and with bad TV ratings, the league shut down after the lone season.

Mike retired due to injuries and followed his passions for the outdoors, working on the show Gridiron Outdoors. He also does color commentating for Cal games for a variety of networks.

Mike was kind enough to sign these three cards in about a month’s time, however I wish he actually had a sharpie handy as his autograph gets lost on these canvases.

ARENA    ATT 2045   CPD 1351   YDS  16673
TD  303    INT 45   RAT 118.98
R 93    YDS 181    TD 19

XFL   ATT  297    CPD  186   YDS 1659    TD 12   INT  4

McNair, Fred ‘Air’

Card: Wild Card WLAF 1992
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Alcorn State
Sent: 12/19       Received: 2/5    (42 days)

Fred McNair finished his career at Alcorn State as the 5th leading passer in NCAA -1A football after completing 119 of 214 passes for 1,898 yards and 14 TDs. After not being drafted in 1990, Fred was signed by the Dallas Cowboys to compete in camp against Babe Laufenberg– where I’m sure Fred passed me walking down autograph alley at St. Edwards in Austin.  After being cut, McNair played for the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL where he was a member of the 79th Grey Cup Championship team.

Fred made the move to the WLAF in 1992, signing with the London Monarchs.   Although McNair was incumbent starting QB Stan Gelbaugh‘s backup, Fred did see significant playing time for the Monarchs. He’d throw for 668 yards and 3 TDs during his brief stint in the league. After the season, McNair returned stateside and began a solid career in the Arena leagues playing for the Albany Firebirds (1993-1995), Florida Bobcats (1996-2000), Carolina Cobras (2000-2001), and the Buffalo Destroyers (2002).  He also helped tutor his younger brother Steve for the rigors of the pro level.

Football hasn’t really stopped being a part of Fred McNair’s life. He spent some time at Millsaps University honing his skills as a coach, then jumped in at the OC level working with Mount Olive, (MS) helping the Pirates earn two State titles. After that he was head coach at Collins High School (MS), returning to Alcorn State in 2012 to serve as offensive coordinator.  In 2016 Fred became head coach of his Alma Mater, where he led Alcorn State to a 1st place finish at 5-4.

I had been meaning to get Fred on his Wild Card for some time, but I wasn’t sure if he signed TTM. I finally gave him a shot and was pleasantly surprised to get him in about 40 days.

ATT 105   CPD 55   YDS 668   PCT 52.4    TD 3   INT 4   RAT 65.9

ATT 2626  CPD 1504   YDS 19352   TD 340  INT 71  RAT 101.6

Parker, Carl

Cards:  ProSet WLAF 1991, Wild Card WLAF 1992, Ultimate WLAF 1992.
Acquired: TTM 2012, C/o home.
Sent: 6/11   Received: 6/26   (15 days)
Failure: TTM 2010, C/o Home RTS

Carl Parker was a standout receiver for Vanderbilt. The problem is Vandy is a doormat for many of the major football programs. Still over his three years with the Commodores, Parker totaled 118 catches and 1712 yards, including 42 passes for a 19.2 YPC and 12 touchdowns as a Senior. Carl signed with the Bengals in 1988 and was with them through 1989, before briefly catching on with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL in 1990. The Sacramento Surge of the WLAF drafted him in the 4th round of the 1991 positional draft in the 6th slot.

Quarterback Mike Elkins bonded with Carl quickly, and of the 13 touchdowns Elkins threw, Carl caught eight of them- good for second in the league. In fact, Carl caught touchdown passes in the last 7 contests, highlighted by his 2TD performance in the team’s upset of Frankfurt during the season finale. Parker received All-WLAF Second team honors, as the league’s 3rd leading receiver in both catches (52) and in yards receiving (801).  He also had 3 100+ yard receiving games, including 136 in a loss to London, and caught at least 1 ball in every game of the season.  Parker also did double duty on punt returns, ranking 4th in the league with an 8.5 yard average on 15 returns.

Carl returned for the 1992 season to Sacramento. It was a new team and a new attitude on offense, infused by journeyman David Archer at quarterback and future CFL All Stars, Eddie Brown and Mike Pringle on offense.  Carl had another good season with numbers worthy of being a number one on many teams, finishing 1992 with 42 receptions, for 657 yards, and 6 touchdowns. While the numbers weren’t as good as ’91, Parker helped the Surge raise the World Bowl trophy over their heads at the end of the season with their victory over the Orlando Thunder. The league though sought to restructure after the season, and the CFL admitted in the rival Surge and Riders. The Surge were rechristened the Gold Miners and Carl picked up a final season with them in the CFL. Carl played last for the first incarnation of the Albany Firebirds of the Arena Football League before finally hanging up his cleats.

WLAF Rec 94    Yds 1458   Avg  15.5   Td 14   Lg 48
Pr  15    Yds 127   Avg 8.5   Td 0   Lg 15