Tag Archives: arizona rattlers

Nittmo, Bjorn

Pro Set World League 1991, #91

Cards: Pro Set World League 1991, Ultimate World League 1992
Acquired: TTM 2021, C/o Home
Sent: 6/21 Received: 7/24 (33 days)
Failure: TTM 2010, C/o Home

CAREER SNAPSHOT:

  • At time of graduation, was Appalachian State’s all-time leading scorer with 277 points, and field goals made (62).

  • Undrafted in 1989, tasted first NFL action later that year with the New York Giants. 

  • Scored 39 points in 6 games, converting 9 of 12 field goals as injury replacement for Raul Allegre.

  • After failing to beat out Nick Lowery in camp in 1990 with the Chiefs, was the #1 overall pick amongst kickers in the WLAF positional draft by the Montreal Machine in 1991.

  • Paired with punter Chris Mohr to form the best special teams duo in the World League.

  • Scored 51 points on 13 of 18 field goals for the Machine in 1991, setting numerous league records along the way including most field goals in a game (4, Orlando), and longest field goal (50 yards, SA).
     
  • After season concluded, signed alongside Mohr to the Buffalo Bills, but failed to unseat incumbent kicker Scott Norwood.

  • Joined the Cleveland Thunderbolts of the Arena Football League in 1993 playing one season with the franchise.

  • Hopped over to the CFL, kicking for the Shreveport Pirates in 1994 and 95.

  • After two more attempts at making an NFL roster in 1996 (Chiefs) and 1997 (Bucs), returned to the Arena Football League in 1998.
  • Played for the Tampa Bay Storm (1998), Buffalo Destroyers (1999), Arizona Rattlers (2000), and Carolina Cobras (2001).

  • Briefly reemerged for a comeback attempt in 2005 and was an offseason addition for the Ottawa Renegades, retiring soon thereafter. 

ACCOLADES:

  • All World League 1991 Second Team
Ultimate World League 1992, #85

NFL

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131292.391275.03939

WLAF

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272488.9282071.45084

CFL

XPAXPMPCTFGAFGMPCTLGPTS
7272100.0917481.3N/A306

ARENA

XPAXPMPCTFGAFGMPCTLGPTS
29827391.61626037.0N/A453

NOTES:

Bjorn Nittmo was the first Swede to play professional gridiron football and is considered an ambassador of the sport. While playing for the Giants, late night host David Letterman fell in love with his name and made jokes about it, leading to two appearances by Nittmo on Letterman’s show in late 1989 and early 1990. In 1999, Bjorn also appeared in the movie Any Given Sunday and was the placekicker for the Sharks.

Nittmo is unfortunately a long study in concussions and CTE. After taking a bone crunching hit during the preseason with the Bucs, he was never the same again. His short term memory was severely damaged by the injury and he apparently has dealt mood swings. Estranged from his family, he became a nomad of sorts, moving around the country, picking up jobs here and there. Over the years, multiple articles have been written about his case, so after failing out in 2010 on him- not knowing he was estranged from his family, I tracked him down in Northern Arizona of all places.

It’s a small world really. Back in 2007 I drove through Northern Arizona, and passed through the town he was living in. The only reason I remember it was because it was in the middle of nowhere, and it was just a blip on the radar, so I honed in on his location and wrote him a letter.

I was shocked to get a response from this ‘white whale’ in less than 30 days. It was nice hearing from him. I know his life has been… hard- over the last few years, but I hope that he is making the best of it and trying to better himself.

As a final note, I’d like to thank those out there who have collaborated with me over the years to find World League players. I have been at this for many years now. This is a success, for me personally, a triumph of singularity that others can only claim to have found, but more than likely got from me. – There is no reason I shouldn’t toot my horn about this one.

Nonetheless, I hope that this information finds its way into the right hands, and reunites some more players with each other and brings back fond memories of their time in the World League.

Tucker, Mark ‘Rebel’

Card: Wild Card World League 1992
Acquired: TTM 2020, C/o Work
Sent: 9/16 Received: 10/8 (22 days)

A four-year starter at right guard for USC from 1987 to 1990, Mark Tucker was selected in the 7th round of the 91 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons spending most of the year on the practice squad. The next year he joined the Colts in a similar capacity and then was allocated to the Frankfurt Galaxy of the World League where he spent a season with the squad in 1992.

After the World League reorganized, Mark joined the Arizona Cardinals, playing for them the next two seasons (1993-1994). In the meantime, Mark moonlighted on ‘American Gladiators’ as an injury replacement gladiator named ‘Rebel’. His interesting career journey continued from there spending a season with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an expansion selection in 95. With the following season under his belt with the New Orleans Saints in 96, Tucker decided to take his talents to the Arena Football League, playing for the Arizona Rattlers. He experienced his best football years with the franchise, and played from 1997 to 2006 with the squad.

Mark quickly jumped into coaching offensive and defensive lines for the Rattlers, and then later the New Orleans Voodoo. He moved to the high school ranks, where he has become an acclaimed position coach over the last 20 years.

Swann, Eric

aprks91 eswannCards: Action Packed Rookies 1991, GameDay 1992
Acquired: 2016, Paid Signing

Eric Swann does not sign through the mail. When I saw this affordable signing, it was a no brainer to go ahead and send out two of my favorite cards.

Swann took a unique route to the pro level. Academically ineligible he was unable to begin college at NC State. Instead he enrolled in JC at Wake Technical, but left soon thereafter to join the semi professional football Bay State Titans in 1990.  During his single season with the Titans, Swann rocked the league with 72 total tackles, 11 sacks, 4 blocked field goals, and 4 forced fumbles playing at both defensive end and tackle.

The Arizona Cardinals fell in love with Swann’s unusual combination of size (6’3″, 311), strength (bench press of 400+ lbs), and speed (4.98 40). They’d select Eric with the 6th pick of the first round during the 1991 draft. He’d be the first non-college player chosen in the first round since Emil Sitko was selected by the Rams in 1946.

gday92 eswannSwann’s rookie season was slowed by injuries. Shortly after taking the field in minicamp, he blew out his knee and had to have arthroscopic surgery.  He’d see action in 12 games though, starting 3, and record 4 sacks to go along with 22 tackles.  Swann over the next few years solidified his role on the Cardinal defense, recording a career high 70 tackles in 1992, and 7 sacks in 1994.  Eric also recorded a safety in 3 straight seasons from 1992 to 1994.

1995 marked the first time in some 30 years that a defensive lineman from the Cardinals was named to the Pro Bowl, as Eric recorded the first of his two nominations, with 45 tackles, a career high 8.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble. A 1996 followup yielded another 3 fumble recoveries, 5 sacks, and 60 tackles.  Although Swann had an equally dominant 1997 campaign with 7.5 sacks and 52 tackles, he did not see any further Pro Bowls. Eric played for the Cardinals through the 1999 season, joining the Panthers for a final season in 2000.  At the time of his departure from the deserts of Arizona, Swann was the most decorated and feared lineman to play for the Cardinals.

Swann briefly popped up on the football radar again in 2007 playing for the Hudson Valley Saints, and later the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League in 2008.  He was also inducted into the Semi-Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

G/Gs 126/87        Tac 386          Sac 46.5         Fum 6
Int 2          Yds  42         Avg 21.0          Td  1         Lg 42t