Tag Archives: arizona wranglers

Spencer, Tim

to90 spencerCards: Score 1990, Fleer 1990, Topps 1990
Acquired: TTM 2015, C/o The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sent:  9/22  Received: 10/9     (17  days)

Tim Spencer was another one of these unheralded runningbacks from the mid-80s. He had his shining moment as one of the players in the rival United States Football League, then popped up again briefly as a fullback and change of pace back for Marion Butts, Gary Anderson, Lionel James or whomever else was in the lineup.

After finishing second in Ohio State rushing history behind Archie Griffin,  Spencer was drafted by the Chicago Blitz of the USFL where he quietly racked up 300 carries for 1,157 flr90 spenceryards and 6TDs in 1983.  In his second year with the league, he had a career best 17 TDs rushing and 1,212 yards with the Arizona Wranglers. As the league imploded, Spencer continued to run hard, this time for the Memphis Showboats. He’d contribute another 789 yards and 3 TDs.

The Chargers wisely invested an 11th round choice in Spencer in 83. This paid dividends immediately following the disolution of the USFL in 1985.  He’d hop in as a short yardage blocking back rushing for 478 yards and an NFL career high 10 TDs. Tim played for the Chargers through the 1990 season with his best yards from scrimmage season coming in 1989 when he logged 521 yards rushing. At that time Score, Fleer, and Topps all created cards of sco90 spencerTim. Since I did not have his USFL issue- these 3 fit the bill nicely.

Tim has gone into coaching. He joined Ohio State’s staff in 1994 and gained valuable experience on their staff as a runningback coach. He jumped to the NFL level in 2004 with the Bears, holding that position until 2012. He joined the Buccaneers coaching staff in 2014 and remains on their staff as of 2016.

USFL   54       RUSH  725    YDS 3158     AVG  4.4    TD  26  LG  n/a |
REC  72     YDS  1047    AVG  14.5    TD 4       LG n/a

NFL 78/46    RUSH 474    YDS 1792   AVG  3.8    TD 19    LG 24  |
REC   53    YDS  432    AVG 8.2     TD 0    LG 43
KR 6       YDS 97       AVG 16.2       TD 0     LG 21

Gabriel, Roman

Cards: ProSet WLAF 1991, ProSet WLAF Helmet 1991, ProSet 1991, UD Legends 2005
Acquired:  TTM 2011, C/o RG Enterprises*
Sent: 11/9     Received:  11/23  (14  days)
Failure: TTM 2010, C/o RG Enterprises*
*Signing fee $10 per card

Embarrassingly I am a fan who grew up after the Roman Gabriel era, and my memories of him is neither as quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams or Philadelphia Eagles, but rather as head coach of the woeful Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks from the WLAF circa 1991. These were the only cards I had in my collection of him, and after being informed of his stiff signing fee of $10 per signature, I waited sometime before contacting him a second time for an autograph. He kindly enclosed an Upper Deck legends card from 2005 as well, and thanked me for writing.

An all-around athlete for NC State, Roman Gabriel was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1962 as the second overall pick. (He was also chosen in the AFL draft by the Oakland Raiders.) Choosing to sign with the Rams, Gabriel would go on to become perhaps the most successful Asian-American in American Football, rewriting many of the passing records for the Rams franchise (later rewritten by Jim Everett), once he was made the starting quarterback in 1966.  After flirting with the AFL and signing with the Raiders,  Roman would stay put with the signing of head coach George Allen. His patience would be rewarded, as Gabriel would be named the NFL’s MVP in 1969. As knee and shoulder injuries began to take their toll on Gabriel, he’d be traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1973 and help right the ship of the woeful Eagles franchise. He’d be named comeback player of the year in 1973. Over the last few seasons he’d play sparingly as a backup quarterback until his retirement after the 1977 season. Gabriel’s strongest attributes were his powerful arm, his excellent decision making abilities, and he’d finish his career with an 84-67-7 record.

Roman has remained active in the sports arena after retirement and dabbled in acting. Besides owning some car dealerships, he worked as a color commentator and served as a head coach. In this capacity among his notable stops were that Gabriel was head coach at Cal Poly Ponoma, offensive coordinator of the USFL Boston Breakers in 1983,  quarterbacks coach of the Arizona Wranglers in 1984,  and finally at his gruesome stop as first- general manager and then finally as head coach of the WLAF Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks. Unfortunately things didn’t work out for Gabriel the way he had hoped as the Skyhawks finished 0-10 in their only season in the league.  Since that time he has diversified his interests and is deeply committed to charitable work. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989.



G 184/157     Att  4498   Comp 2366   Yds  29444   Pct  52.6     Td 201     Int 149    Rat  74.3
Rush  358     Yds  1304   Avg 3.6    Td  30    Lg 39


Saxon, Mike

Cards: Fleer 1990, Score 1992, ProSet 1992
Acquired: In Person 1990, 1992, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp

Mike Saxon, (hailing from Arcadia, Ca) was originally an 11th round draft choice of the Detroit Lions in 1984.After not making the roster, he’d try out for the Arizona Wranglers of the USFL.  Unable to make the team he would end up on the Tom Landry Cowboys in 1985.  Saxon would become one of the underrated punters in Cowboys’ history, pinning more teams inside their own 20 than any other punter during his time on the Cowboys from 1985-1992. Mike would earn a Super Bowl ring with the team in 1992, completing the circle from worst to first with the team, but the team considered his position a ‘budget’ position, so he’d play one season in 1993 for the New England Patriots- where he’d have 3 blocks, contributing to his release from the team. Saxon would finish out his career playing two more seasons for the Minnesota Vikings in 1994 and 1995. For a guy two teams didn’t want, Saxon made it count for the 14 solid and serviceable seasons he was in the NFL. Since football Mike has been involved in roofing and construction for commercial and residential markets and is also involved with Savant Energy providing green alternatives to the market. He occasionally also makes appearances at Dallas Cowboys games as well.

Punts 813   Yds 33887  Avg   41.7    Blk 7