Tag Archives: baltimore ravens

Testaverde, Vinny

Cards: Action Packed 1992, ProSet 1991 Heisman Hero
Acquired: TTM 1992, C/o The Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Vinny Testaverde was a Heisman Trophy winner while at the University of Miami in 1986 under head coach Jimmy Johnson. He’d declare as a Junior and enter into the 1987 NFL draft following the season. Testaverde would go #1 to the Buccaneers and would start 4 games during his rookie season. In 1988 he’d take over full time as the starter, to disasterous results, throwing for a modern day record of 35 interceptions and a 48.8 quarterback rating. (The 35 were the most since George Blanda from the AFL threw 42.) The good news was he was playing in Tampa- so nobody cared or had big expectations. Testaverde was also fortunate not to play in an age with an aggressive media, as quarterbacks are normally now given 3 seasons and are sent packing. Vinny would never, in 6 seasons with the Bucs, throw for more touchdowns than interceptions, nor win more than 6 games in a season. To say the least, nobody was really surprised when Vinny was allowed to leave Tampa. He’d sign with the Browns in 1993 and immediately turn his career around. His touchdown to interception ratio would flip, and he’d also post his first winning mark in 1994 with a 9-4 record, and transition with the Browns to Baltimore. Testaverde would also become better at making decisions, and despite Baltimore posting a 4-12 record in 1996, he’d throw for a career high 33 touchdowns and only 19 interceptions. After the 1997 season, he’d sign with the Jets and playing under Bill Parcells, would post a 12-1 record, and throw only 7 picks in 421 throws, making him a crowd favorite.  Injury would curtail his 1999 season, but he’d be back in 2000 leading the league in attempts with 590 throws, but also with 25 interceptions. After a pretty decent 2001 season in which he went 10-6, Testaverde would only start spottingly over the next 2 seasons, before he signed at the ripe age of 41 in 2004 with the Cowboys- and his old coach Bill Parcells. He’d lead the league in interceptions with 20, and then resign again with the Jets in 2005 where he hung on for the season playing in 6 games.  In 2006, he’d play a season for the Patriots, and then finally get his wings and retire in 2007 as a backup for the Carolina Panthers at 44 years old, the second oldest quarterback in league history to take a snap. On the last play of the season he ran in and kneeled he ball to end the game, ironically on the home field of the team he started with- Tampa Bay.

I got Vinny Testaverde’s autograph through the mail from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the last season he was with the team. I also had his Starting Lineup action figure as well in that awesome candy orange. Vinny Testaverde is also color blind. It’s interesting to see how Vinny’s career ended up progressing. The franchise quarterback, turns into a hired gunslinger, then becomes a fan favorite and then an aged journeyman. In the end, even though he didn’t do it all right, Testaverde did have a somewhat storied career. The furthest he’d ever advance was the championship game while setting the modern NFL record for most losses by an NFL quarterback at 123. He also holds the NFL record: for throwing touchdowns to 70 different players and in 21 straight seasons. While his legacy remains clouded and his career ended up better than advertised, Testaverde will always be remembered for his tenacity and willingness to play through adversity.

G/Gs 233/214      Att 6701    Comp 3787   Pct 56.5     Yds 46233      Td 275   Int 267   Rat 75.0

Harbaugh, Jim ‘Captain Comeback’

Cards: Fleer 1990, GameDay 1992
Acquired:  TTM, C/o Stanford University, 2010.
Sent: 2/3   Received: 8/13  (210 days)

Jim Harbaugh was drafted from the University of Michigan in the first round of the 1987 draft by the Chicago Bears, – 5 years after taking incredibly popular Jim McMahon. The Bears had a long history up to this point of being a vaunted ground attack with Walter Peyton and later Neal Anderson. Over the team’s history, (as of 2009) the Bears had only 1 quarterback repeat as a 3,000 yard passer.

Harbaugh rode the bench for the Bears through 1989, when McMahon was traded to the San Diego Chargers.  Jim claimed the starting role but still had to look over his shoulder with Mike Tomczak backing him up.  Jim in 1991 threw for 3121 yards (2nd in team history). In 1994, Harbaugh was traded to the Colts, after finishing second on the career yardage list for the Chicago Bears.

Jim led an improbable Colts team back from the dead, into the playoffs and one game away from the Superbowl, knocking out the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers. During the 1995 season Harbaugh would have perhaps his finest moment leading the NFL in passer rating, being named AFC player of the year, NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and finished second in the NFL MVP race.  By 1997, the Colts fell back down to the Earth, and Harbaugh again would find himself traded, this time to the Baltimore Ravens.  He’d sign with the Chargers in 1999, but by 2000 he was splitting time with Ryan Leaf. Harbaugh then suited up briefly with the Lions and Panthers before retiring.

In retrospect over Jim’s playing career, he was a cannon armed quarterback who had to learn the minutia of the NFL game. He was a formidable rusher finishing with 2700 yards, a 5.0 average, and 18 touchdowns over his career. Jim was rough around the edges and was prone to force the ball, especially early in his career, but once surrounded with the right talent and placed in the right offense to hone his skills and check down targets properly, Harbaugh briefly became one of the most dangerous quarterbacks of his era.

Jim Harbaugh had been planning all along to go into coaching. From 1994-2001 while he was still in the NFL, Harbaugh was working as an offensive consultant and scout for Western Kentucky University. He then hopped over to the Raiders  for two seasons, and by 2004 was head coach of the University of San Diego.  In 2005 Harbaugh was named to the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor where he was dubbed ‘Captain Comeback’ by the Colts faithful during his playing days there. By 2007 he was head coach at Stanford University defeating rival USC in the what is considered to be the greatest upset in college football history (43 point favorite) and in 2009 hung a record 55 points on them, where the Cardinals were named to their first bowl game since 2001.  Jim also has pursued a variety of hobbies, including his foundations and a variety of children’s hospitals. He is also co-owner of Panther Racing in the Indianapolis Racing League. In 2011, he took over as head coach of the San Fransisco 49ers.

Jim Harbaugh gets the ironman award for the longest response, clicking in at 210 days. Nonetheless I was quite pleased to notch this former decorated Chicago Bear in my collection.

GS 140   Att  3918   Comp 2305  Pct 58.8
Yds 26288    Td  129     Int 117    Rat 77.6

Byner, Earnest

Cards: Action Packed 1991, Action Packed 1992, Pro Set 1990.
Acquired: In Person 1993, CGA Youth Golf  Tournament

Earnest Byner is best known for being the scapegoat from the 1987 Denver/ Cleveland playoff game entitled ‘the fumble’ when Byner played for the Browns.  It is a shame because he actually was a very good player outside of this incident.

Byner was stolen in the 10th round of the 1984 draft  by the Cleveland Browns after graduating from East Carolina. A well rounded player he could play fullback or halfback, because he was a great blocker, receiver, and tenacious runner. He worked his way into the lineup and by 1985 had a breakthrough season with over 1,000 yards rushing and 400 yards receiving.

After a subpar 1988, Byner was traded for Mike Oliphant to the Washington Redskins, where the second phase of his career would begin. This would also turn into one of the most lopsided trades (Herschel Walker trade aside)  in the history of the league as Byner would lead the Redskins to the Superbowl in 1992. After his playing days with the Redskins were over, Byner returned to the Browns (1994-1995), before the franchise up and left for Baltimore where he finished his playing career in 1997.

After retiring Byner comfortably moved right into the coaching ranks and has seen stints with the Ravens, Redskins, Titans, and as of 2010 is with the Jaguars. He was also named as one of the 70 Greatest Redskins and was the first player inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor in 2001. Earnest showed up at the CGA Youth Golf Tournament and made us chase his golf cart. He signed on the move surprisingly well and was paired up with Steve McMichael during the tourney.

Games 211/132   Att  2095         Yds  8261          Avg  3.9              Td  56           lg 54
Rec 512   Yds  4605   Avg 9.0   Td   15     lg 40