Tag Archives: berlin thunder

Ragone, Dave

Card: SPX 2003  (0331/1100)
Acquired: 2017, EBay

Dave Ragone was one of the granddaddy’s of Louisville respectability when it comes to quarterbacks. He posted some good numbers there while with the Cardinals as a 3 year starter setting numerous records at the school, finishing 685/1180 for 8564 yards and 74 TDs to just 29 interceptions.  He was picked near the top of round 3 by the Houston Texans in the 2003 NFL draft.

At the time the young Houston Texans franchise were looking to groom a competent, low cost backup to incumbent starter David Carr.  (The sexy thing to do in the league during those days was to groom a 3rd stringer that had potential enough to entice other teams to drop draft picks in order to get after a one game audition.) The pick by the Texans was widely panned.  Dave got to start 2 games his rookie season throwing for 135 yards and an interception.

Ragone went to NFL Europe in the meantime. He’d play for the Berlin Thunder in 2005 and was named the league’s Offensive MVP, as he threw for 1,746 yards and 13 TDs en route to an appearance in World Bowl XII.  Dave returned to the Texans and backed up David Carr for the full 16 game slate, not seeing any action.

In 2006, the Texans team was completely scrapped, front office down. The Texans new head coach Gary Kubiak decided to go in another direction at quarterback and waived Ragone. He’d be claimed by the Bengals and quickly traded to the to the Rams, who cut him during training camp.

Dave has gone into coaching since his playing days ended, first being seen on the pro scene honing his skills as a quarterbacks coach (under his former OC from Houston, Chris Palmer) for the UFL Hartford Colonials, helping to turn Josh McCown into the biggest UFL success story.  He then had stops with the Titans (2011-2013) as both a WR and later as a QB coach, the Redskins (2015) as an offensive quality control coach, and finally with the Bears, who he has been the quarterbacks coach of since 2016.

G/GS 2/2    ATT 40    COMP 20    YDS 135     PCT 50.0
TD 0     INT 1      RAT 47.4
RUSH  6     YDS  51   AVG 8.5         TD 0              LG 14

ATT 251   COMP 158  YDS 1746   PCT 62.9  TD 13   INT 2   RAT 97.5
RUSH 35    YDS 166    AVG 4.7    TD 1   LG 14T

Johnson, Lee

tntafl14 lee johnsonCard: TNT AFL 2014
Acquired: IP 5/17/14, San Antonio Talons vs. New Orleans Voodoo

Coach Johnson is a veteran of many leagues as both a player and a coach. He’s spent time in the NFL, CFL, NFLE, and AFL. Among his highlights, Johnson coached the defensive line of the Berlin Thunder to two consecutive World Bowl Championships in both 2001 and 2002. He then coached the Denver Crush to the Arena Football Championship in 2004. After taking the reins of the Talons, he coached them to a 14-4 record and a division title, in 2012.

After the San Antonio Talons game against the Iowa Barnstormers I gave out my custom cards to many players on the field. It created such a stir that Coach Johnson came over and asked me where his was. After I joked with him a few seconds about sharing the same first name, he quickly extracted a promise from me to make a custom for him as well.

I arrived at the Talons game versus the Voodoo early as usual. After talking to the COO of the Talons and giving him a copy of the set, he went over to Lee to show him what I had done. Coach immediately came over and talked to me with a broad smile, signed the card and thanked me for the extras. He asked me what I wanted for the cards I made and gave to him, but as usual the most important thing for me is the autograph gracing the card for my own collection, and their enduring happiness and willingness to chase their dreams. You know, on that note, I have always subscribed to the ultimate belief that a true gift is one that is not expected, and for purposes of what I had given to each of these players I know it meant a lot to them.


Ware, Andre ‘Air Ware’ (2)

pset90 wareCards: Pro Set 1990, Upper Deck College Legends 2011
Acquired: 4/30/15, Houston Texans Draft Party
See Also: Andre Ware ‘Air Ware’

Lance and I arrived at the 2015 Houston Texans Draft Party with high hopes, but were ultimately disappointed when we didn’t have cards of the Ambassadors who showed up, and the players I did have a card of were only taking photo ops. Queue the Astrodome air raid siren, because Andre Ware came to the rescue.

As Lance and I made our way towards the photo op booth, I heard a familiar voice on TV. Andre Ware was being interviewed on Fox Spots Southwest. Recognizing that the broadcast was taking place in the stadium, I walked over to one of the people working at the stadium and asked them where Andre was. The stadium employees identified it as being at radio row where only the VIP fans were allowed. We got as close as the elevator, and after borrowing a pen and waiting for about 15 minutes, Lance and I decided to locate the ground floor exit of the VIP area to get a better vantage point.  We walked for about 5 minutes, and emerging out of the crowd from the other direction, wasudlgd11 ware Andre Ware. Kudos to Andre for cheerfully signing 2 cards for me and Lance, even though he had his hands full with two kids by his side and all their stuff.

I can’t encourage collectors enough to build out a compact and expanded box of cards that covers the full gamut of players, former players, and sports personalities. With Andre covering the Texans on the radio as a color commentator and also being  a local legend, it made sense to have a few extras on the off chance he did make an appearance.  Otherwise  these are great cards of Ware, and leaves me with only a handful of extras that I would love to have autographed for my collection.