Tag Archives: Carolina Panthers

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

Foster, Barry

Card: Action Packed Rookies 1990
Acquired: TTM 1992, C/o The Pittsburgh Steelers

Barry Foster. Quite an interesting player and career, but first a segway. I started playing fantasy football way back in 1990, so when my friends ‘discovered it’ in 1992, they casually omitted me from the league draft for some reason. The commissioner allowed me to join the league after their draft and I quickly assembled a competent group of free agents and players that included Barry Foster and Gary Clark into a team called the ‘Pennsylvania Pinto Beans’. I would dominate the first two weeks of the league until complaints from other owners arose, and the commissioner unceremoniously disbanded my team, stating that my team was ‘stacked unfairly’- even though my team was built from street free agents and no draft choices. Whatever.

I sent off for Barry during that season, partially because of my fantasy football success, and also because I am enamored with the Action Packed series of football cards. The embossed figures and gold lines really felt- well manly, and were just exemplary cards to get autographed.  I thought that Barry’s autograph was a fake- because it is so ‘pedestrian looking’ but after researching his signature it does appear to be this simple. Barry Foster was a fullback from Arkansas drafted by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 1990 draft.  After a rough start in a game I saw on TV where he was assigned to the kickoff team in his rookie season and let a live football bounce past him on a kickoff, Foster slowly improved and eventually find himself inserted into the starting lineup.

By 1991, Foster had become a bruising powerback and after an injury plagued year, really turned on the jets in 1992 with 390 carries, breaking Franco Harris’ team rushing record. Barry was voted to the Pro Bowl after the season and was the AFC offensive player of the year.  Unfortunately injuries limited his effectiveness the rest of his career. Barry would start off strong each season, but his body frame couldn’t sustain the 16 game schedule. In 1995 he was signed by the Carolina Panthers, but failed the physical- to which he was quickly signed by the Bengals and retired. (He appears I believe on Tecmo Super Bowl Final Edition as a member of the Panthers, even though he never played a down for them.)

Barry had always been looking ahead, and loved coaching. He had been budgeting his money for retirement. At one point I had heard a rumor that he was a cop, but this turned out to be untrue. Foster would become a part of the NFL’s minority coaching fellowship and by 2003 was coaching in the NFLE for the Rhien Fire. He also participates in junior sports and football camps for kids.

G/Gs   62/44   Att 915   Yds  3943  Avg 4.3  Td 26   Lg 69 |
Rec 93   Yds 804   Avg 8.6  Td 2   Lg 42


Jeter, Tommy

Card: Star Pics 1992
Acquired: In Person 1994, Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp

Tommy Jeter played for the Texas Longhorns during the waning days of the Southwestern Conference, (which consisted at that point of a bunch of teams from Texas after Arkansas left). He’d be drafted in the 3rd round by the Philadelphia Eagles, where I’d get his autograph in West Chester in 1995.  Although he was well sized at 6-5, 285, Jeter would rarely get playing time under Rich Kotite and Ray Rhodes, and injuries took its toll on the young defensive lineman as he spent the greater part of his final season with the Eagles on IR before being released. Jeter would then sign with the Arizona Cardinals and be cut in training camp and then end up with the Panthers before retiring in 1996.

I think I got like 14 or 15 autographs on my trip to West Chester that year. My parents felt bad because I wanted to go to the Pro Football HoF but we were unable to go even though we were in the general area.  I think the biggest haul I got from this group was Herschel Walker, but Randall Cunningham completely denied me, by dropping my card on the ground outside the fence and insisting I already got one from him, – even though I hadn’t.  Training camp there was set up much the same way as Cowboys training camp, with a long metal fence that players walked by, but a lot less fans. It was interesting too because the player’s wives came out with them too, almost like they were trying to show them off to the crowd. Tommy was a really nice guy. He saw that I was wearing my high school hat, and asked me, “What I was doing here and how was Austin?”

G/GS  32/0    Tac  15    Sac   1    FF  0     Int 0   Yds 0   Avg -.-  Td 0