Cards: Topps XFL 2001, Score 2010 Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o The Chicago Bears Sent: 2/4/19 Received: 4/2/19 (59 days)
Mike Furrey has made a very interesting professional football journey. After not being drafted out of Northern Iowa in 2000, he’d sign with the Colts but not make the squad.
Undeterred, he’d join the renegade XFL in 2001, where he’d play wide receiver for the Las Vegas Outlaws. He’d snag 18 catches for 242 yards and a 41 yard TD. As the team’s primary punt returner Mike also returned 11 punts for 94 yards.
After the XFL folded, he’d play for the New York Dragons of the Arena football league, spending two years with them in 2002 and 2003. During both seasons he posted 1000+ yard seasons and display a knack for playing defensive back, intercepting 6 passes. He’d also play for the St. Louis Rams in both of those years as well and oddly enough play both wide receiver and defensive back for the team, posting 21 receptions for 197 yards, and then intercept 4 passes for 143 yards, deflect 8 passes, and return one 67 yards for a TD from free safety.
Obviously Mike’s curious stat lines drew him attention in the open market as he signed with the Detrot Lions in 2006. He’d have his finest season as a WR, with 98 receptions for 1086 yards and 6 TDs in 14 starts, and follow that up in 2007 with 61 receptions for 664 yards and a TD. After a subpar 2008, Mike made a stop with the Cleveland Browns in 2009- where he saw significant time again starting 4 games at WR while moonlighting at safety as well. After the season concluded he joined the Washington Redskins but did not make the squad.
Very soon thereafter, Mike went into college coaching and as of this post in 2019, is the wide receivers coach for the Chicago Bears.
Some very interesting design between these two cards. I love the Score 2010, almost as much as Score 2009. It’s got great color, and the slightly off white helps the image stand off the canvas just a little more. I especially like the use of the designs in the top corners of the card to give it that painted effect. This set felt like a direct heir to the 2009 set that I adore.
The Topps XFL card represented everything gaudy about the Attitude Era that bled from WWE into the XFL. It’s an underused design to have both the player’s face and an action image on the front of the card, but this one pulls it off- albeit just a bit over designed.
Jared played college ball for the Idaho State Bengals from 2000 to 2003. It should be noted that Allen experienced exponential growth in almost every statistical field every year he played for the Bengals. In his Senior year of 2003, he started 12 games and posted 102 combined tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks, 9 pass deflections, 6 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries- earning him the Buck Buchanan award for the nation’s best D-I defensive player. Despite Jared’s resume and imposing physique (6’6″, 265), he was not selected until the 4th round of the 2004 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Jared played 4 seasons for the Chiefs and much like his college career, experienced a strong upward curve in his statistical production. In his final season in Kansas City, Jared logged an NFL leading 15.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss, while catching 2 TD passes moonlighting on offense. He was named both to the Pro Bowl and an All-Pro.
Jared was traded by the Chiefs to the Vikings in 2008 in a blockbuster trade. Taking his talents to the NFC North, Jared again notched 2 more AP and Pro Bowl seasons with consecutive 14.5 sack seasons. After a ‘down year’ in 2010, Allen had a career high 22 sacks- missing the NFL sack record by just .5 sacks in the final game. He’d play two more years in Minnesota, and finish with an impressive 85.5 sacks in just 6 years.
Allen moved on to the Bears for 2014, but was moved to an OLB capacity in Chicago’s 3-4 alignment and record 5.5 sacks on the season. Jared was on the move again, traded to the Carolina Panthers 4 games into the season. He’d play in his first Super Bowl as the Panthers fell to the Broncos 24-10.
After the season, Jared retired but holds the NFL records for safeties (4-tied), consecutive games with a sack (11), and times leading the league in sacks (2). He has led a very interesting life post-retirement and has worked in charitable work with the Juvenile Diabetes Program, the NFL-USO tours, and the Wounded Warrior Project. Outside of that he’s an avid outdoorsman and curler, and put together a team of former NFL players to compete at a variety of national curling competitions.
I am so proud to be a part of @theAAF and be able to help change the game forever.
– Jared Allen
In 2018, Jared stunned the football world when he joined Bill Polian, Troy Polamalu, Justin Tuck, and founder Charlie Ebersol on stage to announce the Alliance of American Football. In the well rehearsed but quickly staged news conference Jared and Justin Tuck got up on a stage and sold the product like a tech start up. Forget the XFL. I was in and I was excited for the A-A-F.
Jared was in full throttle too, as both an investor and also in player relations. Oddly though, this was the most we saw of Jared for the remainder of the AAF’s short duration. He continued to strongly trumpet the league on social media, but as 2019 rolled around, this came to an abrupt stop.
In April of 2019, after hemorrhaging cash for most of its duration the AAF ended after just 8 games, as chief investor Tom Dundon pulled out his remaining investment.
Considering Jared’s through the mail track record, I was shocked to get this one back, little less in 12 days. I’d like to believe that the content of the letter matters and that players do read them.
Jared has a lot of great looking cards. It was very hard to trim it down to even 3 to send him, however I chose these 3 from his time as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. For once I was sort of underwhelmed by a Score 2009 entry, purely because it’s Jared celebrating after a sack. His hands both annoyingly go into the margin of the design and make the photo placement look careless. I really like the look of both the Upper Deck and the Adrenalyn cards while the Adrenalyn has a nice reflecting shine to it.
Merril Hoge. Few players angered me more than Merril Hoge during the Red Gun/ Run ‘N Shoot era of the Houston Oilers. I considered him an ‘arch’ and he loved saying nasty things about the upstart Oilers, who by 1987 had started becoming bullies in the AFC Central under head coach Jerry Glanville. The Steelers had finally gone into a deep depression, and the Oilers were eager to take the stick to their rivals. Nobody expected much of the Steelers in 1989 as they had just come off of a 5-11 record from the previous year. Despite this they rallied down the stretch and put together a 9-7 record. The Oilers had thumped the Steelers twice during the regular season, but they’d be denied in the playoffs losing 26-23, causing Jerry to lose his job. I want to even say that Hoge said something to the media nasty about the Oilers, and it just stuck with me all those years.
I remember opening up my first packs of cards, and in a lot of cases, there was a Merril Hoge card to twist the knife just a little more. Even when I played Tecmo Super Bowl, I was reticent to use Merril because of the fact that he epitomized that Steelers working man mantra and the upset that made me so sore. Then after his playing days concluded, he became a commentator, and the Oilers left Houston even- I still got a furrowed brow when he’d come on ESPN.
Dependable fullback Merril Hoge played for the Idaho State Bengals (a fact often repeated by national commentators almost every time he touched the ball) from 1983 to 1986. He finished his 4 years there with almost 5500 all-purpose yards, but more importantly the Big Sky Conference despite its trappings, prepared him for the rigors of pro level offenses.
After being selected in the 10th round of the 1987 draft, Merril played 7 seasons for the Steelers at fullback. A versatile player out of the backfield, Merril was an excellent receiver and blocker who was rarely missed an assignment. He had a career high 772 yards rushing in 1990, and a career high 487 yards receiving in 1988.
In 1994, Merril signed with the Chicago Bears, but suffered a terrible neck injury ending his career. Merril is also a cancer survivor beating non-hodskin’s lymphoma.
Merril had a great selection of cards, so it was tough to even settle on just these 4. His Score 1990 is one of my favorite, and was from a rain soaked affair versus the Miami Dolphins that year. (Sammie Smith has a corresponding card from that game, and Mike Mularkey has been immortalized in a sports photo from that game that ProSet did.) His Action Packed 1991 card does everything right in this one, and the determination on Merril’s face really makes you feel as though you are a part of the action.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.