Tag Archives: cleveland browns

Holland, Johnny ‘Mr. Everywhere’

Cards: ProSet 1990, Topps 1990, Action Packed 1990, Topps Stadium Club 1992
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o The Cleveland Browns
Sent:  11/28/16   Received:  1/6/17     (39 days)

Johnny Holland was one of the galvanizing forces behind the ‘Wrecking Crew’ of the Texas A&M defense during the dying days of the Southwest Conference of the mid to late 80s.  At the time of his graduation from A&M he was the school’s all-time leading tackler and garnered Johnny the nickname ‘Mr. Everywhere’.

In 1987, the Green Bay Packers selected Johnny with their second round pick of the draft.  The ’87 draft has an impressive pedigree of linebacker talent that included: Cornelius Bennett, Shane Conlan, Brian Bosworth (SUP), Dave Wyman, Winston Moss, Michael Brooks, Scott Stephen, Byron Evans, Hardy Nickerson, Al Smith, Dennis Gibson, Greg Lloyd, and Jessie Tuggle (UDFA). Johnny fit right in, and the Packers were glad to have him, as he’d earn team rookie of the year honors from the franchise.  Johnny was a smart, instinctual, consistent, and reliable force for the Packers over the next 6 seasons- prized traits for linebackers. Although not flashy, Holland could be counted on by the Pack to post 100+ tackle seasons with regularity. During the 1992 season he herniated a disc in his neck. He rehabbed from the injury and returned to form in 1993 recording a career high 145 tackles, but learned that he had blown a disc in his back during the season. Johnny opted to retire.

He jumped almost right into coaching from there in 1995, first with the Packers until 1999. Holland served in a variety of capacities from Special Teams to Linebackers to quality control.  He then spent the next 3 seasons with the Seahawks as an assistant conditioning coach, special teams, and linebackers coach. From 2003 to 2005 Johnny was an assistant defensive coach and Linebackers coach with the Lions before his longest stint with the Houston Texans (2006-2010) as their linebackers coach.  He’d coach for the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL in 2011, and then after serving 1 season as the LB coach of the Oakland Raiders (2012), Johnny took a dip in the pool of the CFL with the British Columbia Lions LB corps (2014-2015).  He coached the ILB crew of the Browns for 2016, and as of 2017 is with the 49ers in a similar capacity.

Beloved by the Packers’ faithful, Johnny was inducted into the franchise’s Hall of Fame in 2001.  He also has been honored by both Texas A&M (1993) and the Cotton Bowl (2000) for his contributions to the sport.

Johnny is a very good signer through the mail. He signed these 4 cards for me via the Browns back in 2016. Johnny’s Proset 1990 card is a beast and his Stadium Club entry does not disappoint either.  The other two entries are kinda bad. Action Packed gives an entry of him from behind. That’s not what  you want to see, however I selected it because I got so many duplicates of this card when I used to get them at the 7-11 I might as well get it signed too. Topps 1990 suffered from a lot of bad things. Bad design and lazy photography riddled the set. Still it was a foundation of my set collecting of my childhood and sometimes the portrait photos of the players just stick with me, like this one of Johnny.

G/GS  103/100    TAC 777     SAC  3.5      FUM  15
INT  9     YDS  130      AVG  14.4      TD  0      LG  32

Byner, Earnest (2)

ud91 byner MVP pset89 byner

Cards: Upper Deck 1991 Team MVP, ProSet 1989, ProSet 1989 Traded, Skybox 1992, GameDay 1992
Acquired: 2012, Canton Acquisition. 2016, Future Considerations.
See Also: Earnest Byner

After his stint as a coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars runningback coach from 2010 to 2011 Earnest Byner was signed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneer staff in 2012 serving under Greg Schiano. Unfortunately Shiano’s style didn’t mesh in the pros, and he was gone after two seasons. Byner was not retained as ownership decided to clean house after 2013.

Since that time Earnest has addressed ‘The Fumble’ in public, apologizing to fans for what happened, and giving a tear-jerking recollection of it during the 30 for 30 ESPN documentary “Believeland”.   Time heals all wounds though and the vast majority of Browns fans really embrace Byner as one of their own without judgement.  It goes without saying that it’s great that Byner has been able to move on from what happened- something that he said stuck with him and changed his playing style for the remainder of his career in the NFL.

Earnest has done a lot of motivational speaking too. He also has no problem engaging his fans in public and is very popular in Cleveland. My friend DeadHorse scored these Byner autographs for me along with Kevin Mack and Greg Pruitt at an Ohio based Cleveland Browns event they attended.  DeadHorse was kind enough to accommodate me on the 3 cards which I felt were his best action shots of Byner (Skybox 1992, ProSet 1989 CLE, and GameDay 1992).

Tupa, Tom ‘Two Point Tupa’

pset90_ttupapset91_ttupa
Cards: Proset 1990, Proset 1991, Fleer 1990
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent:  4/7      Received: 4/15    (8 days)

Tom Tupa was selected in the 3rd round of the 1988 draft by the then Phoenix Cardinals out of Ohio State. Unbeknownst to even the Cardinals, the franchise was at the beginning of a long search to find an answer at quarterback to replace long time quarterback Neil Lomax– whose career quickly declined after 1988, due to injury and an arthritic hip. After Lomax’s sudden departure left Phoenix in a lurch in 1989, the Cardinals staffed a platoon at quarterback with Gary Hogeboom, Timm Rosenbach, and Tom sharing the workload. Tom threw for 973 yards and 3 TDs- to 9 interceptions, while suiting up for 14 contests.  He also got to showcase his impressive skills as a punter filling in for injured starter Rich Camarillo in a pinch. After not seeing any playtime in 1990, Tom spent one final season in Phoenix. He’d win 4 games in 11 starts and throw for a career high 2053 yards and 6 TDs.

1991 led to a short stay in Indianapolis for Tom. Afterwards he bolted for Cleveland. He spent the next three seasons with the Browns. It’d be in 1994 that Tom finally made a rare positional move from quarterback to punter. One could also argue at this point, that Tom had become the best emergency quarterback in the NFL. In 1996, Tupa signed with the New England Patriots and punted for them through the 1998 season.

In 1999, Tom had his finest season as a pro playing for the New York Jets. He’d earn Pro Bowl and All Pro Honors after the season punting 81 times for 3659 yards. Tupa played for the Jets through the 2001 season, before playing for the Buccaneers for 2002 and 2003.  His final season came in 2004 with the Redskins – a year in which Tom set career highs for punts (103) and yards (4544), earning him an invitation as a Pro Bowl alternate.

In a small bit of trivia, Tom is known as ‘Two Point Tupa’, for scoring the league’s first 2 point conversion, and repeating it two more times later in the season.

Tom as of 2016 was a coach at a local high school in Ohio. He signed these 3 cards for me in a bit over a week. ProSet had a major soft spot for Tom and I wasn’t really sure why, covering him in their 1990 and 1991 entries. Notably Score and Topps didn’t make early first or second year cards of Tom.  Fleer 1990 was the company’s first foray back into the football card market in many years. The set was novel looking enough, with nice action shots, but the design of the card itself did not age well with the abstract metal football logo, and the random team helmet just sort of haphazardly thrown on there.

G/GS 220/13     ATT 504      COMP 259       YDS  3430       PCT  51.5%
TD 12       INT  25       RAT 60.5
RUSH 53      YDS 187     AVG 3.5     TD 1       LG   17
P  873      YDS  37862      AVG  43.4        LG  73