Tag Archives: cleveland browns

Shula, Don

Card: ProSet 1991
Acquired:  TTM 1992, C/o The Miami Dolphins

Don Shula was a member of the newly merged Cleveland Browns a season after they joined the NFL. Playing defensive back on that stacked team, he rarely if ever saw any playing time, but still managed to make 4 interceptions his rookie season. He’d be traded to the Baltimore Colts in one of the largest player trades of all time getting 4 seasons in with the team continuing his strong play making 14 interceptions. In 1957, Don played his final season with the Washington Redskins making 3 more interceptions.

G  73       Tac  N/a       Sac N/a      Fum   4
Int 21      Yds  267     Avg 12.7     Td 0    Lg 35

This would not end Don Shula’s football career as he would make the transition into coaching. After a small stint in college at the University of Virginia,  Don was back in the pro ranks as an assistant for the Detroit Lions from 1960-1962 (defensive coordinator). He was then rewarded with the head coaching job in Baltimore in 1963 at the age of 33, which was the youngest coach in the league at the time. Don would spend the next 7 seasons there winning 71 contests but losing two championships (1964, and SuperBowl III).

In 1970 the Miami Dolphins signed Don as their head coach and were charged with tampering forfeiting their first round choice that year. Because of the odd nature of the timing- negotiating before the AFL/NFL merger, but signing afterwards, Miami had to suffer the consequences because they were now merged leagues.  Shula would go on to become one of the ‘Big 3’ coaches (Landry, Shula and, Noll,) in the NFL’s modern era. Shula’s teams during the 70s had dominating defensive units and offensive lines supported by a ground game which allowed them to excel against their NFL counterparts. His team would reach the big game by 1971. Shula’s 1972 unit is the only team to finish undefeated in NFL history winning all its regular season games and post season contests (17-0) and in 1973 they’d return again winning this time against the Minnesota Vikings. This team was the last of Shula’s teams to win the SuperBowl but his teams would consistently remain in the playoffs. In 1983 however the team would make the transition to a passing franchise with the drafting of one player- Dan Marino. Marino guided the team to the Super Bowl in 1984 throwing a then NFL record 50 touchdown passes. Shula’s teams reached the playoffs 20 times in 33 attempts. He’d retire after the 1993 season, with a large legacy under his belt.  26 of 28 seasons of winning football in Miami, the coach with the most Super Bowl appearances (6), a 4 time coach of the year, one of two coaches in history to have over 300 wins, and the winningest coach in league history. I would get Don’s autograph through the mail courtesy of the Dolphins in 1992 right after Christmas.

Since retiring Shula has made time to occasionally attend his team’s 17-0 reunions, owns an extremely successful chain of steakhouses and has his name on a golf course and hotel in Florida. He also is involved in the Don Shula Foundation for breast cancer research. In 1997, Shula was a shoe-in for the NFL HoF.  He has also been involved in numerous presentation ceremonies over the last few years, had stadiums and highways named after him and has authored 3 books.

W 328   L 156   T 6   Pct .678

Banks, Robert

Card: Topps 1990
Acquired: Houston Oilers Training Camp 1991

Robert Banks from Notre Dame was a free agent pick up by the Oilers in 1989  during the waining end of the Jerry Glanville era. He’d stick there for one season before heading over to Cleveland for the next two seasons, notching four sacks. He’d make an appearance in Tecmo SuperBowl on the Nintendo in 1991. In 1991 he returned to the Oilers via Plan B, where I got his autograph during training camp that year, but he would see the Turk during the final cuts of that preseason. Robert was well conditioned and had a motor that never stopped- which he claimed he learned by reading Jack Tatum’s book “They Call Me Assassin”. Banks was ahead of his time, and was a tweener who could play both defensive end and linebacker. The problem was neither the Browns or Oilers could figure out how best to use his physical set as a situational pass rusher. As of 2004 Banks was functioning as a recruiter for ITT.

G N/44/24 Tac  N/a   Sac  4.0 Fum 2  Int 0  Yds 0  Avg -.-  Td 0

McNair, Todd

Card: Score 1990
Acquired: Houston Oilers Training Camp 1994

During the advent of the 3rd down back, Todd McNair was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs out of Temple in the 8th round of the bell-weather 1989 draft. A solid, yet unnoticed presence in the backfield during the early nineties of the venerable ground game of the Kansas City Chiefs that included such names as Christian Okoye and Barry Word, McNair not only was a solid blocker, but also a smart receiver out of the backfield – devastating on both draws and delays.  He’d score a critical touchdown in the playoffs against Houston in 1993, and in 1994 would be signed away from Kansas City by the Oilers. Unfortunately, McNair and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride had a fallout, and Todd was relegated to the scout team. The Oilers collapsed and Bud Adams cleared house, appointing Jeff Fisher as head coach. McNair saw his playing time increased exponentially in 1995, averaging over 7 yards a carry and catching 60 passes.  During training camp in 1994 I’d get his autograph as he walked to the locker rooms. After his two season stint with Houston, Todd returned to Kansas City in 1996 and retired.

He’d immediately jump into coaching and by 2001 was back in the NFL coaching the Cleveland Browns running backs. In 2004 he was recruited by USC, where he coached running backs and special teams. He’d also develop quite a knack for recruiting high school athletes. Unfortunately NCAA investigations in 2010 found USC guilty of improprieties in regards to Reggie Bush and his contact with agents. McNair was not retained when USC put a new coaching staff in place as the NCAA levied charges against him. At this time McNair is appealing the charges against him.

G/Gs 107/10    Att 147       Yds  803    Avg   5.5   Lg   47     Td  3   |
Rec  254     Yds  2435   Avg  9.6   lg 65   Td  7