Tag Archives: detroit lions

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

Miller, John

pset91wl jo millerCard: ProSet WLAF 1991
Acquired: In Person 1992, San Antonio Riders v. Birmingham Fire
See Also: John Miller (2)

The Fire were good at creating turnovers on defense and John Miller was a key cog at safety for the team, snagging All-World honors in 1991 with 6 interceptions. Originally a 5th round selection of the team in the WLAF’s positional draft in 1991, John came from the Detroit Lions whom he played a total of 10 games for in 1989 and 1990.  Exceptional in pass coverage and a hard hitter, Miller would also lead the Fire in forced fumbles (4) and had a 99 yard interception return for a touchdown against the Sacramento Surge. In 1992, John made an additional 3 interceptions to finish with 9 for his career, helping the team reach the playoffs for a second year in a row on the back of the team’s stingy defense. I’d get his autograph on this card after the Fire lost against the Riders in San Marcos in 1992. Of note a small production error as his name is spelled incorrectly as M-I-L-L-L-E-R on the front of his card.

G N/a  Tac N/a   Sac  N/a   Fum 4
Int 9   Yds 253   Avg  28.1   Td 1   Lg  99T

Horton, Ray

Cards: Fleer 1990, Score 1990
Acquired: In Person 1990, 1993, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp.

So it all technically began with Ray Horton on that Fleer 1990 card. He was the first autograph I got in Dallas Cowboys training camp way back in 1990.  It was happy times back then, and I grabbed every card and my black sharpie before I headed out the door that morning with Josh. We’d ride the bus back and forth from North Austin or have our mothers drop us off for what turned into an all day affair. We quickly established where the best place was to get autographs- (the second fence line as the street narrowed to get onto the field) and would camp the spot to grab signatures. I think on the first day I got 7 autographs on cards and I had a hard time sleeping because I was so excited to go back the next to see who I could get. I never thought that almost 20 years later I’d pick up the hobby again and enjoy it just as much.

Ray Horton was drafted out of Washington, where he played alongside Cowboy Vince Albritton. Horton would be taken in the second round by the Cincinatti Bengals, where he’d play in SuperBowl XXIII for the Bengals, before leaving the team in Plan B for the Dallas Cowboys in 1989. Ray’s rookie season was solid in 1983, with 5 interceptions, 121 yards and a touchdown -which would be his career high. He’d record 13 interceptions with the Bengals and in 1989 would sign with Jimmy Johnson‘s woeful Cowboy team, providing solid depth and a bright spot in the secondary pulling down 6 more interceptions and then retiring after the 1992 season and ten seasons winning SuperBowl XXVII.  A nose for the endzone, Horton would have four touchdowns via interceptions and one from a fumble.

Since retiring Horton has moved right into coaching picking up almost right where he left off. He’s made stops with the Lions, Redskins, Bengals, and Steelers where he added two more rings in SuperBowl XL and XLIII. In 2011, he was named the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals.

G/Gs 147/ 99      Tac N/a      Sac 3      Fum  5     Int  19     Yds 269     Avg 14.16     Td 4      Lg  65T