Tag Archives: Gameday 1993

Kramer, Erik ‘Brass’

Cards: ProSet 1991, GameDay 1993, Action Packed 1992
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 3/20      Received: 4/17     (28 days)
Failure: TTM 2011, C/o Home

I’m not sure where to start with Erik Kramer. I tried him back in 2011- shy a few months before his son tragically died of a drug overdose. Things spiraled out of control so much that Kramer in 2015 attempted to take his own life with a gun. Somehow he managed to survive and over the past two years has been rising from the ashes of his own personal pain.

Kramer went to college at NC State. He was the team’s starting quarterback in 1985 and 1986.  Posting solid numbers as starter, over his time with the Wolfpack, he threw for 4,602 yards, 30 TDs/ 28 INT, on 334 completions and 616 attempts. Kramer also posted an 11-11-1 record as a starter and earned ACC Player of the Year honors as a Senior.  He went undrafted in 1987 and initially signed with the New Orleans Saints, but was subsequently released. Quickly he was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as a replacement player during the 1987 strike.

Erik joined the Calgary Stampeders in 1988.  Playing in 5 contests he threw for 5 TDs and 964 yards. The next season he’d blow out his knee and not see a snap under center. Afterwards he was released by the Stampeders. Erik’s story could’ve very easily ended there, but he chose to give it another shot in the NFL, signing with the Detroit Lions after getting spotted during a tryout by offensive coordinator Mouse Davis.  Kramer’s string of bad luck continued, as he suffered a season ending shoulder injury during the 1990 preseason.

The Lions had a classic quarterback rivalry going on between Andre Ware and Rodney Peete going into 1991. Erik Kramer was an afterthought on the squad.  This worked to his advantage as he was a consummate professional in preparation for each and every game. He supplanted Ware and then bode his time until Peete was injured. Kramer picked up and after a rough start or two, he led the Lions on a 6 game winning streak to conclude the season. The Lions made the playoffs, and Erik set team playoff records with 29-of-38 passes for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Lions ambushed the Dallas Cowboys. It’d be the Lions first playoff victory since 1957.

It would be safe to assume that after the season Kramer would’ve been chosen to be the hands down starter for the Lions, right? Well this is the Lions and that didn’t happen. Instead 1992 opened again with another open quarterback competition- this time lasting into the regular season. While it finally took Kramer being named starter and then rallying Detroit to a 3-1 record down the stretch to win the division title, the Lions lost a home wild card game to Brett Favre and the Pack 28-24. Detroit had another bumpy season in 1993 and while Kramer went 3-1 as a starter, the Lions ran out and signed Scott Mitchell, effectively ending their quarterback carousel in 1994.   Erik in the meantime took a flyer with the division rival Chicago Bears.  While his first season there was met with mixed results due to a separated shoulder, there is no question that he had an impact season in 1995 setting personal highs and franchise records going 315 of 522 for 3,838 yards with 29 TDs to only 10 interceptions. Kramer hung around with the Bears another 3 injury plagued seasons before abruptly retiring midway through the 1999 season with the Chargers due to a persistent neck injury.

Kramer was the definition of the ‘walking wounded’ during his playing career in the league. He gave up his body to injury leading Detroit and Chicago back to periods of respectability. Concussions may have also contributed to his severe depression as well.

It is said that the bullet traveled through Erik’s chin, tongue, nose, and out the top of his head. Amazingly, the damage was so clean, and the medical attention paid to him was so quick, he survived.  Much like his playing career- Kramer quickly has moved to rise from controversy and loss, making an impressive recovery- and coming to an understanding that life is worth living for.

Pro Set struck gold in Erik’s initial release in their 91 update set with a nice straight on shot of him. This was Proset at their best: minimal design, dynamic action photography, and an unobtrusive logo. I was a big fan of Action Packed- but their 92 set annoyed me by flipping profile information on the back. The player name type was also just a tad too small. Gameday barely tweaked an overall successful design over the entire lifetime of the brand. I liked this 1993 issue of Kramer in the elements.

G/Gs 83/67        Att 2299      Cpd 1317       Yds  15337       Pct 57.3
TD 92    Int 79      Lg 85t
Rush  153       Yds 217      Avg 1.4      Td 5     lg 31

McDowell, Bubba (3)

scosup89 mcdowellpset92 mcdowellsky92-bmcdowellap90-bmcdowellpac91-bmcdowellgday93 mcdowellCards: ProSet 1992, Score Supplemental 1989, GameDay 1993. Pacific 1991, Skybox 1992, Action Packed 1990.
Acquired: In Person 9/13/2015, Houston Texans v. Kansas City Chiefs. 10/30/2016, Houston Texans v. Detroit Lions.
See Also: Leonard ‘Bubba’ McDowell, Bubba McDowell (2),

Bubba was at the Churrascos Pregame brunch with Curtis Duncan. It’d mark the first time that I’d meet him in person suprisingly- after all the School of the Legends (now defunct) discussions we had. I had quite a stack of cards and had hoped to get him at the Oilers 25th Anniversary Party but he had a last second commitment that prevented him from attending.  He’s even more engaging than I remember from the videos, and he was nice enough to take the time to sign a few cards for me from the stack.

Again it was a shame that ProSet made this switch mid-set to this design in 1992. Either look was okay with me for the time, but not in the same set. It’s a great full body photo of the hard hitting defensive back. His Score 1989 notwithstanding was one that I’ve tried getting autographed on numerous occasions but it got eaten by the mail gods. I never found this one until a few weeks ago and added it to the stack. It’s an oldie, with a purple frame and white marquee that leaves much to be desired. Still it’s his earliest rookie card. This GameDay 1993 card is a sizzling shot of Bubba. I mistakenly thought it was from the Bears game earlier that season when he took the ball to the house at the end of the half on Monday Night, but in reality it was one of the more grim days in Oilers history- a game referred to as ‘The Comeback’. Bubba intercepted this pass and returned it 58 yards for a score to make the game 35-7, before the Bills furious rally.

The next year, I went with my wife to the Texans v. Detroit Lions game. Bubba was among the selected players to appear in the fan zone, right inside the stadium gates, but outside of the stadium to give autographs. It was a long hike to the front of the stadium from our seats. The next problem I faced was that if you already have entered the stadium, you can not exit the stadium- even to go to the fan zone. It seemed asinine, but in this day and age of security I understood. After a brief conversation with the head of ticketing, they let me go through. Bubba was seated with former Oiler, Charlie ‘The Razor’ Frazier.

Unwilling to press my luck for more than three autographed cards, I selected the Pacific, Skybox, and Action Packed cards from my lot and let it rip. Bubba told me that he had a lot of great memories- fun memories- especially of former head coach Jerry Glanville.

 

Haynes, Michael ‘Mike’ (WR)

gday92 mhaynesCards: GameDay 1992, Gameday 1993, Fleer 1995
Acquired: TTM 2015, C/o Home
Sent: 12/28    Received:  2/8  (42 days)

Michael Haynes grew up in New Orleans as a Saints fan, so imagine his surprise when he was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the 7th round of the 1988 draft. A track man out of Northern Arizona with a powerful second gear, Haynes still ranks in the top 3 on the school charts for the 55 meter dash and the 200 meter dash.  Of his 13 catches in his rookie season, 4 went for touchdowns. The Falcons were mired at the bottom of the NFC West- a frequent whipping boy of the 49ers, Rams, and even the Saints during that period.

flr95 mhaynesIt was in 1990 that things would change under new head coach Jerry Glanville. Glanville brought his fiery brand of football from Houston including the Red Gun offense (a Run ‘N Shoot variant). The Falcons went high octane.  Mike had his best season as a pro in 1991, catching passes from Chris Miller and Billy Joe Tolliver. Among them was a Hail Mary from Tolliver to Haynes to stun the 49ers and kick the door open on the race for the NFC West.

He’d also bedevil his hometown Saints, catching a 50 yard TD during the regular season against them, and a 20 yarder in the playoffs. Haynes finished with a gaudy league leading 22.4 yards per reception, 1122 yards, and 11 touchdowns on just 50 passes.  In 1992 and 1993, Haynes led the NFL in longest reception with 89 and 98 respectively.  Haynes joined the Saints in 1994 and recorded a career high 77 receptions.   Over his 3 seasons in his hometown, Michael had 162 receptions for 2368 yards and 13 touchdowns.  He returned to the Falcons for a swan song in 1997 catching just 12 passes and not starting any contests.

Haynes is a reliable TTM signer and lives in Georgia.

G/GS 147/113     REC428    YDS 6588     AVG 15.4     TD 47    LG 98T

gday93 mhaynes