Tag Archives: green bay packers

White, Reggie ‘Minister of Defense’ (1961-2004)

Cards: Action Packed 1991, Action Packed 1992.
Acquired: TTM c/o The Green Bay Packers, 1994.

Reggie White is arguably one of the greatest defensive ends, and one of the best players to be imported to the NFL after the failure of the fledgling USFL.

After setting multiple records at Tennessee, White was drafted by the Memphis Showboats of the USFL in 1984. Playing in two seasons for the league he’d rack up almost 25 sacks and 200 tackles, before being signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, who held his draft rights. White grabbed defensive rookie of the year in 1985. As a cornerstone to the Eagles, Reggie sacked quarterbacks a mind-numbing 124 times with the Eagles, averaging more than a sack a game from his left defensive end position. In 1987 alone he’d rack up 21 sacks.  White was nicknamed ‘The Minister of Defense’ by his teammates, because of his ability to disrupt team’s offenses, and the fact that he was an ordained minister since the age of 17.

White was an important high profile name in a landmark lawsuit against the NFL, that would eventually allow for what is now known in the league as free agency. This allowed for a general rise in salaries and also inadvertently contributed to the concept of a salary cap.  In 1993, Reggie would become the first big name to switch teams from the Eagles to the Packers creating an immense amount of buzz. With Reggie also switching to the Pack this also shattered the notion that small market cities would not be able to compete with larger cities for marquee talent. The Packers played in two Super Bowls during his tenure there, and he notched 3 sacks in Super Bowl XXXI which still stands as a record today. Reggie retired briefly in 1998 but came back to play one final season in 2000 for the Carolina Panthers.

White’s career numbers and accolades are astounding: 198 sacks (2nd all time) , 1st team AP 10 times, All Decade Team of the 80’s and 90’s, and the NFL’s 75th Anniversary team.  He’d only have 3 seasons during his 15 year career where he’d have under 10 sacks, and finished with over 1000 tackles. Tragically Reggie White would pass away December 26th, 2004 of a cardiac arrhythmia in his sleep at the age of 43. Posthumously he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2006 and his jersey was retired by the Packers, Eagles, and Volunteers.

It is said that near the end of his life, Reggie strayed away from Christianity and towards more Judaic religious beliefs, but this is not so. White was extremely interested and respectful of religious ideals, and remained a devout Christian, (and an outspoken, controversial one at that) to the day of his passing. He’d also lend a helping hand to many churches during the spate of Southern Black church burnings during the 1990s.

I seem to remember being surprised to get this autograph back from the Packers -and in under a month or two to boot. I like it when players inscribe the cards with a bible verse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the most religious person, but it tells me a bit about their personality and who they are. Reggie signed his cards with Matt 3:3-16. Now This isn’t 3:3,16. It’s 3:3 through 16. That’s a hefty amount of scripture so I’ll just leave it at 3:3

“For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

Games 232         Tac 1048       Sac  198       FF 33
Int  3     Yds 79       Avg  29.3      Td  0

McMichael, Steve “Mongo”

Cards: Action Packed 1990, Skybox 1992, Gameday 1991.
Acquired: In Person, CGA Youth Golf Tournament 1993.
See Also: Steve McMichael (2)

Steve McMichael before graduating from the University of Texas set the college’s career records for most tackles (369) and sacks (30)  and was named Hula Bowl MVP in 1979. McMichael was originally drafted by the New England Patriots in 1980 and had a quiet rookie season playing for them that year only getting 5 tackles. By 1981 he was already on the street but quickly picked up by the Chicago Bears, where he’d become a mainstay at defensive tackle (and on occasion NT) in the NFC Central for the next 13 seasons (13 for Chicago and 1 for Green Bay). He’d provide solid work in the trenches as a technically sound run stopper and pass rusher. A two time ProBowl selection in 1987 and 1988, Steve would also be a two time AllPro in 1985 and 1987. He’d also notch over 10 sacks 3 times in his career along the way and played in 191 games for the Chicago Bears. (His 191 games started is a club record for consecutive starts). He’d also finish his career with 3 career safeties and was a key contributor to the Bears solid efforts to win SuperBowl XX, ironically against his ex team the Patriots. McMichael would play one more season across the lake in Green Bay before retiring in 1994.

Steve after football would pursue a career in Pro Wrestling, adopting the name “Mongo” and coming in under the WCW banner. His wife would also get into the act and was a part of wrestling’s early 1990’s attempt to sell sex. Mongo would have a much publicized wrestling career and even took on other former pro football players such as Kevin Greene and Reggie White. His life would begin to match that of the soap opera that was wrestling when his wife (Debra) left him for another wrestler in 1999. He’d leave the sport until 2008 where he refereed a match for TNA wrestling. Since those years Mongo, has done pre-game commentary for Bears games and is coach for the Chicago Slaughter of the Continental Football League. He has also since remarried and was inducted into the College Football HoF in 2010.

I got Steve’s autograph when he was riding around with Earnest Byner during the CGA Youth Golf Tournament in 1993. My strange connection to Mongo is that while I was working at a used video game store, his ex-wife’s best friend was my boss. I’d overhear from time to time my boss talking about taking morning jogs with Debra, and how her new husband sometimes was abusive towards her. It’s sad how that ended up but nonetheless things have worked out for McMichael, the hope is things have worked out for Debra too.

Games  213   Tac  838        Sac 95         FF 13
Int 2         Yds 5            Td 0

Joyner, Seth

Card: Action Packed 1992
Acquired: In Person, Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp 1993, West Chester, PA.

I got Seth’s autograph on my trip to Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp back in 1993 at West Chester, PA.

A dominant linebacker who could enforce the run as well as play the pass, Seth Joyner was drafted in the 8th round of the 1986 draft and played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos over a 13 year career.  A three time Pro Bowl selection (1991,93, and 94) he was also runner up for the AP NFL defensive player of the year in 1991, and the SI NFL player of the year that same year. After winning Superbowl XXXIII with the Denver Broncos he retired as a member of 20/20 club. A rare breed of linebacker that has at least 20 picks and 20 sacks in their career. (Rickey Jackson, a member of this club was just inducted into the HoF in 2010.) Since retiring to Arizona Seth has become an avid golfer and does NFL analysis work for a variety of networks on the radio and on TV and continues to be beloved by the Eagles’ faithful.