Tag Archives: houston gamblers

Hull, Kent (1961-2011)

Card: Bowman 1992
Acquired: Canton Acquisition 2012

Kent Hull flew under the NFL radar after he graduated from Mississippi State in 1983, but the New Jersey Generals of the USFL would be waiting to swoop him up. He’d block up front for Herschel Walker and Maurice Carthon, paving their way to 1,000+ yard seasons each in 1984, and then blocking for quarterback Doug Flutie in 1985. When the USFL ran into financial trouble the Generals and Houston Gamblers were merged. Jim Kelly was to be his quarterback with wide receiver Ricky Sanders, and coach Jack Pardee running the show in the prolific Run ‘N Shoot, but the league collapsed before it could take the field again.

Kelly and Hull were almost immediately reunited in Buffalo and both became instant starters helping to energize a once woeful Bills team. Buffalo quickly assembled talent and marched into the playoffs with their Hurry Up Offense. With the final piece assembled in 1989 in the form of future Hall of Fame runningback Thurman Thomas, the Bills reached the Superbowl an unprecedented 4 times during the 1990s. During that span Kent started 121 straight games at center, from 1986-1993, and retired after the 1996 season.

In addition to his 3 ProBowl appearances, Hull was named to the Bills’ 50th Anniversary All-Time team in 2009, and inducted into the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame in 2002. Jim Kelly called him one of the finest players that he ever played with and his best friend. Considered a smart tactician, Hull called plays for the line and also was a team captain for 7 seasons.  Kent Hull passed away at home on October 18th, 2011 and is survived by his wife and two children.

McNeil, Gerald “Icecube”(2)

Cards: ProSet 1989, ProSet 1990, Score 1991
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o The Cleveland Browns
Sent: 10/6  Received: 11/17  (40 days)
See Also: Gerald McNeil

Gerald McNeil was one of my favorite players as a kid, as I had vivid memories of seeing him play for the Browns, so when the Oilers signed him I was really excited to see what he could do. While those twilight years weren’t as successful as the time he had with the Browns and Gamblers, it was unfortunate that in his final year with the Oilers he suffered a quadriceps injury that ended his career. During his heyday he was one of the most dangerous returners of that age ala the same diminutive size but shifty speed as Lionel James. Gerald’s nickname apparently came about from William “The Refrigerator” Perry. One of McNeil’s teammates remarked that Gerald was so small that he could fit inside The Refrigerator, – and along with his penchant for escaping tackles and scoring touchdowns, the nickname stuck.

I had been after Gerald for quite sometime, and finally was able to find him via… SotL.com. (Notice a recurring theme here yet?) After geeking out for a while, I exchanged some communication with him, where he told me the best way to get an autograph was sending it via the Browns who he acts as an ambassador for (along with the Texans). I zipped out a few cards and after about 40 days, I finally got my hands on the slippery Ice Cube again and completed out the collection of cards that I owned of him- sans the nasty Topps cards of that era.

Davis, Darrell “Mouse”

Card: ProSet 1991, ProSet WLAF 1991, ProSet WLAF 1991 Helmet card
Acquired: TTM 1992, C/o The New York-New Jersey Knights, TTM 2011, C/o The University of Hawaii Warriors
Sent: 2/14/11     Received: 3/10/11   (24 days)

Mouse Davis is nothing short of an innovator and a career coach with an extensive offensive coaching tree full of acolytes at every stop. Considered of great importance to the evolution of the Run and Shoot offense(- a passing offense that employs four wide receiver sets, no tight ends and a single running back,) the offense itself is also treated as the forerunner to the modern day spread offense. At every stop from the high school level to the professional level, Davis’ offenses have lit up the scoreboard and set team and league records. In college Mouse coached tiny Portland State to explosive levels (guided by future NFL quarterback Neil Lomax and June Jones). Portland State would set 20 NCAA records, and Mouse would briefly make a stop at Berkley before going on to be offensive coordinator of the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL in 1982. In 1984 he’d move to the USFL and be offensive coordinator under coach Jack Pardee and the Houston Gamblers with Jim Kelly, Richard Johnson and Ricky Sanders. His ‘Mouseketeers’ would dominate the offensive scoreboard and Johnson and Sanders would be the first 100 reception tandem in football history on the same team. 1985 would see his first pro head coaching gig, guiding the Denver Gold to the playoffs before the league folded. Soon thereafter Davis was named head coach of the St. Louis Lightning of the WIFL, but the league disbanded before it even took the field. After the failure of the USFL and WIFL, Davis was head coach of the New York-New Jersey Knights of the WLAF where the team in its first season had the league’s leading rusher in Eric Wilkerson and made the playoffs. In one notable game in 1991 the team set a football record for most faked punts in a game, but also set the record for futility in special teams as well. In the 1992 season under Davis’ guidance, quarterback Reggie Slack was the number 2 rated passer in the league with a 6-4 record before it folded.

Mouse has made numerous pitstops in the NFL as well, most notably when he was an assistant with the Detroit Lions during the late 80s – early 90’s building the “Silver Stretch Offense” and also spent time with the Atlanta Falcons. He was influential with Jack Pardee who adopted the Run and Shoot from him utilizing it with both the Houston Cougars to epic proportions in the NCAA level, the Houston Oilers in the NFL, and the Birmingham Barracudas in the CFL.

Davis returned to the college ranks after his stints in the NFL and WLAF. He currently serves with the Hawaii Warriors as their wide recievers coach and was inducted into the Portland State HoF. I sent off for his autograph while he was coaching the Knights in 1992 and then just this year while he was with the Warriors and he responded in under 30 days. His WLAF statistics are below.

W 11   L 9   T 0  Pct .555